Choctaw Handbill
Submitted by H.E. Huber

Handbill courtesy of Mr. Timothy Hopkins, Enid OK and information below handbill courtesy of John Dill of Huntington, Ar

Most American railroads running in an East-West direction were built that way, i.e., East to West. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf, later the Rock Island, was built thru Sebastian County from West to East from the Arkansas- Indian Territory border. The western track building met the eastern building track at Natural Steps, AR. Notice the direction of the towns on the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Memphis Town site Co. Handbill, Hartford, Booneville, Ola.

By 1898 the “Choctaw” consisted of two segments: (1) the Original railroad in Oklahoma and (2) the just purchased Little Rock & Memphis Railroad which ran (sometimes) from Little Rock to Memphis . The contract for construction to fill the gap between the two was let November 14, 1898 even though the final route wasn’t “located” until Christmas of that year. Tracklaying began from Oklahoma on 20 Apr 1899 and was completed to Booneville on June 17 and the line opened from the west to that point. By Oct. 1 the line was open to Casa , AR.
The bridge over the Arkansas River at Little Rock was contracted for on 21 Mar 1899 and completed Nov 7, 1899.
In the meantime tracklaying from the east ( Little Rock ) had begun on August 1 and the rails met the 13th of October, 1899 at a point 23 miles west of Little Rock . Then a 7 mile long “belt line” around Little Rock to the new bridge was begun on Nov. 1 and completed Nov. 14, 1899.
My source for this information on the railroad was a 3 page article by the railroad company which was published on pages 46-49 of the 1900 Fort Smith City Directory. Some of the work was done under various corporate names but the intention was always to tie everything together as part of the Choctaw.