Railroads                 

 

 

 

Development of Brown county was accelerated in the 1890s and early 1900s when two railroads built tracks into the area, providing a stimulus to area farmers and helping maintain an atmosphere favorable to experiments in crop diversification. The Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway reached the county in 1892; the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe line built into Brownwood in 1895, and by 1903 had extended its tracks to Menard. The new railroad connections helped Brownwood to prosper, since the absence of railroad facilities in southern Eastland and Callahan counties led farmers from those areas to Brownwood to do their marketing. From the Handbook of Texas Online.

Sante Fe Station and Eating House, Brownwood click to enlarge

Brownwood Harvey House, 600 Washington St., Brownwood. Built in 1914 immediately east of the Brownwood Santa Fe Railroad Depot, this was one of a series of restaurants operated along the Santa Fe line by the Fred Harvey Company, product of railroad agent Fred Harvey's idea to provide superior food and lodging for travelers. The Harvey House was popular from its opening day. The restaurant and hotel closed in 1937, but reopened to serve military personnel when Camp Bowie was established in World War II. It closed permanently in 1945 as passenger railroad travel declined in the era of prosperity following the war. Typical of railroad structures built in the southwest during this period by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, the structure features elements of the Spanish Mission Revival style with its red tile hipped roof and decorative brackets. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1999

Sante Fe Depot, Brownwood, early 1900s click to enlarge

Sante Fe Depot, Brownwood, early 1900s click to enlarge

Brownwood Sante Fe Passenger Depot, on Washington Ave., between E. Depot and E. Adams streets, Brownwood.  Railroad construction began in Brown County in 1884, and the first train arrived in Brownwood in 1885. This depot was designed by Jarvis Hunt of Chicago and built in 1909 by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Company. It accommodated traffic from a major rail junction between California and Texas and led to increased regional development. Passenger train usage peaked during World War II as 15 trains came through here daily. Architectural features include solid red brick construction with stucco finish, broad round arches, a 7-bay primary facade and a hipped red tile roof. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1996

More on the Sante Fe Depot

Harvey House Photos at Depot
Brownwood North And South Railroad from the Handbook of Texas Online
Fort Worth and Rio Grande Railway Company from the Handbook of Texas Online