The Railroad Comes To Town
In 1910 Menardville residents offered the Fort Worth and
Rio Grande Railroad Company several incentives to extend its track to
their town: a right-of-way, the land for stock pens and depot, and $10,000
to build the depot. The track was completed, and in February 1911 the
first train arrived. The railroad made outside markets easier to reach,
and the town of Menard (as it was now called) boomed; by 1914 its reported
population was 1,000. Another town, Callan, began as a result of the railroad's
coming to Menard County; it was successful for a few years, but declined
as other transportation methods improved. (source: Handbook
of Texas Online)
Seeking a rail line to speed marketing of their livestock,
residents of this area in 1909 asked the Ft. Worth & Rio Grande Railroad,
a branch of the Frisco System, to extend track from Brady (40 miles northeast)
to Menardville. Ranchers donated right of way, while townspeople erected
this depot and shortened the town's name to "Menard". Celebrations
marked the arrival of the first train, Feb. 10, 1911, and completion of
this mission revival station, July 4, 1911. The Santa Fe system later
acquired the line. After rail service ended in 1972, this building became
a historical museum.(source: Texas History Commission)
The Rio Grande-and Fort Worth
By BEN B. LEWIS
The Frisco Employes' Magazine
This article is supposed to be written on the subject of
"Fort Worth," and by the left hind leg of Conductor Billie Moore's
Krazy Kat, it is going to be written on the subject of "Fort Worth."
But we start at Menard, Texas, 227 miles southwest, and progress by easy
and interesting stages 227 miles northeast.
What I mean is, Fort Worth is more than a city-it is a part of West Texas;
an integral, component part, and the Frisco Railway is a strong factor
in welding this part to the other parts.
It was back In 1911 when the Frisco built from Brady to Menard. Prior
to that time, tbe cattlemen drove their herd to Brady for shipment; bringing
them in from McCulloch County, Mason County, Kimble, Sutton, Edwards,
Crockett, Schleicher, Tom Green, Concho, San Saba, Mills and Menard Counties.
From the south, west and southwest they came in great numbers. At times,
as many as twenty-five or thirty thousand head would be concentrated at
Brady, raising a dust that clouded the sun, and a din that hurt the eardrums.
The main cattle trail extended from below Sonora, through Menard to Brady.
Along this trail, and at certain other strategic points, the Frisco establlshed
(or caused to be established) ten "traps," consisting of blocks
of land, each 640 acres in area, fenced, to accommodate the herds during
the drives, and to help relieve congestion at the loading station.
After the Frisco built to Menard, the "traps" between there
and Brady were no longer needed, but many of our rancher friends and patrons
are still using the "traps" from Sonora to Menard, because livestock
is today being driven overland from surrounding counties to the railhead
at Menard. One of these "traps" adjoins the townsite of Menard,
and is not only a convenient camp for the animals, but a section of it
is used as a picnic ground by Menard citizens and visitors. It is almost
covered by tall pecan trees. whose branches have shaded many a famous
barbecue. The Texas Rangers, immortalized in song and story, have held
their annual reunions there on several occasions; and never a fourth of
July passes but what that "trap" is a scene of patriotic merrymaking.
Seven miles almost due west of Menard is another "trap," and
about 22 miles southwest, another. This is at Fort McIiavett, where Theodore
Roosevelt was stationed in the early days of his military career. Southwest
of Fort McKavett there are other "traps," the furthermost one
being a few miles south of Sonora. In all, seven "traps" are
in use today, vividly illustrating a practical, picturesque "service"
on the part of the Frisco.
Menard's principal industry is the raising of cattle, horses, sheep and
goats, but she also produces wool, mohair, turkeys and pecans in commercial
quantities. The San Saba river runs through the town, as does the irrigation
ditch of the Menard Irrigation Company; and fruits and vegetables are
grown in abundant variety for home consumption. Deer, wild turkey, bass
and crappie are found in fascinating numbers in Menard and surrounding
counties, as can be testlfied by hundreds of hunters and fishermen.
Menard has several churches and schools, and her people are sturdy, progressive
and ambitious. Some of them are numbered among the best known and most
prosperous stockmen in the state.
Callan, 215 miles from Fort Worth, is a small, non-agency station, but
is interesting to Frisco folks for two outstanding reasons. First, it
is the highest point on the entire Frisco System, not even excepting the
celebrated Ozarks. Second, it is at this point that the Frisco Railway
obtains the cheapest water on the entire System-and it is good water.
On the top of a hill. on the right-of-way, where they dug on advice of
an old time cattleman, after exhausting all their own theories, they struck
water at a denth of twenty feet. Three windmills provide the power, and
a gravity water line fills the water tank at the bottom of the hill. (......cut)
NOTE: While I strive for accuracy in
all transcriptions, please be advised that typing errors may be present.
I would suggest you always verify my online information with a copy of
the actual record.
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