The Ava-Mansfield Train
It wasn't just traveling passengers that the trains carried between Ava and Mansfield and from Mansfield on to Springfield and beyond. It was also the business people who started coming to Ava in increasing numbers because of all the freight activity going on there. There were salesmen and suppliers and buyers and investors - all coming and going about their business with the tomato canneries and logging operations in the area.
Tomatoes and Railroad Ties
As soon as the railroad connected Ava and Mansfield, all the people with canned tomatoes and railroad ties (the main product from the Ozarks forests at that time) found it more convenient to ship them from Ava, than go overland by different routes, as they had been doing. The railroad even encouraged more people to grow tomatoes and log the forests, because this new transportation option made it easier and less expensive to take those goods to markets outside the Ozarks.
1898 map showing routes and post offices of the Railway Mail Service in this area. Designed by Chicago railway mail clerk Frank H. Galbraith to help employees of the Railway Mail Service quickly locate counties and post offices. Railway postal workers numbered over 6,000 and traveled over a million miles a year on the rails sorting mail.
This is the Web site of the Bryant Watershed
Education Project, based in West Plains, Missouri. Our site is a toolkit
for exploring the Bryant Creek, North Fork, Eleven Point and Upper
Spring watersheds in the southern Missouri Ozarks.