Texarkana ‘Blast From Past’ Cotton Belt Hospital
When I was kid growing up in Texarkana you couldn't help but notice a domed steeple in the distance when driving over the Arkansas Viaduct heading into College Hill. Do you remember? That building was known as the Cotton Belt Hospital.
I remember when my father used to take me and my brother there and drive through the circle driveway that went around the building for a spectacular view. As most of you know, that's probably one of the highest hills in the city. The hospital had well maintained park like grounds, from what I remember. Texarkana used to have some really nice old buildings back in the day it's really ashamed they had to be torn down.
I found in my research, the railroad purchased a 37-acre tract of land in the College Hill area on the Arkansas side of town, and the hospital was built in 1904, at a cost of approximately $125,000.
The hospital system was reorganized on May 1, 1923, under a trustee form of management to give employees a voice in its operation and control. In 1927 a nurses' home was built on the grounds and the hospital was completely remodeled at a total cost of $170,000.
From what I recall the hospital eventually shut its doors and was vacant for awhile before another business went in there for a few more years. I want to say, it was like some sort of rehab treatment center, but I'm not completely sure. The building was eventually torn down in the 1970s but the famous dome that sat on top of the hospital was saved, restored, and moved to what is now Bobby Ferguson Park. The domed steeple was made into an outdoor gazebo overlooking the lake at the park that is now used to hold picnics, weddings and other special events.
Long gone are the days of the Cotton Belt Hospital but still being able to see the top of the building is a constant reminder of Texarkana's historical past. Gone but not forgotten!
Here's what several of y'all said about remembering the hospital on my Facebook page.