Service Date: 1903
Station Number 173
Depot - 18 x 72
Telegraph Call MR
Date of Construction: August 1903
Marshall was an established town and county seat of Searcy County when the railroad arrived. The town had to wait for a period after construction began before rail service because of the construction schedule for the Buffalo River Bridge delayed tracklaying from Gilbert to Leslie. Part of St. Louis & North Arkansas Railroad extension from Harrison to Leslie.
Once the track was laid and shipping began, Marshall was a shipping point for zinc ore from surrounding mines, and timber from nearby logging operations. Farming also provided commerce for the railroad, with orchard and berry crops predominant. Marshall was also a commercial hub supplying surrounding farms and towns not connected to the railroad. Even after abandonment through Marshall, Flintrock Strawberries were trucked to Harrison for shipment in refrigerator cars over the Arkansas & Ozarks Railway to national markets. Another customer of the railroad was the oil distributor, who had a separate delivery track at Marshall for shipments in tank cars and boxcars.
The depot was manned by one to three agent-telegraphers, depending on the era.
Marshall was on the 1.75 percent grade from the Buffalo River crossing to Baker Summit, where the line then descended into Leslie. Note the heavy uphill grade in the depot photo. The siding was used as a meeting point for some trains, but at times was constrained by cars spotted on the siding for loading or unloading.
Marshall depot, with timber loading areas on the siding to the right. Note the steep ridge beyond the station, part of Devil’s Backbone Mountain. The railroad went around to the left and found a low point over the ridge at Baker after a steep clilmb. Highway 65 went to the right and climbed the ridge on its way to Leslie. From the scenic viewpoint at the top of the hill on Highway 65 on the north side of the road you can see the line of the railroad from near Baker in the valley below to a point just west of Leslie. You can also drive the old railbed from Baker to a point near Leslie. Photo courtesy Jim Wakefield, BCHM collection.
The railroad through Marshall was abandoned in 1949 and the track was removed. The Marshall depot was sold and moved to a location nearby, then back again to where it was originally. There were discussions about restoring the depot but it burned in 2005.