The Texas and Pacific Railroad tracks reached the spot on the barren prairie that was soon to become Abilene about January 15, 1881. By March a tent community had developed. The railway track had bypassed Buffalo Gap and a road was before long established to Abilene. The track had reached Fort Worth July 19, 1876 and by March 12, 1881 the track reached Sweetwater.
Alonzo Albro used the telegraph lines to order groceries and supplies from Ft. Worth, to be shipped out to the rail head and when railroad inspectors and special guests were sent out, they wired ahead for Mrs. Albro to prepare a meal for them. Alonzo worked on the T&P Railroad as manger of water wells and telegraph as it was being built. While they were building the railroad they would set up home in a rented house or tent every ten miles and this might explain why the small towns west of Fort Worth like Weatherford, Milsap, Eastland are approximately ten miles apart. The Albro's settled in Buffalo Gap.
Train station, Abilene, TX
Multiple horse hitching posts in view.
Steam locomotive and water tower at Abilene, TX.
The railroads helped the cattle industry develop but the era of long cattle drives and cowboys before long came to an end. The pilot, also called cowcatcher, is the protruding structure attached to the front of the locomotive for the purpose of removing obstacles from the track.
Steam locomotives are usually classified according to the arrangement of their wheels. Thus 4.6.2 type locomotive is one having a four-wheeled front truck, 3 pairs of coupled driving wheels and a two-wheeled rear truck.
Railroads played an important part in migration and settlement of west Texas. Many communities withered on the vine when the tracks by-passed then. In 1909 the Southern Pacific Railroad by-passed Old Audra and the whole town picked up and moved two miles east to the railroad and built a new town which became Bradshaw. Guion became Old Guion and the village moved to the railroad tracks becoming Guion. In 1910, when the Santa Fe Railroad was built, View was formed. Old Lawn moved to Ovalo near the Santa Fe tracks in 1910.
Railroads cutting through Taylor County
T&P - Texas and Pacific Railroad (e to w)
A&S - Abilene & Southern Railroad (n to sw)
GC&SF - Santa Fe Railroad (se to nw)
The Abilene Southern made a round trip day from San Angelo to Abilene. There were platform stations at Winters and Tuscola. This freight train would have one engine and five or six cars and a caboose. It cost a quarter to ride in it in the 1940s. The Greyhound bus was also a quarter and kept a regular schedule. The train would stop at Bradshaw if someone wanted to alight or board.
"A man who went into Taylor County in 1878 still
took his life in his hands."
Virginia H. Taylor 1969
Grace Museum memorabilia.