BALLINGER      Runnels County                  MP 36        

Origin of Station Name

Named by the railway company for William Pitt Ballinger, prominent Galveston attorney and one of the original G.C.&S.F. stockholders.

Agency Opened

August 1, 1886

1886 Personnel

Station Staff

R. V. LeGrand                Stationmaster           $110/mo.

B. W. Bailey                   Cashier                    $85

J. E. Smith                      Cashier                    $85

M. N. Gambrell              Clerk                       $75

J. B. LeGrand                 Clerk                       $70

T. J. Carlton                   Watchman               $50

W. C. Hudgins                Operator                 $60

J. E. Smith                      Agent Operator       $50

G. E. Ruff                       Agent Operator       $50

C. Norton                      Porter                      $40

R. C. Royalty                  Porter                      $40

Andrew Love                 Porter                      $40

Mark Coleman               Porter                      $40

J. E. Smith was promoted to Cashier during September 1886, replacing B. W. Bailey.   Rugg was then promoted to Smith’s position.   Messrs. Norton and Coleman each worked half the month.

Other Employees

Tim Stocks                     Car Inspector          $54.25

S. B. Davis                     Water Supply          $45

R. S. Kinchloe                Engine Hostler         $70

Gen. Houser                   Engine Hostler         $70

James Holden                 Engine Wiper           $1.75/day

J. M. Sexton                   Coal Heaver            $1.75/day

J. P. Moran                    Section Foreman     $55

Supervising 12 laborers @$1.25/day, and providing board for the group at $160.90 for the month.

Laborers:   Mike Costello, Charles Rogers, Mike Smith, John Marshall, William Donahoe, Tom Clifford, William Garms, G. Blevens, George Traweek, William Eaton, George Craddock, and E.A. Pearce.

Judging by the surnames of employees at this station, it was a distinctly English cast; unlike other stations no Irish names are seen here.   This was the end of the line at the time of the September 1886 payroll ledger, and it would remain the terminus for two years, until construction westward to San Angelo.

1890 Insured Structures

Depot                             $1480

Freight Depot                 $1725

Section House

Round House                  $2560

Water Tank/Frame         $540

Water House,

Steam Pump & Boiler     $635

1921 Depot(s)

Passenger depot             35’7” x 146’7”

Limestone with tile roof, built 1910

Freight depot                  24’ x 177’

Wood frame, drop siding, standard plan, built 1904

1946 Traffic Report

Traffic forwarded aggregated 546 cars in 1944, and 494 in 1945, including 311 cars of sand and gravel, 57 other grain, and 41 meal and hulls plus 12460 bales of cotton in 1944, and 137 other grain, 134 sand and gravel and 62 livestock plus 20155 bales of cotton in 1945.   Received traffic aggregated 450 cars in 1944 and 62 cars in 1945, principally oil and gasoline, soy beans and cotton.

“The Earth” Press Coverage

Two references, one to absence of boll weevil in December 1910 issue, another to production of poultry and eggs in July 1922 issue.   Photographs with each article.

Employee Magazine Coverage

No coverage

Junction Other Lines

Ballinger was also the southern terminus of the Abilene & Southern Ry.

Agency Closed

Unknown, survived at least to 1970s.   The Santa Fe’s passenger service through Ballinger would last until June of 1965.   The depot agent in 1965 was R. H. Smith.

Photographic Images

Third passenger depot, 1974. Photographer unknown. Collection of H.D. Conner.

Second passeneger depot built 1904. Converted to frieght depot in 1910, pictured here in 1974, out of service. Photographer unknown. Collection of H.D. Conner.

Operating Bulletins

Four bulletins.   Sample:   “Northbound freight trains, San Angelo District, in taking water at Ballinger will cut off engine south of first street crossing south of freight depot and run engine to crane for water.   This to avoid excessive blocking of two of the main streets of Ballinger.”   (April 16, 1948)

Railroad Commission Complaints

Two complaints.   One filed in 1904 regards delay in rebuilding of depot after fire.   This leads to conclusion that the 1904 freight depot referenced above (which was a standard combination freight and passenger depot) was the second passenger depot at Ballinger, built after the referenced fire, making the limestone depot the third passenger depot.

Legal Department Files

One file, regarding repaving of city streets in 1938.


     This townsite was platted by the Santa Fe, which designed a double-sized central square for a courthouse and placed its depot grounds a little uphill to the north.   On June 7, 1886 the Dallas Morning News carried an advertisement of a town lot auction to be conducted by the railroad on June 29 th, promising that “Ballinger, as a western terminus of the Santa Fe, will at once assume the importance of its other terminal points, Fort Worth and Dallas.”   The lot sale commenced at 10:00 a.m. and the first lot was sold to A. B. Parrish, who paid the highest price ($1070) because he had a saloon already located on the property.   The First National Bank of Ballinger was organized in a Santa Fe baggage car that afternoon.   At its auction the Santa Fe sold about half of the lots within the two square mile area it had designated for the city limits.   Remaining lots were later offered free of charge to anyone who would move a home from nearby Runnells City.   Free lots were also offered to any church which would erect a building.     

     This is one of the very few GC&SF communities which received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for the construction of a library.   Among the famous sons of Ballinger who took inspiration from that facility was David Guion, composer of “Home on the Range”.

Source:   Runnels Is My County, Charlsie Poe, The Naylor Company, 1970.