As you drive around America crossing the various dividing lines of the 48 contiguous states, many of them can go unnoticed but that certainly isn’t true as you pass between Arkansas and Texas. The wonderfully named town of Texarkana is the perfect location to divide these two states and we decided to take some time here to explore the history of this town. The Arkansas State Line and Texas State Line are not only apparent in Texarkana but instead they combine to create a focal point that residents of the town have come to cherish.
During our drive home from a trip to the beautiful Longhorn state, we hopped off I-30 and made our way to the heart of downtown Texarkana. I have to admit that I was a little surprised at just how quiet the town was, though we did visit on an early Sunday afternoon so perhaps the locals were busy enjoying some local barbeque or other typical Texas-Arkansas cuisine.
Where is Texarkana?
Texarkana is located in the southwest corner of Arkansas, a little over 2 hours (140 miles) from Little Rock and under 3 hours from Dallas, Texas. It is the perfect location for Arkansans heading to Texas to take a break for a few minutes to grab a bite to eat or simply spend some time exploring this historic city. That is exactly what we decided to do on our journey home from a weekend in Dallas.
Texarkana Post Office
You may be surprised to hear that the most famous building in Texarkana is actually the post office. This isn’t like any old post office that you associate with a typical Arkansan town rather, it is a beautiful piece of architecture that plays an integral role given its iconic location on the state line dividing Arkansas from Texas.
In fact, the Texarkana Post Office is the only post office that actually sits in two different states. Dating back to its construction in 1932, this building is actually home to both the city post office and also courthouse which explains why this a little more historic than a traditional post office.
Inside the post office is just like any other typical business or courthouse facility but outside is where you will see the real differences. The city of Texarkana created a photo opportunity on the south side of the building and painted a line on the road that emphasizes the state line.
As you can imagine, this is a huge hit for visitors to Texarkana who want to use this opportunity to grab a selfie in both Arkansas and Texas at the same time!
There is ample parking around this building so we encourage you to park and get out to explore the area, though as I indicated you may be a little surprised at just how quiet it is around this part of Texarkana. The ‘Half-n-Half’ post office is located on the aptly named State Line Avenue, which in turn has been transformed into a traffic circle to allow vehicles easy access around this building.
Having done some research on Texarkana before heading back home from Dallas, I found this interesting comment on another website about taking a selfie at the iconic post office and the city of Texarkana in general.
Prove to the folks back home that you really did stand with one foot in Texas, and the other in Arkansas! Is there any other reason to stop in Texarkana? No.
Is there any truth behind the second part of this statement? We decided to explore a little more and see if we could dispute this!
After seeing several murals on the so-called Texarkana Walk of Fame denoting images of the local history, we were becoming more and more convinced that perhaps the statement that this town has very little to offer was true.
However, the history of these murals is a little more interesting as we found out that local students painted these images in 2005 as a depiction of the city’s historical buildings.
This was all part of a community service improvement project on this side of Texarkana and there was a distinctive relationship with the Texarkana Cotton Belt Railroad Company which was a prevalent industry in the city’s history.
Texarkana’s Booming Rail Industry
But do a few murals painted by local school children convince visitors that Texarkana is worth experiencing? We needed more so we continued to explore what still appeared to be a very rundown and derelict neighborhood.
An old, rusty train carriage did little to convince us otherwise and I have to say that we were becoming slightly disillusioned by what Texarkana had to offer.
The history of the rail industry in Texarkana is one that is interesting and clearly something that locals are proud to be part of. The trains carried thousands of visitors to and from Texarkana in the late 19th century and the community wants to engage visitors in this part of the state’s history.
Perhaps knowing the history of Texarkana would help promote the city, but simply driving through and perusing what is available here is certainly lacking the attention required to attract visitors.
The post office and courthouse building is unique and actually is a credit to Texarkana. I love what has been done here to make this an attractive landmark for visitors to experience and capture their moment standing in two states at the same time but the reality is after you have visited this spot, there is very little else to keep you here.
Admittedly, we didn’t take the time to sample some of the local restaurants here which may be an appealing reason to spend more time but in terms of the downtown experience, it was certainly lacking and in all honesty is comparable to many other Arkansas towns around the state. It’s a sad situation because either they don’t have the funding to promote their community or perhaps just a lack of desire to create an appealing appearance to attract visitors from all corner of the globe.
Texarkana is worth visiting to experience the Texas-Arkansas state line but after visiting here, I think it’s fair to say you will be heading back along I-30 sooner that you may have imagined!