Lampasas Lampasas County
Origin of Station
Spanish for lilies, named for river of same name, which was named after the Mexican town of Lampazos.
May 15, 1882
C. L. Moody Stationmaster $90/month
R. M. Quinn Clerk $65/month
D. Culver, Jr. Clerk $65/month
E. A. Talbot Watchman $45/month
J. L. Burncker Day Operator $60/month
J. L. Burncker Agent Operator $60/month
J. D. Chear Agent Operator $60/month
J. C. McAlister Porter $45/month
E. M. Pettigrew Porter $45/month
Burnckner served 25 days as day operator, and then was promoted to agent operator.
H. Spearne Engineering Dept.
Water Supply $60/month
Spearne also covered water supply duties at the Lampasas River water tank.
A. McKinnon Section Foreman $55/month
5 Laborers Section Crew $1.25/day
D. W. Hamilton Section Foreman $55/month
8 Laborers Section Crew $1.25/day
Two section crews were based at Lampasas; Section Nos. 30 and 31.
Freight Depot $1270
Section House $545 (Section No. 30)
Section House $545 (Section No. 31)
Baggage Room $210
Depot Water Tank $500 (and frame)
Depot Water House $650 (steam pump & boiler)
River Water Tank $500 (and frame)
River Water House $650 (steam pump & boiler)
The 1921 Record shows a new depot built in 1904. There was a brick end for passenger use, with a corrugated iron freight house attached. This structure was built to a custom plan, unique to the Texas system, and the original blueprints survive. These prints indicate that the only alteration to the original exterior in subsequent years was the loss of a large Santa Fe sign mounted on top of the roof ridge roll, which signage could be re-created based on the old drawings. At least one significant interior renovation was made by the company. The depot survives as the office of the Chamber of Commerce.
1946 Traffic Report
“Traffic forwarded aggregated 271 cars in 1944, and 264 in 1945, including 121 cars of eggs, 29 livestock and 28 other grain and seeds in 1944, and 64, 71 and 27 cars respectively in 1945. Received traffic aggregated 214 cars in 1944 and 260 cars in 1945 principally eggs, flour and feed, and sheep and goats.”
“The Earth” Press
Five articles about this station and about Lampasas County, see index.
The June 1934 issue contains a colorful article by Walter Justin Sherman, Chief Construction Engineer for the company between 1884 and 1888, reminiscing about early operations on the line near this station. Some of his language is racially offensive by modern standards.
Houston & Texas Central, later becoming Texas & New Orleans, being the northern terminus of a branch line of that company, having its own separate passenger depot. These facilities were acquired by the Santa Fe in 1951. Final H&TC trackage remnants were removed in 2003.
September 7, 1982, Railroad Commission authorization to discontinue agency; Docket 003469ZZAD. A centennial agency, open for more than one hundred years. The last agent was Bill Allison, with whom a transcribed interview was made.
17 Bulletins indexed between 1925 and 1951. One sample:
“When there are passengers on train 75 or train 76 destined Lampasas, and who will leave the train at Radio Junction, conductors will inform such passengers that there is a City ‘phone located in the telegraph office at Radio Junction, which may be used to contact relatives or taxicab operators in Lampasas for the purpose of securing transportation between Radio Junction and Lampasas.” (47-131; Sept. 25, 1946).
Concern of Lampasas merchants about upcoming “Texas cattle shipments to the Indian Territory” causing car shortages in the area as happened in the prior year.
Railroad Commission Records, Texas State Archives, Letterpress Book 4-2/1151 page 106, March 18, 1908. See index.
Three files, see index.
The Lampasas station was the end of the line for three years, and during this time there was much discussion as to which route the company would choose when building westward. Those speculating in west Texas land were particularly interested, as were many towns ahead of the line. The February 16, 1885 issue of the Galveston Daily News reported that bids were being opened in Galveston that day for construction of the line 25 miles westward from Lampasas. The April 14th issue reported that a delegation sent from West Texas to Galveston sought from Lampasas a routing to Colorado City (via San Saba, McCulloch, Concho, Tom Green and Mitchell Counties) rather than Brownwood, as was planned. The delegation asserted that this routing would make Galveston a wool marketing center. The May 3rd issue contains a long letter booming Lampasas and Lampasas County. The May 9th issue contains a letter critical of the Colorado City routing. The October 16th issue reports a split within the company’s board of directors regarding the choice of route west from Lampasas, but the majority voted in favor of a route west through Brownwood and Coleman. Communities along the line pledged significant sums to attract the railroad, and many donations of right-of-way were accepted.
In the 1880s the territory west of Lampasas was primarily a livestock country, but the days of trail drives north to Kansas and other markets ended in this decade. The closing of that era is illustrated in an article submitted by a Wichita Falls correspondent to the Galveston Daily News on April 15, 1885, criticizing a promotional brochure issued by the GC&SF: “A circular issued March 4 by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway, embracing a letter from Colonel McCausland, is calculated to mislead the uninformed. The letter states that a practicable cattle trail can be established from Lampasas as an outlet for southern cattle…while the fact is that this section is now fully stocked with range cattle, most of it closed in by pastures, and the balance is full of farmers and small stock men, and a trail could not be opened on this route.” The writer says cattle can be shipped to the station of Harrold on the Wichita Falls line, and move north overland from there in open country after waiting out a 60 day quarantine period.
Lampasas was a resort destination for the Santa Fe in the 1880s, when it was touted as the “Saratoga of the South” for its mineralized spring waters. In 1882 a familiar syndicate of Galvestonians, Messrs. Blum, Kempner, Goldthwaite, Sealy and Gresham, helped fund the purchase of acreage there which included one of the largest sulphur springs. On the north side of this spot, now called Hancock Springs, the investors proceeded to construct the Park Hotel in high Victorian ornate style. Said to be the largest wood frame hotel in the state when built, the structure was 331 feet long and two stories high, with 200 electrically lighted guest rooms and a large dining room. The mineralized spring water was offered hot and cold in specially constructed baths for those desiring to “take the cure”. The Santa Fe advertised the resort across its system, but within ten years the hotel was closed. The structure, located across what is now the east and west side of the 700 block of South Spring Street, burned in 1895.
The 1904 depot was located on a stub line off of the main line, curving south and east to a point one block east of the courthouse. After World War II the company shifted its passenger stop to a small wood frame structure at the junction of the stub line and the main line, called Radio Junction.
Modern day visitors to Lampasas can still partake of the sulfur rich water during summertime weekends when the city opens its old spring-fed pool at Hancock Springs. This is surely one of the finest historic pools in the state, and the city is to be commended for keeping the tradition alive.
Jonnie Ross Elsner’s book, “Relighting Lamplights” (privately published, 1974) is a fine local history of Lampasas and the surrounding county. Janet Mace Valenza’s book “Taking the Waters in Texas: Springs, Spas and the Fountain of Youth” (University of Texas Press, Austin, 2000) is an excellent historical treatment of the mineralized spring resort phenomenon of the late 1800s and early 1900s. For a more academic treatment of the water chemistry and flow rates at Hancock Springs, see the entry in Gunnar Brune’s comprehensive treatise “Springs of Texas” (cite).
The most recently published local history is “Lampasas County, Texas – Its History and Its People” (Wadsworth Publishing Co., Marceline, Mo., 1991). This book contains two very well written articles by Jeffrey Jackson at pages 21-25 on the history of the Santa Fe at Lampasas. Jackson reports that in 1897, Wells Fargo Express shipped 22,320 chickens, 8316 turkeys and 32,271 dozen eggs from Lampasas, commenting that “Santa Fe’s eastbound passenger train to Temple became known to the railroad men as the ‘Lampasas chicken wagon’” because of this traffic on the express car at the front end of the passenger train. Jackson carefully researched the Lampasas County newspaper files and one of his articles provides precise details on 12 area train wrecks between 1893 and 1972.