Be Transported by History

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the CALS Roberts Library recently digitized over 550 photographs from its Transportation Photograph Collection. Included in the collection are images of transportation-related subjects from areas in the state outside of Pulaski County. (The Pulaski County photos are in a different collection: Pulaski County Transportation Photograph Collection.)

The Transportation Photograph Collection contains photos and other images of trains and train stations, boats and bridges, cars and roads, and airplanes and airports. Of course, there are also photographs that defy easy classification such as an image of Governor Charles Brough on a bulldozer promoting the good roads movement.

“More Good Road’s for Arkcansaw,” Charles Brough on bulldozer, Hot Springs, Ark., 1920, Butler Center’s Transportation Photographs Collection

One of my favorites in the collection is the 1907 photograph of a steamboat with a giant banner advertising shoes for the B.B. Bethell & Sons store in Des Arc.

Steamboat Liberty delivering shoes from Peters Shoe Company, St. Louis, Missouri, to B.B. Bethell and Sons, Des Arc, Ark., 1907, Butler Center’s Transportation Photographs Collection

Also compelling is an image of a balloon ascension in Norman.

Balloon ascension, Norman, Ark., 1911, Butler Center’s Transportation Photograph Collection

The images in the collection came from a variety of sources. Some were donated over the years, while others were purchased. The earliest images date to around the 1870s. In all, the collection provides a broad look at the history of conveyance throughout the state’s past.

We are very pleased to make these images more accessible to the public. By digitizing them and making them available online we not only enable easier viewing, but we also make our state’s history easier to share. And when we share things, especially something as important as our history, we all benefit. We’re also working to get the photos added to the appropriate entries in the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas, including its Transportation entry.

So check out these wonderful images here and be transported back in time.

By Brian Robertson, manager of the Research Services Division at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies at the CALS Bobby L. Roberts Library of Arkansas History & Art




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