HISTORY OF TEXARKANA
by Betty Meador Sharp
COUNTY TEXAS AND MILLER COUNTY ARKANSAS
CENTER OF THE FOUR STATES AREA OF
LOUISIANA, OKLAHOMA AND TEXAS
USA is a city that is part of two states, two counties
and has two different city governments. These “twin”
cities are located about 26 miles south of the boundary
line of the two states of Texas and Arkansas where it
intersects with Oklahoma, and about 28 miles north of
where the point of these two states intersects with the
the War Between the States, both Texas and Arkansas
seceded from the Union, but afterwards some did not have
a home to go back to, so many from the east and south
headed west looking for land. MR. G. M. ORR, who came to
this area in 1864 said, “only four families were
already here,” the GARRETT family, ELI MOORES, JOHN
NIX and W. W. WOOTTEN. The state of Arkansas was
re-admitted to the Union in 1868 and the state of Texas
was admitted in 1870. This city has been shaped by its
history, but by its day of Birth on DECEMBER 8, 1873,
the people were ready to find land and settle down to
raise their families. The Texas and Pacific Railway
Company was ready to offer land for sale along its right
of way, so persons already settled on any of the land
that was for sale had first chance to buy, but J. W.
DAVIS was the only one to take that choice.
second lot was sold to WALTER HARRIS, the third lot to
A. L. GHIO, Dr. I. W. TAYLOR and H. F. CLARK, who had
come for the sale bought the next two lots. Before
leaving to go back to Jefferson, Texas that evening MR.
GHIO let a contract for a structure to be built on his
lot. Because no sawmills were near to Texarkana, Col. R.
W. RODGERS built the first one near the west end of
Broad Street and the Deutschmann Canal. The second
sawmill, built by WILLIAM BUCHANAN, was in the middle of
the two hundred block of West Broad Street.
Immediately after the first sale of
lots, because the new development had brought a large
number of undesirables, the more substantial citizens
who had located here saw the need for some form of local
government, and they did not wish to be governed by the
county. Ten days after the first sale of town lots, a
meeting was held to perfect such an organization and a
man by the name of WOSSON was made chairman. The minutes
of this meeting was recorded by DR. JAMES McMAHON. The
following year in 1874, Texarkana, Texas was
incorporated and an election was held and Capt. O. T.
LYONS became the first mayor, W. W. WATKINS, W. H.
HAKES, I. W. TAYLOR, WALTER HARRIS and D. F. STORY,
The first lots in Texarkana, Arkansas
were offered for sale during January 1874 by the St.
Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railway Company, one
month after the Texas side. In July 1880 a petition was
presented to the Miller County Judge, M. W. EDWARDS,
asking for the authority to organize a town government.
This petition was signed by R. W. CHAPPEL, W. T. GAMMON,
BLYTHE & CHAPPEL, SAM MILLER, RUBE GREEN, J. C.
HILLER, J. A. BLYTHE, R. A. ALLEN, JOSEPH NELSON, R. E.
FAWBUSH, R. F. MAYES J. C. RAY, S. B. JOHNSON, MIKE
WALDRON, JOHN M. OATS, O. S. BURGESS, JOHN MORGAN, JR.,
IRA A. CHURCH, H. M. BEIDLER, and JAMES RICHIE. After
the order of the court, a notice was posted for an
election to be held October 17, 1880 and the following
were elected, DR. H. M. BEIDLER, mayor, O. C. PORTER,
recorder, W. J. ARTHUR S. J. BLYTHE, SAM NEELEY, and
JOHN DOHERTY, aldermen. The council then elected J. H.
DRAUGHON, treasurer, O. D. EAST, town attorney, and
JAMES ASHCRAFT, town marshal.
Because transportation is important
for commerce, many came to this area because of the
railroad, which was being built during this time. The
first newspaper, THE GATE CITY NEWS, reported a
population of 2,500 after only one year. State Line
Avenue, which divides the states of Texas and Arkansas,
is the most important thoroughfare in the city of
Texarkana. COL. R. W. RODGERS, one of the early settlers
saw the trouble that might come from owning property in
a town where only an imaginary line separated the two
states. At his own expense, he obtained a grant from the
two railroads of 50 feet on each side of the line,
providing a 100 feet wide avenue from the railroad all
the way up to 9th Street.
United States Post Office was established in Texarkana,
on January 31, 1874, which was then in Lafayette County
Arkansas, and EDWIN BANCROFT was the first postmaster.
When Miller County Arkansas was recreated on December
22, 1874, the office was changed to Miller County. The
site of this post office is not definitely known. A
second post office was established in Texarkana, in
Bowie County Texas on February 2, 1886 and WILLIS
WHITAKER was appointed postmaster on that date. MRS.
CHARLES A. WHITAKER succeeded him on September 15, 1886
and then on January 31, 1890, she was succeeded by
post office was discontinued on December 31, 1892 and
the Arkansas Post Office was moved to State Line Avenue
where the red brick Post Office was built in 1893. In
1925 Congressman WINGO introduced a House resolution
authorizing an appropriation of $500.000 to remodel the
old red brick post office. This building was razed in
1930 and in 1933 the present structure was completed at
a cost of approximately one million dollars, including
additional ground area. It was put into service on
September 30, 1930. The base of the new building is of
Texas pink granite and the walls are of limestone from
Arkansas. In 1970 it was recorded as a Texas Historic
Landmark. Both building were photographed for many years
and today there is a special place in front, where you
may get your picture taken with one foot in Texas and
one in Arkansas.
February 5, 1903 the Postmaster General issued an order
that the Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas
postmarking stamp be changed to read “TEXARKANA,
ARK-TEX” and that it be inserted in the next list of
post offices in the United States Official Guide. After
the Zip Code was introduced, and we now have more than
one zip code for this city it is no longer marked that
way. Many people have come and gone but all have
contributed to the history of Texarkana and we still
believe that TEXARKANA USA is the GATEWAY TO THE