End of "Gold Rush" Brought KCS Into Benton County - By Cecil Taylor, Adv. Manger, K. C. S. From The Benton County Democrat (1950) - The Century of Progress Edition - Now the NWA Democrat Gazette
Forerunner of the Kansas City Southern Railway in Benton County was the Kansas City, Ft. Smith and Southern Railway, known as the "Splitlog," for Mathias Splitlog, a weathy Wyandotte Indian chief who financed its building in 1887. This was during the Southwest Missouri "gold rush," when a gold vein was said to stretch halfway across McDonald county, in Missouri.
The Splitlog line began at Joplin, ran south through Neosho to Goodman, then west to Splitlog City, also part of Chief Splitlog's project. It was planned to extend the line through the Indian Territory, into Arkansas, and on to the gulf, but Chief Splitlog halted further construction when it was learned the rush was only for "fool's gold."
Eastern interests took over the Kansas City, Ft. Smith and Southern in 1892. The spur west to Splitlog City was taken up, the depot moved to Goodman, and the line was extended south from Goodman, through Anderson and Noel, to Sulphur Springs, Ark. In 1893, Arthur Stillwell purchased the "Splitlog" in the construction of the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad, now The Kansas City Southern Railway Company.
The Kansas City Southern originated 61 years ago as a terminal railroad in Kansas City, with Arthur Stilwell as the moving force. Incorporated under the laws of Missouri in 1887, operations actually began in 1890. First known as the Kansas City Suburban Belt Railroad, the line extended from Independence, Mo., across the Kaw river into Kansas City, Kans., where it served the packing houses, elevators, stockyards and other industries.
With terminal facilities thus secured, the line expanded southward to tap the coal fields of Missouri and Kansas. Accordingly, Stilwell and his associates organized the Kansas City, Nevada and Ft. Smith Railroad Company in 1889, and the road was completed to Hume, Mo., in 1891. Viewing vast timberlands in Arkansas and Louisiana, and eager to establish a short rail route from the Midwest to tidewater, Stilwell re-organized the line in 1893 as the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad.
In August, 1893 the road pushed on to Joplin, where it connected with the "Splitlog," which was extended to Sulphur Springs.
Another short line, the Texarkana and Northern, extending north from Texarkana, Ark-Tex., about twenty miles, had been acquired in 1892. Thus a gap still existed between Sulphur Springs and the Texarkana and Northern connection. To span this gap, and to build on southward, capital was secured from both American abd European interests, and the road was completed between Kansas City and Shreveport, La., 560 miles, in 1895.
Dutch interests provided capital to complete the line from Shreveport to Port Arthur, Tex., and on September 11, 1897, the last spike was driven about twelve miles north of Beaumont, Texas.
The Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Railroad became the Kansas City Southern Railway Company in 1900. In 1939, the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway was acquired, thus giving Kansas City Southern Lines entrance to the ports of La. In addition to the ports of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, La. and Beaumont and Port Arthur, Tex.
Kansas City Southern train in Siloam Springs
That the Kansas City Southern Railway is an outstanding operation in the railroad industry is borne out by an Interstate Commerce Commission report which places the line's operating efficiency above all other railroads in the nation for the first ten months of 1948. This is attributable largely to the fact that about 70 per cent of the system's passenger and freight traffic is moved by diesel-electric locomotives.
In less than three years, Kansas City Southern Lines have acquired, and have on order, about 23 million dollars worth of the "last word" in diesel-electric locomotives and passenger and freight cars, to assure continuation of the best in transportation service for the rapidly developing Midwest and Southwest.