Friday, April 1, 2016

Texarkana: Right on the Line

Fred at the Courthouse with one foot in Arkansas and the other in Texas 
We are spending our last few days in Texas way up in the Northeast corner in Texarkana.   Here two states came together in a city where the dividing line runs right down the center of State Line Avenue.   We have crossed many State lines in our travels but have not found one like this where the border is carefully marked and you always know which side of town you are standing in.

Texarkana is a railroad town.   It was created in 1873 when 2 rail lines converged here.  Railroad officials and local land developers sold building lots in both states while preserving a 50 foot corridor on either side of the border. This border formed State Line Avenue.  We enjoyed driving up State Line Avenue in Arkansas and watching the state flag road pennants change back to those of Texas when we turned around to head south again.

We visited the City Courthouse and Post Office building. Half of it is in Texas and half in Arkansas.  The Beaux Arts style building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is constructed of gray Arkansas limestone on a Texas pink granite base. 
There is a sign at the front of the building that provides a great photo op. You can stand with one foot in each state with the line clearly defined and labeled. Yes of course we did.

We met 2 Bi-state workers coming back to the courthouse after lunch   One of them was from Texas , he happily flashed us the hook em horns.  The other lived in Arkansas.   She insisted that Arkansas was superior in every way. They work together every day.

Texarkana's historic Union Station was also built on the line.  The Amtrak ticket office and the waiting room of the Renaissance Revival structure are in Arkansas but stopped trains straddle the line.   There are entrance and exit doors in both states. 
Caddo pottery at the Museum of Regional History
We enjoyed a short visit to the Museum of Regional History. There was a small music exhibit that featured songs by the great Scot Joplin, a Texarkana native. I enjoy Ragtime music and it was fun to listen to the old recordings.   Joplin's family were railroad workers in this Northeast corner of Texas.  The museum also has a large exhibit of pottery attributed to the Caddo tribe.

The Ace of Clubs House
Texarkana is  home to an interesting Victorian Era house. It is call the Ace of Clubs House and is built in the shape of the club from a deck of cards.   The House of Cards Museum was not open today when we were in town but we enjoyed looking at the outside of this once great edifice. Legend says that the house was built with the winnings of a poker game.

We rounded off our day of sightseeing with a  delicious cup of coffee at Taste and See, a local coffee shop that is also a confectioner.   It is a great combination and was the perfect place to rest our feet and sit a spell.   We were tempted by the array of handcrafted chocolates but decided to try the Gelato. Fred had Chocolate with Peanut Butter while I enjoyed the Espresso flavor.

Northeast Texas is a pleasant change. There are a lot of trees here. Tall pines, Flowering Dogwood and the occasional Live oak tower over the campground.   This forested environment feels like home. We both smiled to here crickets chirping last night and woodland songbirds this morning.  

We experienced some strong storms and rode out our first tornado warning in a leaking metal shelter that looked like an old shipping container bolted to a concrete pad.  It was interesting.  While listening to the local weather news for updates we heard this area referred to as Arklatexoma, meaning that corner where Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma come together. I had to look it up. It's an awkward word but I guess it works for the forecasters.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Bonnie! You and Fred really know how to seek out history in every place you visit. Glad you made it through the storms safely!