Home Life History History: Railroads helped Bossier grow (Part 2)

History: Railroads helped Bossier grow (Part 2)

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In last week’s column we learned how old records documented the growth of Bossier Parish after railroads came to the parish. The Bossier Banner of November 21, 1940 shows that even more records support this growth.

“And on August 23, 1888, we find—‘Trains on the Shreveport and Arkansas Railway leave Galveston, Ark. At nine a. m. and arrive in Shreveport at 12:25 p. m. Leave Shreveport at 2:25 and arrive in Galveston at 5:45 p. m. Post offices have been established on this line, in this parish, with daily mail service, as follows: Vanceville, Benton, Alden Bridge, Hanks Mill and Plain Dealing. Mails for the post offices at Collinsburg, Red Land and Love’s Mill are received at Plain Dealing and forwarded from that place.’”

“Hanks Mill was located about 2 ½ miles north of what is now known as Hughes Spur, and has long since been abandoned as a mill site and post office. In the above paragraph, Galveston, Ark. is mentioned, but we are unable to find any such place or any person who knew of such a place at that time, so we are assuming that it was only a small stop station and has been replaced with another name.”

“About this time the name of the road was changed from Shreveport and Arkansas to St. Louis Southwestern.”

“Another item of interest is the removal of the Bossier Parish Court House from Bellevue to Benton in November, 1890, which, of course, proves that the towns where there were railroads improved and others that did not have them did not.”

“During the time of the improvements on the railroad beds, steel has been laid three different times at the rate of 56 pounds at first, in 1887; second, 75 pounds in 1906; and third, 85 pounds in 1940. The first gravel was put on the road bed in 1910 and in 1926 river gravel was added, then again in 1940 the road bed was improved for a faster and heavier train service.”

“This railroad has been responsible through these years in drawing such places as Red Land, Carterville and Mot to the east, and Collinsburg, to the west of Plain Dealing that have gradually moved to this centralized point. And Rocky Mount, before the days of railroads, was a thriving country village, but now has dwindled to a one store village and is the only place in this parish that has a high school located off of a railroad.”

“After the coming of the railroad Benton became the parish seat and, of course, the business from Bellevue came to Benton. And so did the neighborhood of Dixie Crossroads go to some railroad community.”

“All in all this proves that railroads have proved a great factor in the geographical situation of business in Bossier Parish.”

To learn about other historical influences in the growth of Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or amiddlet@state.lib.la.us