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.