Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Train through Crittenden County

It was exciting event when the first train stopped at Marion, in September 1887.  The citizens of Marion welcomed the passengers and took time for a photo.  This was the beginning of a new era for the county.

The picture at the right shows the first passenger train to run the rails through Marion.  

Interest in a railroad through Crittenden got started in 1883 but it was 1885 before the actual work began, with the purchasing of land for the rails to be laid and the the work of installing the actual railroad tracks was started.  There would be depots built at the fluorspar mining district at Mexico, at the community of Crayneville, the town of Marion, and the communities of Repton and Nunn's Switch.  The depots were strategically placed along the line to benefit the different ares of the county.

These depots were a wonderful thing for these small communities.  Besides being used as a means of hauling fluorspar, coal, timber and other large items, passenger cars were available, and people could travel to Marion to purchase supplies, do business, and then return home later in the day on another train.  In the beginning there were as many as four passenger trains running in both directions during the day.  The picture above is the old Marion Depot.  It was torn down in 1985.

By the 1930's and 40's the train-passenger travel had fallen off to the mode of car and truck.  The old depots were soon not in much demand, and they were sold, moved or town down.

The end of the railroad in Crittenden County came in the summer of 1999, when the last of the railroad tracks were taken up throughout all of Crittenden and the land went back to the original owners.  Nothing was left of the once active railroad.   With gas as expensive as it is now, I think many are sorry that the railroad industry was removed from our county.

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