Author Topic: Bankhead route in Arkansas  (Read 33704 times)

Parsa

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Bankhead route in Arkansas
« on: February 22, 2013, 03:33:07 PM »
This thread will be devoted to discussions of the route of the Bankhead Highway through the state of Arkansas. I'll be presenting sources, and working from east to west. I'll post map sections and guide book descriptions, and where relevant, things like aerial photos. Please feel free to post text, suggestions, or images. If you have no server space to link to, you can email me the images (see this page for my email address).

Steve

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2013, 10:26:58 AM »
The Bankhead entered Arkansas on the Harahan Bridge. This was a railroad bridge, but upon the insistence of residents in Arkansas, the bridge had two cantilevered roadways on each side. This is shown in both the Dunn and Locke maps. The lock map labels the bridge's name, and says to "drive on right."
Wikipedia article.

Picture of the roadway support, from the Bridgehunter website:




Postcard from 1938 showing the eastbound traffic lane. The Frisco Bridge is on the left.




The traffic lanes have now been approved to be used as bike and walking lanes.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 10:30:20 AM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2013, 11:14:42 AM »
Locke's Good Road Maps of Local & Transcontinental Automobile Routes (1919), p. 287.
I'm a bit confused about this map. It shows "Patterson" half way between Marion and Forrest City. However, the town of Patterson is northwest of Forrest City on old US 64. This has got to be Arkansas State Route 218 linking up with the US 70 route. AR 218 is the "Old Military Road" which is a good clue to an old road predating the auto era. The Blackfish Lake crossing can only be near: 35.130752,-90.455925. The first rail crossing after Blackfish Lake must be near AR 149, and the "Patterson" RR crossing must be near AR 75.

The other, more southerly road, seems to be drawn in a rather rough fashion. I'm assuming it's the same road shown on the Dunn guide map, but it shows absolutely no detail. None of the curves and turns of the real road are shown, but I can see no alternate road that it could be.

       

« Last Edit: March 06, 2013, 08:52:06 PM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2013, 12:13:10 PM »
In regards to Patterson... there's a Patterson School shown on the 1940 15-minute Whitmore topo map. It's right above Patterson Lake. This is not on US 70, but is still on the Old Military Road. Since the road on the Locke map bends northwest just to the west of Blackfish Lake, I'm assuming the road shown is following the Old Military Road west, not US 70. The school was approximately here: 35.150372,-90.557723. There are no old rail lines evident, however.





Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 12:27:48 PM »
Here's an inset of a special 1925 topographic map. It's specifically of the Memphis area, but is not the standard 15-minute quad. In fact, later quads still use the old 1916 map and don't show much in the way of roads at all. This map says it was all survey in 1916, evidently to lay out the location of the new 1917 Harahan bridge and the proposed viaduct for the highway. I've inset the appropriate section from the Locke map. They seem to correspond almost exactly.




Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 01:00:45 PM »
The remnant of the Harahan Bridge road viaduct at the west end of the bridge. The road splits and one ramp goes to the north side of the bridge, and one ramp to the south.




Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2013, 01:07:09 PM »
This detail of the 1925 topo shows the area of the Harahan bridge viaduct. I have to assume that the dirt road to the north of the bridge exit is the route shown on the Dunn guide map. This curves northwest to Mound City, AR.




Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2013, 03:55:10 PM »
Did the road shown in the Locke guide follow US 70 or the Old Military Road west of Blackfish Lake? The post about Patterson above would seem to indicate a route along the Old Military Road. There is also that big jog shown at mile 40.9 (17.1), five miles west of "Patterson", and goes south 0.4 miles. US 70 doesn't ever seem to jog anywhere for quite some time after Blackfish Lake. However, the Old Military Road goes through a series of south and west steps, ending up in Widener where it rejoins the Dunn guide path.

I found evidence from multiple sources that there was a ferry on Blackfish lake where the Old Military Road crossed (such as this site which details the history of the Old Military Road and its use in the Trail of Tears). The ferry was established in the 1830s, run by William D. Ferguson. In 1836 and 1837, he tried to get permission to build a toll bridge, but the request was denied. Was there ever a bridge? As late as 1892, a source says the crossing was via "an old rickety flat-boat", but this was an account of Civil War movement. An 1891 Arkansas Acts journal has the following:



Notice the phrase "to the west end of the bridge across Blackfish Bayou on the Old Military Road in Section 15, township 6 north, range 6 east...." That's exactly where the ferry/bridge site is shown on the map below. The US 70 bridge is in Section 16. So evidently there was a bridge there. However, I can't seem to find any other reference to it, and there are no older topo maps.

The road described above seems to be the US 70 path up to Blackfish Lake. Then it goes along the road on the west side of the lake, up to the bridge. So, evidently, that part of the US 70 path is pretty old. There's still the "Patterson" reference to consider for the Locke road path, however.


Here's a map of the area with notes.




« Last Edit: February 23, 2013, 04:04:02 PM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2013, 09:50:16 PM »
I'm going to leave off on the Locke guide map for present. The left side is cropped, and when I get a better copy I'll be better able to tell what's going on.

A couple notes: The Automobile Blue Book for 1919 [Volume 7] has the route to Forrest City via what is now US 64 and Arkansas SR 1. That is via Crawfordsville, Earle, Parkin, Wynne, and Colt to Forrest City. This route (up to Wynne) is shown on the Rand McNally maps as a branch of the Bankhead Highway.
The Automobile Blue Book for 1923 [Volume 4] (about the same year as Dunn) shows the same route as the Dunn guide. So I'll write that full description with the Dunn map.

Here's the Rand McNally map from about 1920-21. Route 44 is the Bankhead, and there is a north and a south branch. Route 10 on the south branch is the Southern National Highway.


Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2013, 10:52:44 PM »
So here's the 1921 Dunn guide map (Authentic Road Map and Motor Tourist Guide of the Bankhead Highway) for this section.


Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2013, 10:54:36 AM »
Although the Locke guide book page is cropped, the bottom does state that the road to the south is the newer road, and will be detailed in the next edition of the book. Therefore, we can assume that what could be called the Old Military Road route is the older path. By 1920, the Bankhead had assumed the road through Louise, Neuhardt, Simsboro, etc. It's possible the northern route of the Bankhead through Wynne was also "improved", but perhaps it's just equally likely that the towns up there had a lot of Good Roads boosters clamoring to get on the route.

The Locke guide seems to show the road that was proposed to have concrete paving in the 1925 topo map above. Oddly, the Dunn guide does not show this except for perhaps a small section of the road east of (below on the map) Marion. Before giving the 1923 ABB route description, here's a note from the 1919 ABB:


Cross long bridge over Mississippi river 2.8 [miles from Main St. and Madison Ave. in Memphis]
3.0  1.1  At the end of bridge; turn right along Mississippi river.

   Straight ahead from bridge is shorter way to Forrest City (48 m.), but is only advised during very dry weather.
Follow main road along Mississippi river on right. Cross RR 4.9. Curve left away from river at store 9.4.
14.4  11.4  Marion, Ark.  Straight through across RR. Avoid right-hand road at store 17.3. Thru Ebony 18.2, following along RR.
Bear right away from RR at 18.4.



The last is where the route begins to differ from the Locke and Dunn guide and takes the driver along the northerly route.

I believe the map below shows the route on the Dunn guide, and as described above from the 1919 ABB. The Dunn guide is inset on the map.
Red arrows show this route along the river to Marion and Ebony. The magenta arrows show the new road shown on the 1925 topo.



« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 11:01:55 AM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2013, 12:08:20 PM »
So here is the 1923 Automobile Blue Book (Vol. 4) description as far west as Forrest City. I'll post the rest of the description to Little Rock when I get to the next section. This bit is complex enough to consider now.


0.0    MEMPHIS, TENN., Main & Monroe Sts. South on Main St.
1.4    End of street; right.
1.5    Florida St. beyond RR underpass; right 1 blk.
1.6    Virgina Av.; left.
2.2    Turn right under RR and left onto bridge over Mississippi river.
3.3    End of bridge; left. Keep ahead where concrete leaves 9.2. Avoid left 9.7.
15.3   End of road; left. Through Louise, Ark. 20.1
20.9   Right-hand road; right. Thru Neuhardt 23.0.
25.7   Right-hand road; right. Thru Simsboro, Ark., 27.8; Chatfield 29.7.
32.4   Fork; right.
48.4   Widener, right-hand street at sta. Right across RR 1 blk.
48.5   Left-hand road; left.
51.1   Madison, right-hand street. Right.
51.3   Left-hand road; left and next right.
52.2   End of road; right and next left.
55.7   Forrest City, Jackson & Rosser Sts. at filling sta. Ahead on Jackson St.

(Continues another 100 miles to Little Rock.)


I'll try to identify these mile points below.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 01:24:43 PM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2013, 01:47:04 PM »
So, here's map number 1. This is from the Memphis 1925 (surveyed 1916) 15-minute quad. It goes to the west end of the quad. I've oriented it with west upward like the Dunn guide map above.

Blue are waypoints from the Automobile Blue Book. Red are waypoints and miles from the Dunn guide. The ABB mileage numbers agree very well with the Locke guide above as well.

    

« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 06:22:29 PM by Parsa »

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2013, 04:59:29 PM »
The original site of Ebony, AR from the 1916 and 1925 maps is at: 35.200083,-90.24443. As early as 1939, this spot is called Wylie Spur. It still has that name on the latest quads.
The location of Ebony on the 1939 Edmondson topo is at the railroad crossing. As late as the 1981 topo (revised 1993) there was a crossing here. The road to the west of the crossing carried US 64 and SR 16 traffic according to the 1939 map. Later, US 64 was routed on the north side, and this road became SR 218. Today, there is a truly huge railroad siding there, and the crossing is gone. The road is now called Kuhn Road.

Parsa

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Re: Bankhead route in Arkansas
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2013, 06:28:45 PM »
Map number 2. This is from the turn south at Lehi down to the turn that will head west to Simsboro. I've also included the west end of the northerly loop through Ebony since the Dunn guide uses that route for it's mileage, despite the fact that it isn't shown as the main road.

Again, red items are from the Dunn guide, and blue are from the Automobile Blue Book of 1923.
The freeway running just north of US 70 is shown in green.