Cherryvale, Oklahoma & Texas Railway Company
Cherryvale, Oklahoma & Texas Railway Company
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|In Cherryvale, the hopes of connecting the community with growing cattle markets in Oklahoma kept optimism alive in the 1890s. The railroad that would put Cherryvale on the locomotive map was called the Kansas, Oklahoma Central and Southwestern Railway. Cherryvale, which was planned to be home of the railway's headquarters, would be the terminus of the railroad with the rail line ending in Vernon, Texas. One of the main towns it would be pass was Guthrie, Oklahoma, which, in 1899, was the center of attention in Indian Territory.
A quartet of regional entrepreneurs poured money into the planned railways, spending much of their time developing the enterprise. Those four people and the offices in the railway company were Jacob Bartles of Bartlesville (and Bartlesville's namesake), president; Samuel Porter of Caney, general attorney; P.S. Hollingsworth of Independence, cashier; and Dr. Frozier of Coffeyville, secretary. Porter and Bartles maintained healthy interests in industries between Bartlesville and Caney, and Porter made a trip to Europe to secure financing for the railway venture. Such hope rested with this venture that the City of Cherryvale voted to spend $20,000 to help with the construction of the terminal facilities in the city.
The entire operation was capitalized for $7 million, a hefty sum for 1898 in dusty southeast Kansas. Even the local press hyped up the railway venture, boasting that Cherryvale would be linked to the east coast via the Kansas, Oklahoma Central and Southern Railway. The Cherryvale Evening Clarion in 1899 said, "It will open up virgin territory, leaving the Kansas state line at Caney, passing through Bartlesville, I.T., to Guthrie, O.T. In Texas, a rich section not as yet well settled will be opened up to enterprise.
There are but few large towns along the route, but in he western country, the railroad precedes the town... "In all probability much California through passenger traffic will be diverted to this road, as connections with the Southern Pacific will undoubtedly be made." Already in 1899, Cherryvale had 28 trains a day leaving in six directions. To add one more major railroad would make the community one of the biggest rail centers in the Midwest, and eventually the Southwest. "Cherryvale is proud of its railroads, and assures prospective manufacturers that as good or better advantages in respect to freight rates in all directions can be and are secured here as at any place in the United States," the Evening Clarion continued. "It is because of these conditions our people make the just claim that the markets for finished products, the raw materials of industry, and cheap fuel are brought as nearly together as it is possible to find them anywhere else."
Santa Fe Railway beat the quartet at its own game and set up tracks through western Oklahoma and Texas. Porter would once again try to establish a southwestern railway with Cherryvale as the northern terminus. In 1902, he established the Cherryvale, Oklahoma and Texas Railway on paper only. The railroad would run from Cherryvale to El Paso, Texas. The idea never left the station. The Kansas, Oklahoma Central and Southern Railway and the Cherryvale, Oklahoma and Texas Railway were two of numerous "paper railroads" formed in the 1890s and early 1900s. However, those paper railroads reaped much excitement but succumbed to the bigger barons of railroading who controlled the industry's destiny.
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