Background Info About the Crossett Area and Its Famous Ghost Light

The Crossett Mill in the early days

The Crossett Lumber Company established the town that bears its name in 1899. While official city histories tell of happy workers and local landowners who leapt at the chance to unload vast acreages of timberland to the Oregon-based company’s purchasing agents, accounts written closer to the period tell a different story. These writings tell of owners persuaded to sell by less than ethical means and workers paid in tokens and script worthless anywhere but the company commissary. The tents and later houses that the mill workers rented from the company did have running water and electric lights unlike most of rural Arkansas at the time. 

A small portion of the Crossett Mill today

However, the mill cut the power promptly at 9:00 PM every evening no matter the weather. Still, the Crossett mill never lacked willing workers. While the conditions in Crossett and similar mill towns sound harsh by today’s standards, they were almost dream-like compared to other areas across the post-reconstruction South.

The Rose Inn was a famous Crossett landmark until the 1970's when it was demolished

 The Missouri-Pacific line that linked Crossett with the main line at Monticello was completed in 1912. For more than seventy years the rails moved timber to the mill and forest products to the outside world. It was some time after completion that someone first noticed the light down the tracks. Tradition says it was 1919.

Crossett Lumber Engine #4 Circa 1923

Next: The Legend Behind the Light

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