Baker, AR

Service Date: 1903

Station Number 176

Depot - Passenger Shelter

Baker was located at what locals called "Gap of the Mountain" where early settlers and traders crossed the high ridge that forms the Devil's Backbone Mountain, a major barrier between the Little Red and Buffalo River basins. The railroad surveyors followed suit in their location of the track to access Leslie and its resources. Leslie would be for a time the temporary terminal of the St. Louis & North Arkansas while they decided how further construction of the railroad should proceed. The climb from the Buffalo River crossing to Baker was another of those 1.75 percent grades. Although the grade northbound was slightly less than the southbound grade from Gilbert through Marshall, the grades on both sides at times required two locomotives (doubleheading) or "doubling the hill." Doubling the hill meant taking half of the train to the top of the grade, leaving it on a siding, and going back down for the rest of the train. At the top of the hill, the train could be re-assembled for the trip down the grade. Baker was one of those locations. Out of Leslie northbound, a yard locomotive or assigned helper locomotive could help push the train to the top of the hill, and then let it go on using the one locomotive, so that the train would not have to be doubled up the hill. Coming south, the choice was many times doubling the hill, so a 13-car siding was located at Baker to store half of the train.

A passenger shelter was provided at Baker, but no depot. Baker was a flagstop for passenger trains through the end of operations, and a mail crane was located there to provide postal pickup and delivery for the Baker post office in the small community. The Baker community was formed after the railroad came. It was at one time the second largest timber shipper in the county after Leslie.