Category Archives: Rail Roads

Poem — Small Town Homecoming

A month ago this small west Texas town
with a single crossroad and railroad track
looked empty and barren
except for Mary’s café and a small Czech bakery.

Faded letters on abandoned red brick buildings
hinted of better times long ago.
Wind tossed tumbleweeds danced along dusty
cobble stones, gone as soon as they came.
A spiny-back lizard scurried over crossties
and vanished behind a weathered log.

A little more than a year ago wildfires raged close by;
racing down from the ridge west of town.
Now a mosaic of white ash on gray scorched earth
mingles with black barren mesquite tree skeletons.
This near ghost town was almost lost to conflagration.

A few days ago I sped down the lonely road
past fields green from recent rains
to this little town with its six man football team
for a homecoming celebration.

Like butterflies from cocoons
cheering crowds lined streets while
proud parade participants jostled in queues
waiting for the grand marshal to wave them on.

Mounted riders waved to smiling faces and cheering friends.
Riders sat on saddles gleaming with silver Conchos
sitting tall and proud as hooves clip-clopped on cobble stone streets.

Out came motorcycles side-by-side,
boys on bicycles, tractors, golf carts, atvs and lawn mowers
and the procession inched on.
Along came cheerleaders in pickup trucks tossing beads
horded by bystanders who waved for more.
Next came, old cars and new cars, fire trucks and a stagecoach.
The procession inched on.

Last in line was the 1st Cavalry detachment,
its mounted soldiers riding two-by-two,
their captain led the way—
young men wearing wide brim hats,
blue shirts, gray trousers and black boots.

After the parade everyone moseyed
over to the town pavilion where
folks were meeting and greeting
recalling memories from long ago.

Barbeque, potatoes salad
and iced tea nourished those gathered
while talk returned to stories
of those who have passed on.

After hugs and handshakes
and encouraging words
the crowd dissolved
leaving a near empty town.

Mary’s Café siphoned off some
while kolaches at the Czech bakery drew away others.
Traffic trickled to an occasional passing car,
and the regular rumble of a passing train.

©2012 Richard L Weatherly

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Filed under Poetry, Rail Roads, Texas

Three Forks Families Blog – a Rail Line Arrives in Fort Worth, Texas

Photo by Rich Weatherly

Fort Worth welcomed the long awaited arrival steam power on July 19th, 1876. It was an occasion filled with  joyous celebration. Residents of Fort Worth had long eyed their neighbors in Eagle Ford with jealous envy.   Eagle Ford just west of Dallas had been the last stop for the Texas and Pacific Railroad.  Fort Worth was just a sleepy little town 35 miles west of Dallas, its nickname –  Panther City. As the story goes one morning, a citizen pointed to some marks on a business street and declared, “That’s where a panther slept last night.” Fort Worth leaders made determined efforts to reverse that image. A rail line would open the city to growth and economic expansion.  Getting the rail line  was a race against the clock.

According to Fort Worth records, city leaders worked with the  T&P to hire Welshman Morgan Jones to complete the line before the legislature adjourned. Otherwise, the T&P would have lost the state  land grant. Work continued day and night while  little more than a mile of track was laid per day. A holiday spirit filled the town when Jones’s line finally reached Fort Worth on time. The success made the Welshman a local hero and marked the beginning of a new era of growth for Fort Worth.

The Texas and Pacific Railway had successfully completed the journey to Fort Worth opening a new era of growth and development.  The 2010 Census showed Fort Worth’s growth outpacing that of Dallas after decades of the opposite being true.  History has a way of repeating itself.

Bibliography

City of Fort Worth historical records
http://us.mg201.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch?.partner=sbc&.gx=1&.rand=278ajofbc1pnb

Cited in part from Texas State Historical Association, Texas Day by Day http://www.tshaonline.org/day-by-day/30667

A Race Against Time: The Railroad Comes To “Pantherville”

The Texas and Pacific Railway (T&P) was being constructed westward across the state of Texas and, in anticipation of the railroad’s arrival, Fort Worth boomed.

Capt. B. B. Paddock, a Civil War veteran, had a lot to do with that “boom.” In 1872, he became editor of the Fort Worth Democrat. Boundless in his enthusiasm for Fort Worth’s future, the editor published a map as part of the paper’s masthead showing nine railroads entering Fort Worth — this at a time when the nearest line was some 30 miles away.

Editors in other towns jested about Paddock’s “tarantula map.”

In the autumn of 1872, the T&P had been built to Eagle Ford, six miles west of Dallas.

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