Railroad Station Site
In 1885 the H.E. and W.T. Railroad line reached the west bank of the Sabine River. The Houston and Shreveport Railroad line reached the east bank o f the river at Logansport. It would be another two years before the railroad trestle would be constructed to allow the trains to pass over the Sabine River. Later the Louisiana would be known as the KCS and then the Southern Pacific line. The Texas line was first known as the Santé Fe line. The arrival of the railway was an exciting time and meant that more goods could be transported, travel would be faster for passengers and cargo and more locations could be reached. But the railway arrival also meant the end of an era for the romance of the Steamboats, an era that was so important to the survival of the many river ports that lined the Sabine River and other waterways. Before the arrival of the railroad line to Logansport and before cotton gins were built in the area, cotton was hauled by wagons to Shreveport for ginning. Some of the cotton came by steamboat to Logansport (Logans Ferry) and a stream of wagons came from Texas, crossing the river on Logans Ferry. In the fall of the year, this meant camping out along the dirt roads to and from Shreveport’s Red River boat landings.
Logansport was one of the fortunate river communities because it was included on the railroad line map.
The first known telegraph operator and station agent was T.T. Calhoun. T.T. Calhoun is credited with the training and hiring of young Will H. Price in the late 1800’s. Will spent many hours learning the Morse code and then practicing its’ use. He would spend hours with several other youths in town sending and then attempting to decipher the messages he received. This was before telephones or radio, all communication was by mail or by telegraph and cable. Will replaced T.T. Calhoun as Station Master and Depot agent in April of 1900. Will Price would continue to serve as the Logansport depot agent for over 51 years. Mr. Will kept a record of activities during the early days of the railroad in Logansport. His records provide historical insight of the saw mills and cotton plantations which kept the trains busy hauling lumber and cotton. Rail also became an important mode of transportation for passengers.
Lumber was one of the main cargo items shipped by rail. Sawmills were one of the oldest industries of the town. Shortly after the railroad reached Logansport, a sawmill was constructed in the block just north of the present Sabine River highway bridge. (This sawmill would have been located east of the Pavilion, in the Dennis Freeman Memorial Park.) This sawmill was served by a spur track from the railroad main line. The spur curved behind the N.J. Caraway and Co. store and crossed the ferry road on a wooden trestle. About 1892, the Chicago Lumber and Coal Co. built a large sawmill which covered several blocks in the southern part of town. Logs were secured by floating them in the river or by log trains running on the tram roads. There were 15 or 20 miles of sawmill railroads north of town, where the virgin timber grew along the Sabine River. The main tram line crossed the Southern Pacific railroad at abut Seventh Street in Logansport. There were logging camps in the wooded area north of Logansport, near the tram lines. These camps provided sleeping quarters, kitchen area with long tables for the workers. Pens and feeding troughs were built for the horses and mules. These camps were moved as needed to follow the logging operations. Signs of the old tram lines can still be seen in the woods along Mile Branch and at the Texas communities of Galloway and Deadwood.