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Stone County Museum highlights: Reeds Spring history, railroad donation grand opening



On behalf of Stone County Historical Genealogical Society and Museum, we express our sincere thank you for all the donations and help extended to make the “Second Annual Indoor Yard Sale " a success. Items left were donated to Crane High School Band for their upcoming sale event.


Our travels through Stone County history takes us to Reeds Spring this week.


As the story goes, Reeds Spring got its name when Fitzhugh Reed settled at a spring near the original town site. He operated a farm that he called "Reeds Spring." Therefore, when the town was officially organized in 1906 it was documented the town be named "Reeds Spring."


Reeds Spring came to life with the building of the railroad by the Iron Mountain Railway. The White River Railway charter took place in 1901 operating as a single railway. A tunnel had to be made for the tracks to lead from Reeds Spring into Taney County. It took four years with the use of steam drills and dynamite through a solid rock Ozarks hill and approximately 250 men to complete the railroad tunnel. The tunnel measures 18 ft. high and 24 ft. wide. The tunnel is located east of the "Spring."


At one time Reeds Spring was considered the leading tie center of the United States. The railroad provided a shipping station for the industry of railroad ties before the railroad ties were shipped by river waterway. Stone County was known for their white oak and hardwood. Men made their living by cutting and hauling railroad ties to Reeds Spring to ship out. Long lines of tie buyers and wagons would fill the small town of Reeds Spring.


During the Depression many people would cut and sell cedar posts, another item that was shipped out by train.  


When the timber was all cut in 1915, tomato production took over for people to make a living. There were two tomato canning factories in Reeds Spring. This gave women a place of employment. The canned tomatoes were then shipped by the railroad.


In 1926 there were 121 boxcars of railroad ties, 16 cars of cedar posts, unspecified cars loaded with walnut logs—all shipped out of Reeds Spring. This was not counting the passenger cars.


In 1945 a garment plant came to Reeds Spring and provided 250 workers a place of employment.


Reeds Spring was considered a boom town. There was a hotel, six grocery stores, mercantile, hardware store, feed store and farm supplies, telephone office, doctors and veterinary, pharmacy, blacksmith shops, school, and then later a Chevrolet agency, movie theater, skating rink. gas stations, restaurants and taverns, bank, and post office.


A school note: In 1947 there were 200 students in grades 1 through 12.


The railroad line runs from Carthage, Missouri, entering north Stone County with Crane, Galena and Reeds Spring directly on the line, and from there into Taney County and on to Cotter, Arkansas.



Stone County Historical Genealogical Society & Museum, Model Railroad Association will pay tribute to the grand opening of the museum donation of Dry Gulch Model Railroad Display, by official guest Elsa Littleton of Kansas City. The grand opening will be held Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m.  to 2 p.m. at the historic Museum Event Hall, 117 Main Street, Crane (across the street from the U.S. Post Office). The public is invited.


Speakers for the event

·       Ron Bradford, Ozarks Model Railroad Association 

·       Elsa Littleton, Dry Gulch West Model Railroad

·       Mike Sypult, Railroad Historian/Missouri Pacific                  


Due to the opportunity of the upcoming railroad program, we will be honoring Stone County towns located on the rail line. Train depots were located in Reeds Spring, Galena and Crane in Stone County. This gives us a way to celebrate the history of what put Stone County on the map.



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