The Cotton Belt Symposium

Monday, April 16, 2007
10:00am - 3:00pm
at Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, Texas

(Rescheduled from November 30, 2006, due to ice storm.)

Ed Cooper photo | Robert McFatridge engineer

An event to document and preserve the legacy of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway.

A special invitation is extended to all former and current employees and their families to come and share recollections of their railroad days.  Everyone is encouraged to bring and display historical photos depicting people, places, equipment, and rail operations to display.  With permission, we would appreciate the opportunity to scan images for historic preservation.  The event will recorded on videotape for historical documentation and preservation.

Anyone interested in the history of railroading in Commerce, Northeast Texas, or system wide on the Cotton Belt is welcome.

Authors and historians will be present to share information regarding their efforts to document the Cotton Belt and gather information for current and upcoming projects.  A slideshow of Cotton Belt photos from the Ed Cooper, Terry A. Kirkland, and Standefer Family Collections will be presented.


9:30am-10:00am    Registration and renewing old acquaintances

Morning Session...

Welcome and presentations

Jason Lee Davis, PhD
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership
Texas A&M University-Commerce



Madeline Justice, EdD
Head, Department of Educational Leadership
Texas A&M University-Commerce


Welcome from
Texas A&M University-Commerce

Gregory A. Mitchell, MLS
Director of Libraries
Texas A&M University-Commerce


Welcome from the
James G. Gee Library

Otha Spencer, PhD
Commerce, Texas
- The history of the Cotton Belt in Commerce from
the perspective of the railroad men and their families.
Bill B. Bailey
Vice President/Chief Mechanical Officer Loco. 819
Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
- Report on the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society
and the ST.L.S-W. Steam Engine #819
Hon. Paul Lovier
Chair, Northeast Texas Rural Rail District
County Judge, Franklin County, Texas
- Status of the former SSW Dallas and Commerce
subdivisions now owned by the NETEX Rail District
Wayne Defebaugh
President/Operations, Blacklands Railroad
Sulphur Springs, Texas
- Status of operations on the
Blacklands Railroad

James Conrad, PhD
Head of Special Collections, Gee Library
Texas A&M University-Commerce


Resources for
Cotton Belt Research

Ed Cooper
Crestwood, Kentucky
- Cotton Belt slideshow from the Ed Cooper, Terry Kirkland, and
Standefer Family Collections and report on research for
biography of Cotton Belt Engineer C. W. “Red” Standefer

(On your own.  Dining facilities located in Student Center)

Afternoon Session...


Moderator:  Murrel Hogue, Amtrak
Moderated discussion of people, places, and events associated with the Cotton Belt Railway.
Audience participation is encouraged.  Everyone is welcome to contribute stories and recollections.

Historical Railroad Artifacts displayed by...

Arkansas Railroad Museum
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Commerce Public Library
Commerce, Texas
Gee Library Special Collections
TAMU-Commerce, Commerce, Texas

Hosted by...

The TAMU-Commerce Department of Educational Leadership and the James G. Gee Library Special Collections.

Dr. Jason Lee Davis
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Educational Leadership, TAMU-Commerce

Dr. Jim Conrad
Head of Special Collections, TAMU-Commerce

Dr. Harley Davis
former Cotton Belt fireman


The Heritage Room in the
Sam Rayburn Memorial Student Center
(#22 on map)
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Commerce, Texas 75429
Primary parking in front of Student Center in Lot A and along University Drive.
Parking also available on east side of Student Center on Neal St. and Lot L

How to get here...

Directions to Commerce
Campus Map

Commerce Union Depot, photo courtesy of Commerce Public Library, used with permission.

Commerce Roundhouse, circa 1912, photo courtesy of Commerce Public Library, used with permission.

Site URL:

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WebMaster: Jason Lee Davis | Page hosted by TAMU-Commerce | Last update: August 19, 2013