Date Original

1939 April 19-June 5


This collection contains three letters regarding the history of the Memphis-Little Rock Railroad.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Memphis and Little Rock Railroad (M&LR) was the first railroad to operate in the state of Arkansas. The M&LR was a 133-mile-long and five-and-one-half-foot-gauge railroad line that ran from Hopefield, Crittenden County, just opposite Memphis, Tennessee, to Little Rock (Pulaski County). The M&LR was chartered by the State of Arkansas on January 10, 1853. It was estimated at that time that it would take $3.2 million to construct the line. Survey work commenced in 1854, and construction of the railroad was contracted to John H. Bradley & Company. The first rails were laid at Hopefield in 1856. The eastern, or first, division of the railroad terminated at Hopefield on the east and opposite Madison, on the St. Francis River, on the west. This first division was completed in November 1858. At the beginning of the Civil War, only the eastern portion of the railroad between Hopefield and Madison (St. Francis County) was in operation. Construction on the eastern and western thirds of the railroad was complete in 1862, but the Civil War interrupted construction of the middle division of the railroad. During this period, the M&LR played a vital role for both Confederate and Union forces and was under Union control until 1865.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area

Hopefield, Crittenden County (Mo.); Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.)





Resource Type



Memphis to Little Rock Railroad history correspondence, SMC.102.006


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Memphis to Little Rock Railroad history correspondence, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History