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MAKING A STOP AT RISON - A steam engine at Rison during the early 1900s.

Rison on the Cotton Belt

There are several events associated
with the development of the Cotton
Belt Railroad that had an impact an
Rison. They are:
  On May 17, 1879, the Texas and
St. Louis Railroad Company organized  
in Texas with James P. Douglas as
president and James W. Paramore as
financial agent.
  On May 21, 1881 the St. Louis

Railway Company of Arkansas' in-
corporation papers were filed with
the Arkansas Secretary of State.
Its primary purpose was the construc-  
tion of a narrow gauge railroad from
Texarkana, Texas, to the Arkansas
Missouri state line.
 In 1881 J. W. Paramore appointed
Samuel W. Fordyce as construction
Superintendent. Fordyce traveled

the area from Texarkana to Birds Point,
Missouri three times before deciding an
a final route.
 On April 20, 1881, a contract was made
with George B. Hibbard to construct and
equip the line from Birds Point, Missouri, to
Texarkana. Construction was begun at
several places at once.
 By June 30, 1882, construction was comple-
ted from Pine Bluff to the Saline River, a

   MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION - This shot, taken in the 1950s, is
   believed to be one of the last passenger trains to make a stop in Rison.
   Local residents could catch trains to destinations near and far through the
   Rison Depot.

   distance of twenty-five miles. By December
   1882 the construction had reached Texarkana.
   By the summer of 1883 the railroad was com-
   pleted through Arkansas and into Texas. On
   August 12, 1883, a huge celebration was held
   to inaugurate the opening of the road from Birds
   Point, Missouri, to Gatesville, Texas. Colonel
   Paramore drove a silver spike in the new bridge
   at the town of Rob Boy just north of Pine Bluff.
   Upon completion of the ceremony the road was
   opened for traffic all the way from Texas to
    When the Cotton Belt was constructed it was a
   "narrow gauge" road meaning that the distance
   between the inside of the two rails was

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