This site documents activities of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Company (G.C.&S.F.), a Texas corporation. The author is preparing a history of the company beginning with its charter in 1873 and ending with its termination in 1965, when it was merged with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company (A.T.&S.F.), its parent corporation since 1886. The book will depict the railroad from the perspective of those who were personally involved, both as employees and as shippers or travelers. The account will include material from transcribed interviews with retirees and from their letters and other written recollections.
The website has been established in an effort to attract more correspondence from G.C.&S.F. retirees or descendants of employees with reminiscences about their work, and/or photographs taken "on the job". Nearly 2000 photographs have already been collected for this project, and some 50 interviews transcribed. The interview subjects responded to advertisements placed in the newspapers of various junction points along the line. The objective of the book will be to present a social history, a personal history, somewhat in the voices of the participants. What did these individuals think, what did they dream, what did they anguish about? Their own words illustrate these thoughts well, as for instance in a 1907 complaint letter to the Railroad Commission regarding the refusal of the G.C.&S.F. to place a telegraph operator at its Alta Loma station, the petitioner stating ".we don't propose to live in a grave yard, before we are dead. This is a big world and a man who had any 'get up' about him won't stay long in a place that the railroad tries to kill.". The tearful recollections of locomotive engineers after tragic collisions with automobiles are more sobering, as are the memories of station agents at isolated depots who helplessly confronted the loss of their positions and community status as the first transcontinental jet aircraft streaked overhead in the late 1950s. Transcripts of Railroad Commission and Interstate Commerce Commission hearings regarding loss of passenger and freight service are quite revealing of sentiments regarding the significance of the railroad to the communities it served, but was intent on leaving when the service became unprofitable. The court reporters dutifully described some very colorful language.
A surprising amount of archival information remains detailing activities of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad in Texas, but it is widely scattered and some is privately held. Elsewhere at this site is a summary of the major known locations of surviving company records, and a statement of the breadth of the various record series. The author has been at work on this project since the beginning of the 1990s, but the arrival of three children during that decade and professional demands imposed by the practice of law have considerably slowed progress on the project, so that completion of the manuscript yet remains some years in the future. Still there has been steady progress, with partial publication in the form of articles as well as papers presented to historical associations. Contributions of reminiscences or photographs will be acknowledged on this website and in the book that is in preparation. For correspondence, contact:
Osborn & Griffith
515 Congress Avenue Suite 2450
Austin, Texas 78701