Menard County Texas

Railroad History

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)

See Pictures

The Rio Grande-and Fort Worth

The Frisco Employes' Magazine
December 1924
pg 23


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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