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All Aboard with Rogers and the Golden Age of Rail

Posted by Jamie Smith on Wed, Feb 10, 2016

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When I was a kid, we made watching trains a game. Instead of getting annoyed when we got stopped at a railroad crossing, we had fun counting the cars.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I still get a kick out of trains. I love the fact that we have the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad excursion trains in Northwest Arkansas! Rogers visitors should make it a priority to catch the excursion train at the depot just about 20 minutes south of Rogers in Springdale. And of course you can catch the special Razor Rail from Rogers for select Razorback athletic events. Departing from Frisco Station, Main Street Rogers sponsors Razor Rail trips to the University of Arkansas, and has one scheduled for baseball and football season in 2016.  For more information about the Razor Rail and the other excursions, visit the A&M Railroad website or MainStreetRogers.com.

I recently stopped by the Rogers Historical Museum to learn more about Rogers’ rich history in the railroad. After all, so much in Rogers is named after Frisco Railroad, which is credited with the reason for Rogers being founded. The museum will have a new, larger home in a couple years, which will include a permanent Frisco Railroad exhibit. 

The town received its name for the Frisco’s general manager, Capt. Charles Warrington Rogers, on May 10, 1881. The coming of the railroad meant economic development for Rogers and the surrounding communities, transporting consumer goods and farm produce as well as employment opportunities.

All good things must come to an end, and the Frisco ceased to exist when it was bought out in 1980 by Burlington Northern. Rogers still commemorates the railroad with the annual Frisco Festival in August.

Frisco Station Park is at the center of Downtown Rogers and features an adorable caboose, a stage and a pavilion modeled after the old train depot. The children’s play area is also modeled after trains. The caboose is a great location for photographs or for an outdoor lunch from one of the nearby restaurants. 

I also highly recommend stopping at the Rogers Historical Museum to experience more hands-on exhibits that really let Rogers’ history shine. I’m most fascinated by the jail cell and Grandma’s Attic. I love seeing replicas of how life was generations ago as it brings what I learned in history. 

Topics: Downtown Rogers, Trails & Parks