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Eagleton Vista

U.S. Highway 270-59 and the Kansas City Southern Railway make their way up the valley toward the community of Rich Mountain. At times long freight trains can be seen creeping up the steep mountain grade. The Ouachita River begins its journey to the Mississippi River at the crest of this grade, flowing between the highway and the railroad. Looking straight ahead is eagle Gap, the pass between the west end of Fourche Mountain and the east end of black Fork Mountain. Rich Mountain Fire Tower, on the highest point is visible in the distance.

The east end of Black Fork Mountain was the location of the Eagleton Burn, a devastating fire in October, 1963. Started by a spark from a railroad engine on a windy day, this fire burned more than 13,000 acres of timber in two days and took four days to control.

The small community of Eagleton was established about 1896 with the arrival of the railroad. It was a thriving lumber mill town in the 1920s, with a population of 400-500. The Depression of the 1930s shut down the timber industry and the population dwindled to less than 100. Eagleton may have been named for the golden eagles that can sometimes be seen soaring in the updrafts above the saddle just west of the overlook.