Happy Birth­day, Texarkana

Our home­town is 145 years old to­day

Texarkana Gazette - - OPINION 5A -

It was in 1873 that the Texas and Pa­cific Rail­road, a sig­nif­i­cant player in the Lone Star State’s fledg­ling trans­porta­tion busi­ness, reached the state line with Arkansas, where it was set to join with the Cairo and Ful­ton Rail­road to con­tinue ser­vice into Arkansas. The dusty junc­tion looked like just the right place for a town.

In­deed, on Oct. 17 of that year the Austin Amer­i­can-States­man noted that two rail lines were mak­ing ex­cel­lent progress and that Texarkana—which the pa­per help­fully pointed out stood for Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana— was “bound to be a large and flour­ish­ing rail­road town.” The Amer­i­can-States­man de­scribed the area as “rich and fer­tile” soon to blessed with rail lines to “the finest por­tions of Amer­ica.”

That must have drawn some in­ter­est. For on Dec. 8, 1873—145 years ago to­day—our home­town of Texarkana was founded when the rail­road sold the first lots to in­trepid pi­o­neers ea­ger to build a new life here at the gate­way to the great South­west.

The first lot to be sold went to J.W. Davis, who pur­chased a promis­ing site across from the rail­road tracks. The Ho­tel McCart­ney oc­cu­pies that piece of land to­day. Ac­cord­ing to an ar­ti­cle a few days later in the Shreve­port Times, 50 down­town busi­ness lots were sold that day at $300 each and there were about 100 set­tlers in res­i­dence.

That was just the start. The rail­road and the cotton trade made Texarkana some­thing of a re­gional boom town and the Twin Cities grew rapidly. We can imag­ine the ex­cite­ment those first set­tlers felt that day as the lots were sold. The prom­ise they saw in this spot where Arkansas and Texas meet. And 145 years later there are still those who look at our Twin Cities and see the prom­ise of a brighter to­mor­row. They are work­ing to make it hap­pen.

Here’s to an­other 145 years of Texarkana.

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