As early as the 1800s, America moved its people, packages and mail across the continent by rail. Shortly after the War Between the States, the builders of the Texas & Pacific Railroad had graded 15 miles of road between Jefferson and Marshall, Texas. They were most anxious because the steam engine had not arrived at Jefferson on the steamboat coming up Caddo Lake, and their Charter would be canceled if they weren’t in operation by the date specified.

They noted the Charter did not specify what kind of “motive” power was to be used. In desperation, management hooked a yoke of oxen to a cart and hired a man to drive it over the right of way to Marshall.

So with the crack of a whip, the oxen lumbered down the right of way, and the Texas & Pacific Railroad was born.

As J. Gould’s Texas & Pacific neared Dallas, the City fathers had the Texas Legislature specify in a bill that the Texas & Pacific would cross the Houston and Texas Central Railroad within one mile of Browder Springs. The T&P tracks ran down what’s now Pacific Avenue and arrived in Dallas just prior to the Panic of 1873, when Dallas had a population of about 10,000.

On December 15, 1881, the MKT Railroad secured a back door entry into Dallas by buying $780,000 in 6 percent gold bonds from Gould, the financier of the T&P strip of the tract toward Denton.

Subsequently, nine railroads served Dallas. A former longtime employee of the Katy Railroad said: “In my opinion, the vision of the ‘City Fathers,’ plus transportation, largely caused Dallas to grow to what it is today.”


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