The UA Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture has digitized over 100 historic railroad maps that are now available to researchers online. The maps are accessible at the following link: Historic Railroad Maps
Created in 1917 and 1918, the maps document the St. Louis, Iron Mountain, and Southern Railroad (SLIMS) and the Missouri Pacific Railroad (MoPac) in Arkansas. They trace the railroad from MoArk, Arkansas to Texarkana, Arkansas.
The maps not only depict train tracks mile by mile, but also note any land, bridges, or buildings owned by the railroad companies. These maps arrived at the Center as a gift from Union Pacific in 2017, which inherited the drawings from its predecessor, the Missouri Pacific Railroad.
Thanks to funding from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the Center sent the maps to a vendor equipped with large format scanners. The digitization project, now complete, allows researchers to access the maps anytime. Researchers can even zoom-in to view fine details that are not easily seen on the physical maps.
These railroad maps enhance other UA Little Rock research collections on the built environment and form the basis of a valuable resource documenting the state’s development. Understanding the evolution of railroad investment and location provides a deeper understanding of how people lived and interacted through the structures they built.