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October 26, 2007

“The Queen City of the Prairies”
Railroad & Real Estate Development, 1885

132. [MAP]. TEXAS AND PACIFIC RAILWAY COMPANY. Two manuscript maps relating to Fort Worth real estate and railroads, on heavy paper mounted on contemporary linen, ink, pencil, and watercolor wash. Fort Worth, 1885. Professionally executed, very handsome.

(1) “Map of Texas and Pacific Railway Lands at Fort Worth.” “Scale: 200 one inch” [lower right in very light pencil] “Copy sent E. W. Gr[—]cy 6/20/85.” Verso with several notations: Contemporary purple rubber ink stamp: “Depot Ground at Fort Worth”; old pencil notation: “Box 7 or 8”; old ink notations: “June 20 1885 F 19 B”; “A 9-11/9.” Overall measurement of sheet: 64 x 194 cm; image area: 23 x 165 cm. Light overall age toning, a few minor wrinkles and cracks to paper, a few small stains, otherwise fine.

            The map shows the central railroad facilities, including the yard, roundhouse, express office, passenger depot, and miscellaneous structures (such as an oil tank); a stock pond and stockyard are shown east of the roundhouse. To the west of the roundhouse are fifteen platted town lots, and to the north are the holdings of various land owners, street names, and a section of track going north from the yards with another depot and passenger platform attached. From the street names (e.g., Houston, Throckmorton, Taylor), it can be determined this area is in present-day downtown Fort Worth, around West Lancaster Avenue and the intersection of Interstate 35W and 30.

(2) “Fort Worth.” Verso with ink notations: “Fort Worth”; “F-19-C”; “A-9-11/9.” Overall measurement of sheet: 53 x 174 cm; image area: 23 x 156 cm. Moderate browning, right edge is wrinkled with some splitting, four vertical creases (two of which have been reinforced with modern tape), old tape stains at upper center (not affecting image).

            This map shows basically the same area as preceding, in a greater state of development but with less detail concerning the railroad facilities. The town lots to the west have been further subdivided, street names have been inserted, and more lots have been divided, extending farther west toward the Trinity River. To the east, in what was formerly a vacant area, more town lots have been platted and names given to streets. In this latter division, the clever names include Texas Street, Pacific Street, and Railway Street.

            Today the area depicted on these maps is totally different and the developments shown on them recall a now-lost Fort Worth. The Texas and Pacific Railway was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 3, 1871, as the Texas Pacific Railroad Company. Its charter extended from Marshall, Texas, to San Diego, California. Generous land grants were also given to the Company as a means of compensation for the expense of building the road. The maps here show lands in downtown Fort Worth that belonged to the railroad company and were intended to be sold for development. Despite various permutations and combinations, the railroad remained in existence until 1976, when it merged into the Missouri Pacific.

            The coming of the railroad was a critical event in Fort Worth history and rapidly transformed the city from a small Texas settlement to a thriving cow town known as “The Queen City of the Prairies.” The astonishing growth that the area experienced between 1876 and 1886 was due not only to the Texas and Pacific, but also its emergence as an important rail hub for railroads leading in all directions. When the Texas and Pacific reached Dallas, Fort Worth’s worthy citizens became so upset at seeing cattle driven past their city that they pitched in and personally financed completing the rail road to Fort Worth itself. The first train arrived on July 19, 1876. S. G. Reed points out: “Then Fort Worth threw off its swaddling clothes and soon attained the front rank in Texas as a livestock center...” (A History of the Texas Railroads... Houston: The St. Clair Publishing Co., 1941, p. 364). See also: Handbook of Texas Online: Texas and Pacific Railway. ($7500-1,500)

Sold. Hammer: $2,600.00; Price Realized: $3,055.00

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