The railroad played a significant role for McNeil, AR. In 1879,
work began on the St. Louis Southwestern Railway. It was completed in
1886 and the town of McNeil was also incorporated.
In 1898, the Louisiana and
Northwestern railway came to town. Because there were few cars and no highways,
railroads became the most important means of travel. As a
transportation crossroads, the city had many business visitors who stopped in
town to do business in Magnolia and other surrounding areas. Due to this, several hotels were built
in town. As early as 1917, military recruits left for World War I by means of
the railroad. Trains still rumble through the city today, carrying material
from gravel to automobiles. The town holds an annual event called Festival on
the Rails to celebrate the history of the railroad here. The festival site is in
downtown McNeil near the railroad tracks.
The town of McNeil is also home to Logoly State Park, the state's first environmentally-friendly state park. Contact the park for more information about their environmental education programs.