many are acquainted with the history of the Frisco
emblem or insignia, which appears on time tables, advertising
material, annual reports, letterheads, calendars, etc.
Several years ago a pageant was given at Springfield,
Mo., which told the history of that city on the Frisco
Lines, and after much research the story of how the Frisco
emblem came into being was uncovered. The story, as written
below, is authentic, and was compiled by Miss Eula Mae
Stratton, an employee in the Springfield General Office.
the turn of the century, so the old timers say, Mr. G.H.
Nettleton, then Vice-President of the railroad
(which was then known as the old KCM&B) was making
an inspection tour of the system. The train pulled into
the station of Neosho, Mo., (although some say it was Carthage,
most historians however say it was Neosho), with the private
car stopping in view of the west end of the depot building
on which was tacked a coon hide to dry.
Mr. Nettleton saw the coon hide, he immediately summoned
the agent (a Mr. Sam Albright, so the story goes), to the
business car. “What’s that thing tacked onto
the depot?” roared the Vice-President, “and
just why are we using company property for tanning hides?”
We are told that Sam, not a soft spoken man anyway, and
a very busy railroader, told the Vice-President that it
was hard to support a family on the $1.25 per ten hour
day railroading, and that he was catching, tanning and
selling coon hides to supplement his salary.
you know railroading comes first?” said
the Vice-President, and then to Sam’s surprise the
Vice-President grinned and said, “Well, having a
hobby is O.K. How much will you take for that coon skin?”
story goes on to say that Sam was so startled that he
blurted out “Two bucks”. The deal was closed,
leaving Sam in wonderment as to what on earth the official
wanted with the pelt.
But it was not long afterward until ink outlines of the
tightly stretched coon hide began to appear on Frisco drawing
boards in the General Office Drafting Room in St. Louis,
but instead of hanging up and down, the hide was turned
word ‘F R I S C O’ was inserted inside
the coon skin outline and the trade mark emerged as
Early in 1900 many documents carried the emblem and in
1904 the time cards came out with the now well known cut.
The emblem is the pride of all Frisco employees, as it
stands for service to shippers and passengers in the territory
The original coon skin from which the emblem was visualized,
is framed and hangs in the General Office Building in St.
HISTORY OF THE ST. LOUIS-SAN FRANCISCO (FRISCO) RAILWAY
The name -- St. Louis-San Francisco Railway Company represents
aspirations rather than eventualities, as Frisco tracks
extend west scarcely within half a continent of the Golden
year 1849 was one of the great pioneering excitement.
The war with Mexico was over and California was a part
of the nation. Gold had been discovered. National enthusiasm
for a railroad to span the continent was high. St. Louis
was a scene of a great railroad convention to give voice
to that enthusiasm. A good description of public sentiment
is contained in a pamphlet published in Boston the same
year, entitled, “Boston Plan -- Railroad from St.
Louis to San Francisco”.
The author of the pamphlet wrote --
iron will of the sovereign people, pointing to the imperative
necessity of the immediate completion
(it had not been begun) of the St. Louis and San Francisco
Raiload, a work whose very existence will give us the mastery
of the Pacific and the India seas, thereby averting foreign
wars, by warning foreign powers of the necessity of being
on good terms with so powerful a country as ours; a work
whose very existence will ward off Indian wars; a work
which will enable us to carry the mail and to transmit
telegraphic intelligence in the only way worthy of the
age we live in; a work which will furnish a great mart
in Oregon and California for the agricultural products of
the Mississippi Valley and for the domestic fabrics of
the eastern and middle states; in fine, a work which
will render insoluble the ties of our ancient with our
not used until some 25 years later, the author of the ‘Boston Plan’ had
given name to our company, The St. Louis and San Francisco
original and present-day line of the St. Louis-San Francisco
Railway (here-in-after called Frisco) originated
in St. Louis as the ‘Southwestern Branch’ of
the old Pacific Railroad, chartered on March 12, 1849,
by the Missouri Legislature. The Pacific Railroad was chartered
to build a railroad from St. Louis to the western boundary
of the state, there to meet any line which would be built
east from the Pacific Coast. Its projected route was from
St. Louis to Jefferson City to Sedalia to Independence
and Kansas City, a line south of the Missouri River and
substantially parallel to it. This old ‘Pacific’ railroad,
for which first ground was broken in St. Louis on July
4, 1851, was the first of the steam railroads constructed
west of the Mississippi River.
The road was planned as a result of the several great
exploratory expeditions carried on by Capt. (later General)
John C. Fremont. His idea was to forthwith connect the
Mississippi Valley and Missouri River to California, Oregon,
and the Pacific Coast with one or more trunk railroads,
with wagon road auxiliaries.
father-in-law, Senator Thos. H. Benton, of St. Louis
who was backing
Fremont and ardently spurring the federal congress, of
which he was a member, did perhaps more than any other
national legislator to convert Fremont’s exploratory
surveys into practical national railroad building. His
ringing speech, made at the great 1849 St. Louis railroad
convention, so stirred St. Louis people that Mr. Thomas
Allen, a Missouri legislator and first president of the
old Pacific Railroad, had little difficulty in raising
the huge cash subscriptions needed to get the road under
A first survey of the general route, designed eventually
to connect St. Louis as well as Memphis, to the Pacific
coast at San Francisco, had been laid down by Fremont as
early as 1845. Such reconnaissance had blazed a route from
Ft. Gibson through the Missouri towns or future townsites
of Springfield, Lebanon, Waynesville and Rolla that closely
approximate the present Frisco main line from Oklahoma
City to St. Louis.
Surveys for actual construction were begun in May 1850,
under the direction of a former engineer of the New York
and Erie, James P. Kirkwood, for whom a St. Louis suburb
was named. Actual construction began on July 4,1851.
On July 23, 1852 the first division of the Pacific Railroad
Company was opened for business, from St. Louis to Franklin
(now Pacific), Missouri, a distance of 37 miles. Even
before the opening of the first stretch of the road, the
Pacific Company had obtained legaslative authority to construct
a branch line to leave its main projected route at Franklin
and extend to Springfield and southwest Missouri. The new
line was called the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad, and
it was this branch that was destined to become the
nucleus of the Frisco system. Work was begun on it
June 1855 and by December 1860 the Southwest Branch was
opened to Rolla, Missouri.
the mean time the Pacific Line had been extended to Missouri
cities of Washington, Jefferson City and Sedalia.
The latter place remained the terminus until 1865, when
the line was extended to Kansas City. Rolla remained the
terminus of the Southwest Branch during the entire Civil
War, westbound supplies from St. Louis and the east were
transferred from freight car to wagon train. Raids by Confederate
troops inflicted serious damage on the line, and after
the war both the parent Pacific Company and its Southwest
Branch defaulted on their indebtedness to the State of
Missouri and were separately sold in 1867 to satisfy the
lien. At that time they became separate entities, the parent
line became the core of the Missouri Pacific System. The
Southwest Branch was purchased personally by General John
C. Fremont. Fremont was one of the most colorful figures
of the day. Having acquired great wealth from the discovery
of gold in his California properties, he also obtained
through the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad which he also
organized, a valuable Federal land grant and right of way
including millions of acres of good land. He proposed to
continue the Southwest Branch all the way from St.
Louis to San Francisco, California, along the route of
a survey he had completed as early as 1845.
By 1868 Fremont had failed financially (or his Southwest
Pacific Railroad had), and the line with all property went
to the South Pacific Railroad Company of which Francis
B. Hayes of Boston, was president. Mr. Andrew Peirce was
made resident and managing director of the new company
with headquarters in St. Louis. Under his guidance the
railroad was extended to Springfield, Missouri which place
it reached on May 3, 1870. By June 11, 1870 the line was
opened as far as Pierce City, 288 miles out of St. Louis.
Later the same year it reached Neosho. In May of 1871 it
reached the border town of Seneca on the Missouri-Oklahoma
state line; later that same year it was completed to Vinita.
1870 the South Pacific had been merged with the Atlantic & Pacific.
In 1872 the A&P leased the original Pacific road running
from St. Louis to Kansas City. During the years 1872 to
1881 the A&P built and acquired a network of short
lines running to and through the rich lead and zinc mining
towns of Carthage, Webb City, Joplin, Oronogo, Galena and
other points. These roads also tapped the rich coal fields
of western Missouri and eastern Kansas.
The year 1876 saw the final separation of the Southwest
Branch line from any connection with the St.Louis - Kansas
City route from which it stemmed.
A&P holdings were heavily mortgaged forcing sale
for satisfaction of debt. On September 6, 1876 it was
sold at public auction to Andrew Peirce and in turn was
conveyed to the newly organized St. Louis and San Francisco
Railway Company. Two days later on September 8, 1876 the
St.Louis-Kansas City road, which had also been controlled
by the A&P was sold, also to Mr. Peirce. Stockholders
of the new Frisco Company opposed the sale as a maneuver
of the old A&P interests to maintain control of both
lines. The feared attempt to resume control did not materialize
and the old main line of the Pacific Railroad was conveyed
to C. K. Garrison of St. Louis who organized it as the
Missouri Pacific Railroad Company.
The separation of the lines was now complete except for
the difficulty that the new Frisco Company had of getting
into St. Louis without using the tracks of the Missouri Pacific for the 37 mile distance
from Franklin (now Pacific). It built and completed its
own line in 1883, before construction and during its building
it rented track rights from the Missouri Pacific.
1884 there began a series of extensions of the Frisco,
construction was started at Beaumont, Kansas in 1885 and
reached Gale on the Kansas - Oklahoma border February 1,
1886. A branch line was also built in 1886 from Cuba to
Also in 1884 the Frisco by purchase and partial construction
made a direct connection between Springfield and Kansas
City, this portion owned by a subsidiary, the Kansas City,
Osceola and Southern. This line gave direct competition
to the Kansas and Neosho Valley Railroad who by 1885 were
definitely headed for Springfield, Memphis and Birmingham,
under their subsidiary the Kansas City, Fort Scott and
Gulf Railroad. As this road has special significance in
the development of the Frisco, we pause to review some
of its history.
Coates of Kansas City was the first president when
incorporated on March 8, 1865, and this road was the
built south out of Kansas City. In 1868 the name was changed
to Missouri River, Fort Scott and Gulf. The intent was
to reach the gulf through Indian Territory and Texas.
started March 7, 1866 and opened to Olathe December 16,
1868, Fort Scott December 6, 1869 and Baxter
Springs on May 2, 1870. This ‘Gulf’ road was
granted the right to construct a north-south rail road
through Indian Territory provided it was the first to reach
the Kansas-Oklahoma state line in the valley of the Neosho
River. Baxter Springs on the Spring River, a tributary
of the Neosho, offered the Gulf road $150,000.00 to enter
that city. The road accepted but the change cost the Gulf
the franchise as the ‘Katy’, rival of the Gulf
for the franchise reached the line at the exact place.
This enabled the Katy to rapidly build its line through
what is now Oklahoma, and eventually through Texas to the
together with the Frisco connection with the Katy at
Vinita, reduced the Gulf’s business to local shiprnent.
Through Gulf’s management however, coal operators
in the Fort Scott fields were organized into bona fide
coal mining companies and on June 11, 1874 the Fort Scott
Southeastern and Memphis Railway, a subsidiary of
the Gulf, was incorporated to serve the coal banks and
construction of a six mile spur was made to the coal beds.
This ‘offshoot’ took strong root and eventually
extended from Fort Scott to Springfield to Memphis, Birmingham
their hopes to reach the Gulf of Mexico through Oklahoma
and Texas blasted by the Katy, a new route was
conceived and in 1874 the Gulf changed executive control.
General George H. Nettleton was named chief executive officer,
and until his death in 1896 was the driving force behind
the Kansas City to gulf route through Springfield, Memphis
and Birmingham. During the years 1878-1879 the Gulf, overloaded
with stocks, bonds and mortgages, suffered foreclosure
sale and Mr. Nettleton was named receiver. It was then
purchased by a group of Boston financiers who retained
Nettleton. In April 1879 the Springfield and Western Railroad
was purchased. This line was built in 1878 and extended
from Springfield to Ash Grove. The line not yet connected
with the Gulf, had to use its competitor the Frisco, however
on May 25, 1881, the Gulf road completed a section between
Fort Scott and Ash Grove, giving the Frisco main line an
Frisco acquired a direct line frorn Springfield to Kansas
City (begun in 1884 and completed in 1889, the
Kansas City, Osceola and Southern, otherwise known as the ‘Clinton
Not to be outdone by the Frisco, the Gulf in 1884, acquired
several Missouri areas suitable for coal mining and at
once projected a line to meet the Frisco competition. They
built the Kansas City, Clinton and Springfield Railroad,
which left the Gulf at Olathe, closely paralleled the Frisco
cutoff, struck the Fort Scott-Springfield line at Ash Grove
and then ran into Springfield over the old Springfield
and Western. Rivalry so created was one of the reasons
why the two systems were later to be consolidated and now
belong to the Frisco.
Financial backing at this time was readily available and
the Gulf pushed on from Springfield to the gulf. Under
a subsidiary the Kansas City, Springfield and Memphis Railroad,
construction started out of Springfield in the spring of
1882 and progressed as follows --
25, 1882, 25 miles southeast of Springfield completed.
22, 1883, line extended to West Plains.
July (?), 1883 the line completed to Memphis (west bank
of Mississippi River).
April 10, 1886 the Gulf road took possession of the
failing ventures of several groups that had tried to build
a line from Memphis to Birmingham, being partially built
from Memphis to Holly Springs. The new Gulf subsidiary
was known as the Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham Railroad
Company. The line was completed and opened for operation
on October 17, 1887.
first organized the Kansas City, Memphis and Birmingham
was controlled by the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf
Company of Kansas through its subsidiaries the Kansas City,
Springfield and Memphis Companies of Missouri and Arkansas.
In 1888 the companies were consolidated under the name
of Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis Railroad Cornpany,
incorporated under the laws of Kansas,
Missouri and Arkansas.
Traffic across the Mississippi at Memphis was ferried
until May 3, 1892, when the present bridge was completed
by the Gulf Company.
only obstacles of various reorganizations during the
years 1872 to 1887 hampered the Frisco, one other being
the Indian nations objections to Frisco’s survey
and construction through what is now Oklahoma. Through
the Atlantic and Pacific charter secured by General Fremont
in 1866 that railroad clearly had the right to build through
Indian territory and the United States Governrnent clearly
was under the obligation to aid the road in securing the
proper right of way and title to the Indian lands involved.
Federal agencies however, sided with the Indians, so that
in the end the Frisco (or Atlantic & Pacific) main
line from Vinita west to Albuquerque, the Colorado River
and thence to San Francisco was never built by the Company.
1881 and 1896, the Frisco and Atlantic & Pacific
companies became pawns in the hands of the Santa Fe system
and the Jay Gould and Union - Central Pacific management,
so that the Frisco’s holdings in its great, St. Louis-San
Francisco federal land grant charter were utilized
by the Santa Fe road and the Frisco jointly in building
the present Santa Fe from Albuquerque to the Colorado River.
The Frisco gave the Santa Fe road outright half of the
franchise rights, and paid half the construction costs
of the Albuquerque-Colorado River line. Then the Frisco
lost to the Santa Fe all it had put into that venture.
Moreover on the Frisco and Atlantic & Pacific franchise,
the Southern Pacific road completed the link from the Colorado
River to San Francisco, then sold that link to the Santa
Fe system. The Frisco managed to salvage something like
a million acres of New Mexico-Arizona land from this sad venture. In order to get some little
beneifit from the Frisco-Santa Fe tie-up, the Frisco between
the years 1872 and 1880 built a connecting line, the St.
Louis, Wichita and Western, connecting the town of Pierce
City on the Frisco main line to Wichita, Kansas, where
it joined the main line of the Santa Fe. The Oklahoma main
line was extended during the Frisco-Santa Fe liaison. It
was built from Vinita to Tulsa in 1882, Tulsa to Red Fork
in 1885, Red Fork to Sapulpa in 1886 and extension to Oklahoma
City and Lawton in 1883 was made. On July 9,1880 work was
started on a line from Missouri to Texas,crossing the Arkansas
River at Van Buren and Fort Smith and extending through
southeast Oklahoma to Paris, Texas. This line was completed
on July 1, 1887 and made connection with the Texas and
Pacific to Dallas and Fort Worth.
1890 Frisco came directly under the management of the
Santa Fe and by 1893 it was in the hands of receivers.
Management, however continued under Santa Fe direction
until reorganization of the Frisco was made in 1896. During
this time, up to 1896, the Frisco shared with the Santa
Fe in the coastwise traffic from St. Louis to San Francisco,
over the Western Division of the Atlantic & Pacific
road (the New Mexico-Arizona stretch), which was partly
the property of the Frisco. All this was terminated when
the Frisco-Santa Fe divorce came, in 1896. Thereafter the
Frisco, stripped of all its franchise through New Mexico
and Arizona and from the Colorado River to San Francisco
-- and unable to gain necessary right of way for its Central
Division extending from Vinita to Albuquerque -- to all
practical purposes abandoned the direct Vinita-Albuquerque
line and turned to a new plan of building an Oklahoma network.
the period from 1876 to 1896 saw the definite development
of the present main lines of the Frisco-St. Louis to Oklahoma
and Kansas City to Birmingham. The idea of a long line
to the Pacific Coast receded, but in its place a development
of a system to serve the growing southwest, south central
and southeast areas of the nation emerged.
second Frisco Company, formed in 1896, lasted until
1913. These were years of expansion, and it gradually took
form as the Frisco directorate was cleared of officers
connected with the Santa Fe system, which had dominated
the Frisco since 1880. When the Frisco was reorganized
as the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company on
June 20, 1896, the road owned
and operated some 990 miles of track. On June 30, 1897,
this had increased to 1,162 miles. At that time its
directors were in part hang-overs from the joint Frisco
Santa Fe entanglement, Mr. D.B. Robinson was president
and Mr. Benjamin F. Yoakum was vice-president and general
manager. In 1900 shed of its Santa Fe influence in the
directorate, B. F. Yoakum became the President, and in
1903 became Chairman of the Board. Often referred to in
rail history as 'Yoakum's Dream', one of the most spectacular
and rapid developments of rail growth in western and Mississippi
valley history took place. This history is highlighted
in the following 11 paragraphs.
1. A network of new branches of the original Frisco was
built to cover central, western and southern Oklahoma.
The system was enlarged by acquisition of the Kansas
City, Fort Scott and Gulf system, extending from Kansas
City, Mo., through Missouri, Arkansas and to Memphis and
Birmingham, Ala. The Frisco was interconnected with the
'Gulf' by a number of short stretches, such as the one
from Baxter Springs, Kansas through Quapaw and Miami to
A concerted effort was made to tie Chicago and St. Louis
to the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans, by acquirement
of control over the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad,
building for that road a double track from Pana, Illinois
to St. Louis along the right of way of the 'Big Four' (NYC).
This C&EI system was directly connected to Gulf ports
by arrangements for at least temporary track rights from
the Illinois Central, the Missouri Pacifc, the Iron Mountain,
and the Texas Pacific railroads.
4. As might become desirable or necessary, entirely new,
low-gradient track would be built on a new line down the
west bank of the Mississippi River, starting at St. Louis,
connecting up to the Chicago and Eastern Illinois terminus
at Chaffee, Mo., and running thence to Memphis. This much
was the main line of the St. Louis, Memphis and Southeastern
Railroad. From Memphis, as needed, the new line would run
to a river crossing at Baton Rouge, where it would intersect
the new line to be built from New Orleans to Brownsville,
Texas. Thence it had track rights to New Orleans.
Proceeding on a half-and-half basis with the Southern
Railway Company, the Frisco, represented by the New Orleans
Terminal Company, its subsidiary, built and acquired extensive
terminal track and facilities in and around the city of
New Orleans, including the Chalmette docks and terminals.
Use of such facilities were traded the Illinois Central
and Missouri Pacific systems for track rights from Memphis
to New Orleans. These terminal properties cost the Frisco
several million dollars.
From New Orleans, a brand new trunk line, now called
the 'Costal Lines', but then the St.Louis, Brownsville
and Mexican Railroad (New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad)
was built not only to develop the coastal region traversed
from New Orleans to Galveston, Corpus Christi and Brownsville,
but also the potentially rich San Benito Valley, in the
extreme southern tip of Texas, on the Rio Grande River
-- now one of the richest of America's fruit and vegetable
farming centers. This line also was designed to interconnect
Frisco Lines with Mexican National Railways at Laredo,
Texas, and at Eagle's Pass.
A new southern Oklahoma line, known as the St. Louis,
San Francisco and New Orleans Railroad, running from Ardmore
and Hugo in Oklahoma to Hope, Ark., was projected and built
to facilitate transport of traffic originating in Colorado,
south and west Oklahoma, and northern Texas, to New Orleans.
This route was designed to be extended west from Ardmore
to Lawton, or to Wichita Falls, Texas. From Hope, Ark.,
it was to run east to a connection with the main new trunk
down the Mississippi west bank from Memphis.
8. Through control of the Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railroad,
extending southwest from Fort Worth to Brownwood, Brady
and Menard and eventually to San Antonio, with a branch
from Brady to Eagle's Pass, both Dallas and Fort Worth,
as well as the west network of the Frisco System, were
to be connected to the Southern Pacific Railroad, and to
Mexican lines terminating at Eagle's Pass.
9. Direct connections to Galveston from Fort Worth and
from Dallas were planned directly over a two-forked road
called the Trinity and Brazos Valley Railroad. The Dallas
and Fort Worth forks converged at Teague, and ran thence
a single line to Galveston.
The New Orleans terminal facilities, the Chicago and
Eastern Illinois road and improvements made thereto, the
east-west branch in south Oklahoma (St. Louis, San Francisco
and New Orleans), and the St. Louis, Memphis and Southeastern
Lines with all the new road or roads on which track rights
were procured, were welded together under a new giant railroad
Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans Railroad Company.
This had a capital stock of one hundred fifty
miillion dollars, all of which was guaranteed by the main
Link the entire Frisco System, as thus developed to the
Rock Island Railroad. Most of the Rock Island network
was then located to the north of the bulk of the Frisco
network. The Rock Island connected Chicago with territory
to the Northwest of Chicago, including lowa, and Minnesota.
It also covered central and north Missouri, a good portion
of Kansas, portions of Arkansas, and had terminal lines
in Denver and Colorado Springs. lt had a main line connecting
Topeka and Herigton with Wichita Kans., to Enid, Chickasha
and Terral, Okla. with connecting line into Fort Worth.
It also had a line which, as far back as 1845, had been
projected by General Fremont as part of the 35th Parallel
route to be taken by the Atlantic & Pacific, predecessor
of the Frisco. This line extended from Memphis through
Little Rock, Ark., to Oklahoma City and beyond to Amarillo,
Texas. This line was in the process of extension to Tucumcari,
New Mexico, for connection with the Southern Pacific line
up from El Paso, and so to the Pacific Coast. Also, a new
line was being built from Herington and Hutchinson, Kansas
to join the Oklahoma line terminating at Tucumcari. Various
other short lines, such as the one from Bonner to Newport,
Arkansas, interconnected the Frisco and Rock Island for
rmore effective coordination.
1911 practically every feature of the Yoakum plan as
outlined above had been carried into effect and completed.
The principal link left out was the 'west-side' main line
down the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans, and the
link eastward from Hope, Arkansas joining it. The New Orleans,
'Chalmette' dock facilities were finished, and the 977
mile coastline the 'Brownsville Road' was in operation.
As already shown, the Frisco had expanded greatly in Oklahoma,
and had taken over the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Gulf
System, with its lines to Birmingham.
The St. Louis, Memphis and Southeasten line, 666 miles,
connecting St. Louis to Memphis, was operated by the Frisco
from July 1,1904. The Chicago and Eastern Illinois lines
had been taken over and its Pana-St.Louis line constructed.
of the Frisco System proper rose from 1,162 miles in
1897 to 1,659 miles in 1900. In 1901 it rose to 1,915
miles and was increased to 3,033 by addition of the 'Gulf'
system. By June of 1902, with Oklahoma extensions and
the Texas 'Brownwood' line counted, the total mileage was
4,201 and on June 30, 1904 it reached 5,456 miles.
phenomenal successful development of the Frisco System
and relations with the Rock Island was followed
by a long string of disasters. Some of these, contributory
to the collapse of Frisco's empire were
1. Mexican Republic became the victim of devasting revolutions,
wrecking Mexican Railroads and thus the business for the
'Brownsville' road (New Orleans, Texas and Mexico).
Operating deficits in 1912-1913 of $904,000 and 1913-1914
On March 24, 1912 the Mississippi broke its levees
and so completely inundated the Frisco low lying tracks
Arkansas, tying up traffic until May 12, 1912.
Levees in Louisiana broke on May 3, 1912, flooding
sections of the Brownsville line until June 24, 1912.
Because of floods in 1912 net profits were reduced
to $177,400 for 1911-1912.
In 1911, coal strikes contributed a heavy loss of business.
railroad system could withstand such operating conditions
and on May 27, 1913, the Frisco went into the hands of
the Frisco, the C&EI went into receivership.
That ended its relations with the Frisco. The New Orleans
Brownsville line (New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railroad)
also went into receivership. Frisco and Rock Island systems
were dissolved. Certain other short lines like the Brownwood
line in Texas were sold.
Frisco continued in receivership up to August 24, 1916,
when the present St. Louis-San Francisco Railway
Company took over what property the system had left. The
road was operated during World War I by the United States
Government, being released in 1920. From the time of its
incorporation in 1916 until 1932, when it went again into
the hands of receivers the Frisco made a number of extensions.
The Memphis-Birmingham line was extended in 1927 from East
Aberdeen to Columbus, Miss. In 1928 the line was further
extended from Columbus to Kimbrough, Ala., where it was
connected with the Muscle Shoals, Birmingham and Pensacola
Railroad, which had been built in the years 1912 to 1915.
The Frisco acquired the MSB&P in 1925. Connections
to the Gulf of Mexico were completed in 1928 and General
George H. Nettleton's ambition to reach the gulf was accomplished
- 32 years after his death. Other extensions of the Frisco
were made in Missouri, Arkansas and Texas during these
years, but the pattern of the system remained essentially
as has been previously described.
The depression of 1929 had its effect on the Frisco, and
by 1932 the road was in the hands of receivers. In 1933
the status of the road was changed to a trusteeship by
court order and the property was operated by trustees until
January 1, 1947, when the reorganization of the company
was effected. These court appointed trustees provided for
an unbroken continuity of executive direction of the Frisco
throughout the period of trusteeship. The original trustees
were the late J. M. Kurn, president of the bankrupt cormpany,
and the late John G. Lonsdale, both of St. Louis. Upon
the death of Mr. Lonsdale in 1943, Judge Frank A. Thornpson,
of St.Louis, who had been special counsel, was named co-trustee.
Mr. Kurn retired in 1945, after which Judge Thompson remained
as sole trustee until completion of the reorganization.
When the reorganization was completed, Judge Thompson became
Chairman of the Board, serving until his death on February
The late Clark Hungerford was named president of the new
Frisco on completion of its reorganization. A five year
voting trust period, from 1947 through 1951, was established
by court order, and under Hungerford's leadership during
these years, the railroad gave indication that it still
possessed the energetic vitality that had marked its continuous
December 28, 1948 the Frisco acquired control of the
Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad Company, which
operated between Reform and Mobile, Ala. Prior to the acquisition,
the Frisco and the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern interchanged
at Aliceville, Ala., with traffic moving into and out of
the Port of Mobile. This acquisition brought about possibilities
for greater industrial development for Mobile and the territory
served by the AT7N, and gave Frisco its second seaport
Much of the 1947-1951 period was devoted to building up
the Frisco property through modernization and mechanization.
A huge multi-million dollar yard, office building and diesel
house were constructed at Springfield, the operating hub
of the Frisco. Centralized traffic control, to speed Frisco
trains and make operations safer, was spread over the system.
The latest developments in communication techniques were
August 1950, the United States government assumed control
of the nation's railroads, pending settlement of contractual
disputes with the brotherhoods. Then President Hungerford
was appointed colonel in the Army Transportation Corps
and placed in charge of the Southwestern Region, embracing
48 railroads. In May 1952 the railroads were returned to
private ownership. During this period modernization continued
unabated and on February 28, 1952 the last steam locomotive
made its final run between Bessemer and Birmingham, Alabama.
In June 1957, work was completed on a $10,000,000 hump
yard at Capleville, Tenn., near Memphis. Another hump yard,
known as Cherokee Yard and located at Tulsa, Okla., was
completed in March 1960. Like Tennessee Yard, it too utilizes
the latest developments in electronics.
Frisco employs approximately 9,500 employees to whom
it pays annual wages of approximately $62,000,000.00.
The railroad owns about 19,000 freight cars and 412 diesel
The number of branch and short lines constructed, bought,
sold or abandoned by the Frisco are too numerous to permit
a minute history, and for that reasan the following chronological
summary is made to complete this effort.
1849 - Missouri Legislature authorized the incorporation
of the 'Pacific Railroad of Missouri' to build a railroad
from St.Louis west to the boundary of the State, there
meet any line which would build east from the Pacific Coast.
- Surveys started.
- On July 4, railroad construction began from St. Louis.
- December 25. The General Assernbly authorized the
Pacific Railroad Company to construct a branch to the
Southwestern part of the state. The public lands donated
by the Congress
appropriated to the Pacific amounted to 2,662,246 acres.
The State also loaned the Pacific Railroad $4,500,000
and placed a lien upon the road and land for this amount.
- Road opened in July to Franklin (now Pacific). On
November 16 the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad's
route was planned to extend from Franklin in a southwesterly
direction into the valley of the Gasconade River, a distance
of 89 miles, and construction was started.
- In December branch was opened to Rolla.
- The Pacific Railroad defaulted in its interest payment
and the State of Missouri took possession in February.
In June at private sale, the Southwest Branch was sold
to General John C. Fremont. The road was re-organized
as the Southwest Pacific Railroad, and operated from
- Thirteen additional miles were built. General Fremont
was unable to pay the second installment on his purchase
price and in June he was dispossessed by the state.
- A new group took charge and the new Company was
called the South Pacific Railroad Company. This company
received authority to construct a railway frorn Washington
and Grand Avenues in the City of St. Louis, running westward
to connect with the eastern terminus of the line at Franklin
- Line constructed and completed Rolla to Lebanon.
- Line completed from Lebanon to Springfield in May and
to Pierce City in October. An additional 39 miles to
Seneca, on the Missouri-Oklahoma border was graded. In
October the road was forced to convey its franchise and
property to the Atlantic and Pacific Railway Company.
The AE&P completed the line to Seneca.
- The line was further extended from Seneca to Vinita,
Indian Territory. The Atlantic and Pacific continued
to operate the South Pacific Railroad in connection
own lines until November, when the AE&P went into
the hands of receivers.
- September 6, the South Pacific (Missouri Division)
was sold to Andrew Peirce, Jr, and conveyed by him to
William F. Buckley who conveyed it to the newly organized
and San Francisco Railway Company, which corporation
continued operation of the line from Pacific to the
of the state (Seneca). On September 7 when the South
Pacific was transferred to the Frisco Lines it became
655,000 acres of land covered by the South Pacific mortgage,
and approximately 306,000 acres of land known as the
Atlantic and Pacific grant. Out of 197,603 shares of
stock of the
Atlantic and Pacific Company, the Frisco owned 172,263
shares, this controlling the franchise and property of
that company west of the state line -- Missouri and Arkansas
to the Bay of San Francisco. The Frisco owned 292 miles
between Pacific and Seneca with trackage rights over
the Missouri Pacific from Pacific to St. Louis.
- Purchase of the Joplin Railroad, Joplin to Girard,
38 miles, constructed by the Joplin Railroad and the
Joplin and Galena Railroad, completed during the year
Purchase of the Missouri and Western Railway Company,
Pierce City to Oswego with branch line from Joplin
Mo., 83.23 miles, constructed by the Missouri and Western
Railway, and completed in 1879. Construction of 144 miles,
Wichita to Oswego, Kansas by the St. Louis, Wichita and
Western Railway, for the Frisco and operated by the Frisco
until purchased in 1882. Construction of 2 1/2 miles
in Joplin for connecting purposes.
- Construction and purchase of the St. Louis, Arkansas
and Texas Railway, Plymouth (now Monett), Missouri to
the Missouri-Arkansas state line 32.4 miles. This was
move toward developing the Arkansas Division.
- Construction on Arkansas Division - State line
to Brentwood, 55.5 miles, thence to Fayetteville, making
a total of 70 miles south of the state line.
- Purchase of St. Louis, Wichita and Western Railway
as of Lease of 1879. Construction of a branch from Seligman
to Eureka Springs, 20 miles constructed by Eureka Springs
Railway Company for the Frisco.
- Construction by St. Louis and San Francisco Railway
Company of 8 1/2 miles eastwardly from Pacific toward St.
Louis. Construction of 45 1/2 miles between Brentwood and
Fort Smith by the Arkansas and Southern Railway for the
Frisco. Construction of White River Branch, 19 miles southwardly
from Springfield to Ozark, by the Springfield and Southern
Railway in 1882 for the Frisco. Extension (by construction
by the Atlantic and Pacific of the Central Division) from
Vinita to Tulsa 65 miles. (The Central Division was operated
as the Southwest Division of the Frisco Lines until it
was purchased outright in 1898).
- Further construction by the Springfield and Southern
Railway on the White River Branch 15 1/2 miles southwardly
from Ozark to Chadwick. Completion of main line from
Pacific, Mo., to Cabanne (now Spring) Street in St.
Louis, a distance
of 37 miles.
- Construction by the Springfield and Northern Railway
of 40 miles of branch line frorn Springfield to Bolivar
for the Frisco.
- Completed construction of the bridge over the Arkansas
River at Van Buren, on the Arkansas Division. Bridge
built by the Ft. Smith and Van Buren Bridge Company,
stock of which was owned by the Frisco. Extension of
Central Division of Atlantic and Pacific from Tulsa
10 miles. Lease of the Kansas City and Southwestern Railroad,
which company contracted with the Frisco to build 225
miles westwardly from Kansas City to Beaumont and from
southwardly to Arkansas City, in southern Kansas.
- Extension by construction of Arkansas Division from
Fort Smith, southwesterly through Indian Territory to
Paris, Texas. 169 miles; the line from Ft.Smith to
the State Line
was built by the Ft. Smith and Southern Railway Company;
from the State Line to Paris by the St.Louis and San
Francisco Railway Company and the Paris and Great Northern
Company. Three branch line extensions --
1 - Weir City - Pittsburg, Kans., to Wier City, Kans.
9 miles, built by the Pittsburgh and Columbus Railway Company.
2 - Fayetteville - southeastwardly 25 miles out of Fayetteville
to Powell, Ark., built by the Fayetteville and Little Rock
3 - Cuba - 54 miles from Cuba, Mo. to Salem, Mo., and
branches, built by St. Louis, Salem and Little Rock Railroad
- Construction of 123.90 miles on Kansas Division,
Wichita to Western boundary of Kiowa County, Kansas,
the Kansas Midland Railway, for the Frisco. Fayetteville
branch extended 8 miles to St. Paul, Ark., constructed
by Fayetteville and Little Rock Railway for the Fisco.
Construction of a branch from Jenson, Ark., to Mansfield,
Ark., 22 miles, by Little Rock and Texas Railroad for
- Purchase of 10.54 miles, from St. Louis, Kansas and
Southwestern Railway, Bluff City, Kansas to Anthony,
- Purchase of the Central Division of the Atlantic & Pacific,
extending 112 miles southwestardly from Seneca, Mo., to
Sapulpa, Indian Territory, which line has in whole or part
been in operation by the Frisco Lines since 1877 or 1878.
Construction by the St. Louis and Oklahoma Railroad Company
of a line from Sapulpa, Indian Territory to Oklahoma City,
Okla. This line was leased until 1899 by the Frisco, when
it was formally purchased, but it is clear that it was
purposefully built to serve as a western extension of the
Southwestern Division of the Frisco. Construction by Fayetteville
and Little Rock Railway Company, for the Frisco, of a branch
8.03 miles from St. Paul, Ark., to Pettigrew.
- Purchase of line leased from St.Louis and Oklahoma
Railroad Co., Oklahoma City to Sapulpa.
- Purchase of entire Kansas, Osceola and Southern Railway,
146.9 miles, from Kansas City southeasterly to
Boliver, part of which had been under operating contract
since 1898. Purchase of 106.4 miles from Wichita to Ellsworth,
Kans., which line had been bult in 1888 by the Kansas
Midland Railway Company. Purchase of Blackwell branch
built by Kansas Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad in 1899. Purchase
of Arkansas and Oklahoma Railroad 48.56 miles, Rogers,
Arkansas to Grove, Indian Territory.
- Construction of 198 miles of road, Sapulpa to Denison,
which line was built in 1900-01 under a contract between
the Frisco and the St. Louis, Oklahoma and Southern Railway,
and the St. Louis San Francisco and Texas Railway Company.
Purchase of 1 1/2 miles of terminal tracks in Oklahoma
City from the Oklahoma C ity Terminal Railroad Company.
Purchase of the Ft. Worth and Rio Grande Railway, a line
from Ft. Worth to Brownwood, Texas a distance of 146.16
miles. Long term lease of 1,117.50 miles connecting Kansas
City, Memphis and Birmingham, from the Kansas City, Ft.
Scott and Memphis Ry. Co. Purchase of a line from Sherman
to Carrollton, Texas, 57.54 miles from the Red River,
Texas and Southern Railroad Company.
- Construction of 49.72 miles from Brownwood, Texas
to Brady, Texas by the Ft. Worth and Rio Grande Ry.,
for the Frisco. Purchase of the Blackwell, Enid and
Ry. 251 miles from Blackwell, Okla. to Vernon, Texas.
Purchase of 15.18 miles of terminal tracks in Birmingham,
had been constructed about 1888 by the Birmingham Belt
RR. Co. Purchase of the St.Louis, Memphis and Southwestern
RR., extending from Southeastern Junction, Mo., to
Luxora, Ark., 249 miles with branches in southern Missouri
northern Arkansas which brought the total to 416 miles.
1903 - Purchase agreement with the Oklahoma City and Western
RR for 183.53 miles of road between Oklahoma City and Quanah,
Texas. Construction of 8.723 miles, Scullin, Indian Territory,
a point on the Southwest Division to Sulphur Springs, which
was built by the Oklahoma City and Western RR., for the
Frisco. Construction of 9 miles of branch line between
Meade Junction, and Platter, Indian Territory by the St.
Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans RR., for the Frisco.
Purchase of the Ozark and Cherokee Central Railway 144
miles extending from Fayetteville, Ark., to Okmulgee, Indian
Territory. This line was jointly constructed in whole or
part by the Ozark and Cherokee Central Ry., the Oklahoma
Coal and RR Co., and the Muskogee City Bridge Co.
1904 - Purchase of 175.25 miles of constructed road between
Red Pork, Indian Territory and Avard, Okla., from the Arkansas
Valley and Western Ry. Purchase of approximately 23 miles,
between Hope, Arkansas and Ardmore, Indian Territory, from
the St. Louis, San Francisco and New Orleans RR Co., which
corporation had built the line in 1903. Construction of
Evadale Branch, 16.50 miles between Evadale, Ark., and
Big Creek, Ark., by the Kansas City, Ft. Scott and Memphis
Railway for the Frisco. Purchase of the St. Louis and Gulf
Railway 265 miles of network in southeast Missouri
- Purchase of the Bonnerville and Southwestern, a 32.58
mile banch southwesterly from Bonnerville, Ark.,
to Estico, Ark. Purchase of the Tyronza Central RR., 11.4
miles northeasterly from Tyronza, Ark., to a lumber camp.
1906- Construction of 6 1/2 miles on the Cuba-Salem branch,
by the St. Louis Blast Furnace Company for the Frisco.
1907 - Frisco took deed to the following, which it previously
St.Louis, Memphis and Southeastern
RR Blackwell,Enid and Southwestern Ry.
Ozark and Cherokee Central Ry.
Ft. Smith and Van Buren Bridge Co.
Oklahoma City and Western RR.
Sulphur Springs Ry.
- Construction by the St. Louis and San Francisco RR
Co., of a branch between Marion and Hulbert, Ark.,
1/2 miles. Construction
of 27.56 miles between Whiteland and Brandy, Texas by Ft.
Worth and Rio Grande Ry., for Frisco.
1911 - Track operation of the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico
Railroad System, approximately 1,007.20 miles.
- Construction of an auxiliary line, the Brownwood North & South
1914 - Construction of 4.74 miles on the Empire Branch
1915 - Construction of 6.18 miles in Kansas City, making
connections with new terminal.
1917 - Purchase of 8.98 miles from the Sapulpa and Oil
Field RR, Depew to Shamrock, Okla.
1921 - Construction of 3.39 miles on the Tyronza Branch
- Purchase of the Jonesboro, Lake City and Eastern
RR., 86.5 miles in northeastern Arkansas. Purchase of
miles, Kimbrough, Ala., to Pensacola, Fla., from the Muscles
Shoals, Birmingham and Pensacola RR Co
1926 - Construction by the Frisco of 2.96 miles; 2.86
miles Browington, to Deepwater, Mo.; .07 miles at Beaumont,
Kansas. Hume, Mo., Branch abandonment.
1927 - Construction by the Frisco of 26 miles between
Aberdeen and Columbus, Miss. Purchase
of the Butler County RR., extending 50.35 miles Poplar
Bluff, Mo., to Piggot, Ark. Purchase
of the St. Louis, Kennett, and Southeastern extending
16.83 miles between Piggott, Ark., and Kennett, Mo. Purchase of Motley County Railway 8.49 miles Matador Junction
to Matador, Texas.
- Construction of 125.35 miles between Columbus,
Miss., and Kimbrough, Ala. by Frisco. Construction
miles between McBain and Floydada, Texas. Purchase
of Kansas City, Clinton and Springfield Ry. Co., 154
between Olathe, Kansas and Grove, Mo.
- Purchase of the Miami Belt RR Co., extending 11.09
miles from Quapaw to Picher, Okla. to Baxter Springs,
- Purchase of Gulf, Texas and Western Ry., which company
owned 98.43 miles extending from Seymour
Texas. Construction of 3.48 miles between Shamrock
and Tidal (formerly Drumright), Okla.
- Construction of 6 miles between Quanah and Acme,
Texas by Quanah, Acme and Pacific Ry., for
Purchase of 1.68 miles, Wilson to Stoffles Landing,
- Four separate abandonments were made.
- Seventeen separate branches were abandoned in Arkansas,
Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
- Two separate abandonments were made.
- The St. Paul Branch was abandoned from Fayette Jct.,
to Pettigrew, Ark.
- Portions of the Hunter and Current River Divisions
were abandoned, also part
Empire Branch in
- Due to the building of the dam on the St. Francis
River at Wappapello, Mo.,
Mingo to Williamsville,
Mo., was abandoned as the lake formed by
the dam covered the Frisco tracks.
- The Gulf Texas and Western Ry., was sold to the Chicago,
Rock Island and Pacific
from Rock Island Junction, Oklahoma to
Ardmore, Okla. Grassy Bayou, Ark. to Caruthersville
- On December 28 the Frisco acquired control of the
Alabama, Tennessee and Northern
extends 214 miles from Reform to Mobile,
Ala., and connects with the Frisco proper
- Construction started on the Tennessee Yard at Capleville,
near Memphis, Tenn. This
yard was estimated
to cost approximately 10 million dollars.
- Construction started on the Cherokee
Yard at Tulsa, Okla., this yard to be similar to Tennessee Yard and
cost approximately 6 million dollars.
- Tennessee Yard completed in June.
- Cherokee Yard completed in March.
- Mr. L. W. Menk elected President of the Frisco in
October. Mr. Wm. A. McDonnell
Chairman of Board