Sunday, October 24, 2010

Artifacts Anonymous

My name is Luke Jones, and I'm an artifactaholic. And I have no plans to change! HA!

Today's artifact is still the M&NA railroad. We previously discussed the sad shape of Pangburn's rail center. I found an archival photograph of the same building:

This was taken in 1921, still a good 28 or so years before the railroad's ultimate demise. Apparently the M&NA wasn't exactly the world's most favorite railroad. To many, the letters more accurately stood for "May Never Arrive," but if you had to get to Pangburn or Letona or one of those other little burgs you had to grit your teeth and take it.

I read an account (from the White County Historical Society) where a man remembered the wood stove on his passenger car running out of kindle and some brave or crazy men jumped out of the car and tore some boards right off of the depot.

But when M&NA engines broke down too much, oftentimes they would end up in Kensett. Yes, the little hamlet called Kensett was a major intersection for M&NA trains back in its day. It's a sad place now. A man who grew up there told me the other day, "Wal-Mart killed this town."

But the M&NA had packed up and left probably before Sam Walton had been kicked out of Newport. So the rail ruins of the M&NA have had a long time to become part of the scenery. The same man who dictated Kensett's death showed me these:

On the edge of someone's property on a back road in Kensett are these unusual concrete ruts. I was absolutely delighted to learn that they are the ruins of the M&NA locomotive shop! There may have been a complete structure built over these ruts at one point but now the concrete structures poking through the ground are all we have.

The "teeth" on the edges of the trenches once held cross ties between them (a few are left). Locomotives would roll over the pit and workers could slide under there and make repairs. This must have been a major stop for the M&NA, because there are two more bays:

Across from the bays are some more ruinous bits that are impossible to identify:

I find it amusing that the roadbed leads right up to the ruins of an old barn, which in turn doesn't seem to be used for its original purpose. The discarded farming equipment along the repair bays leads me to believe that prosperity hasn't been seen in this part of Kensett for a long, long time.


1 comment:

Barbara Duncan said...

What an interesting blog and so well written! I wish it were possible to "reblog" like we do on Activerain! Thanks for sending me the link.