Collection: Jon Walter
Scanned by Jon Walter
1956 Railroad Depot
This postcard shows the crossing of the Missouri Pacific and Frisco railroads at Hoxie, Arkansas in 1956, looking toward Walnut Ridge. The depot at the right served both railroads. It is mistakenly identified as Hoxie, Missouri, but is Hoxie, Arkansas.
Addressed to Mrs Estella Boon of Jackson, Michigan, Sept 17, 1956, it says:
Dear Sister, Well here this far, everything OK so far. Beautiful weather by by, Love Sister.
In 1924, the old wooden Union Depot at Hoxie, Arkansas burned to the ground. Plans for a new depot were already in the works by the Missouri Pacific, so a larger brick depot was immediately built at the same railroad crossing to service both the Missouri Pacific and Frisco railroads.
1951 account of Hoxie by G. R. “Bert” Walter
In 1947, my father, G. R. “Bert” Walter, was hired by the Missouri Pacific railroad working the “extra board”, which meant he was assigned work at whatever depot needed help. For four years he worked in every railroad station from Neelyville, Missouri to Fulton, Arkansas along the Missouri Pacific. But in January 1951, he got a chance to bid on a telegrapher position at Hoxie, Arkansas, and he and my mother never left Hoxie. At the same time, my grandfather, G. A. Walter, was the Missouri Pacific agent/telegrapher at Alicia, Arkansas.
Years ago I gave books to my mother and father and asked them to write down as much as they could remember of events in their early life. These are some excerpts from my father’s memories of coming to Hoxie.
“The freight agent at the time I arrived was named C.K. Curtis. I remember that one telegraph operator was named “Hop” Redwine, another was George Gill, and the third was Asa B. Glover whose wife was the daughter of Hatley Ring, the agent at Walnut Ridge. All of these men were considerably older than I.”
“The station at Hoxie was a large brick building. It was located where the two railroads crossed and the platforms extended to Hwy 63. On the other side of Hwy 63 there was a long gray freight depot. The brick station had three sections. In one the telegraphers worked. That part had windows on two sides facing the two tracks so that the clerk could watch for the trains, and the wall next to the waiting room had a window with small bars where tickets were sold. Another section had the white waiting room which had long curved benches where the people could sit. At this time, in 1951, there was a divided place for the black people to sit and a separate bathroom for them.”
“In those days the trains carried the U.S. Mail. The trains would stop close to the station for the passengers to unload. There was a long platform extending from the station to the next street. That was where the mail cars were loaded and unloaded. And there were crews of men who worked for the Railway Express who loaded and unloaded mail and packages. Among the workers for the Railway Express at the time I first came were: Herbert Green, Tom Allen, R.L. “Bones” Schmidt, Les “Cowboy” Howell, his brother “Spud” Howell, Brooks Downing, Carrington Hudson, Wright Lawson, and Peck Edmondson.”
“All of these people have long been gone. I was a 22 year old upstart when I came here in 1951 but these older men all took me in and welcomed me and my family.”
1970s Depot Demolished
After passenger service was discontinued in the 1960s, the depot was demolished in the early 1970s.
After James Whitlow and I published our book, I became acquainted with a gentleman in Little Rock that was an avid railroad enthusiast and had bought our book mainly for the transportation chapter. After conversing with him for quite sometime, he remembered a story about the demolition of the Hoxie depot in the 1970s. This is his account:
“We got a new member to our Railroad club and found out he was a retired Mopac engineer and he lived right around the corner from us. Well my wife and I stopped there one day and had a nice visit with him and his wife. While there he told me he had something he wanted me to see. We went out into his backyard where there was an old single car garage that faced their side street on the back of their property. At one time it looked like he was slowly covering the old wood siding on it with rock. I guess as he was now getting pretty old by then and didn’t get around very well, so I assumed he hadn’t worked on it in quite awhile. The rock was only up about a third of the way on the long side facing his house. But what he wanted me to see was the large stone or concrete, (I don’t remember which) block that had the word “HOXIE” carved in the face. Of course I asked where in the world he got it. He said he had to stop his train on the way to Little Rock one day for quite awhile and he walked over to “supervise” the men who were razing the station. Here were these two large pieces that were once on the two sides of the station on the tower, lying on the ground. He asked what they were going to do with them, and they told him that they guessed they would be loaded up with all of the other remains of the station and taken to wherever they were going to dump them. He said he sure would like to have one of them and they said they would load it on his engine for him if he wanted them to. You guessed right, he wanted them to. They lifted it up and put it on the side walkway of his locomotive and somehow he got someone to move it to his house from NLR, and he ended up putting it on the side of his garage which probably never got completely encased with rock. When I saw it last, it was still sitting on top of the last layer of rock about a third of the way up. I also asked him how in the heck did he get it up there and he said with boards and I believe block and tackle and rope which he used to pull it up. I am going to go by on my next trip to LR and see if it’s still there. I hadn’t thought about it for years.”
Of course I immediately asked him to go by and check out the garage, wanting to know if it was still just sitting there, as I wanted to see if it could be purchased and brought back home. He did, and the following picture shows that the present owner finished the task, so it’s not available, but nice to know that it wasn’t destroyed.
Isn’t it beautiful? I wish I knew where the other one was, as both sides of the depot had this stone. I’ve also included a blow up of the Hoxie stone on the original 1956 picture.