Many people know Randall Houp as the ghost bridge hunter. He has trekked across Arkansas looking for bridges and reminders of bridges often walking miles to track them down.
Not only does he hunt bridges down but he helps save them. Driving through Danville you may have noticed the bridge that sits in the city park. That bridge is there because of the hard work of Houp.
Not long while he was in Southwest Arkansas Houp was looking for a railroad bridge and what he found instead was his newest book, “The Arkansas Ghost Train.” He found the traces of a railroad that began in Shawmut and ended in Gaysonia.
Following the tracks Houp found remnants of the old tracks, landmarks and ghost towns like Gaysonia in Clark County. Gaysonia shipped lumber that was harvested from the surrounding area and the first flask of cinnabar, a mineral used in jewelry, was shipped from there. Houp walked through all types to terrain even though some of the tracks had been removed and there wasn’t a trace left. Some of the track has been turned into private property.
The railroad ran through Gurden, home to the “Gurden Light,” According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, the Gurdon Light is a mysterious floating light above the railroad tracks near which was first sighted during the 1930s. Many theories and stories exist to explain the light, including one which connects events around the 1931 murder of William McClain, a railroad worker.
At one time a leg of the railroad was planned to go from Norman to Greenwood. The furniture factories need the lumber that came from Norman. That part of the railroad was never built.
Houp has done extensive research on the railroad and the communities that are close to the railroad. To buy a copy of Houp’s books contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.