AMTRAK ROUTE GUIDE #50a -- St. Louis, Missouri to San Antonio, Texas
Part 7 - Fort Worth to Temple
Mineola to Fort Worth
Temple to San Marcos


735.5 FORT WORTH Intermodal Transportation Center, 1001 Jones Street.  Elevation approximately 611.  Fort Worth is the county seat of Tarrant County, and is the 5th largest city in the State of Texas.  The city takes its name from General William Jenkins Worth, the namesake of a military post established here in 1849.  Worth had fought in both the War of 1812 and in the Florida Seminole Indian Wars.

          Fort Worth was one of 7 army posts established in 1849, after the Mexican War, with the purpose of protecting the citizens from marauding Indians.  The last Indian fight in the area took place in 1850, when Comanche Chief Jim Ned planned an assault on the town, but the soldiers at the fort found out about it, waited for the ambush, and easily defeated the Comanches.  In 1853, Fort Worth closed down.

         The city of Fort Worth became a cattle town, and is still known today as “Cowtown.”  The Chisholm Trail passed between Fort Worth and Dallas, and the area became a rest stop and re-supply center for cowboys driving their herds north to Kansas.  Along with this came an abundance of saloons and resupply centers.  By 1880, there were so many salons in town that the downtown area became known as “Hell’s Half Acre.”

          In the 1870’s, the Texas & Pacific Railroad came to Fort Worth, and by 1889, the M-K-T (“The Katy”) Railroad had also arrived.  Sine it was now possible to ship cattle directly east from Fort Worth without going to the established railheads in Kansas, the large cattle drives slowly stopped, and the Chisholm Trail was virtually abandoned by 1884.  By 1890, a large stockyard was in operation on Fort Worth’s north side.  In 1911, a village named Niles City grew around the stockyard, thanks to Boston financier Louville Veranus Niles.  Another Bostonian, Greenlief W. Simpson, purchased the stockyard and renamed it Fort Worth Stockyards.  The community of Niles City soon became “the richest little town in the world,” but was soon annexed by Fort Worth in 1922.  Meanwhile, large cattle packing companies such as Swift and Armour had opened in Fort Worth.  The Stockyards have long closed now, but the site still remains a major tourist attraction today, complete with the opening of Billy Bob’s Texas Honky-Tonk, plus numerous western clothing dealerships, art shows, restaurants, and even staged mock gunfights.

          In 1912, oil was discovered in the North Texas Oil Fields, and created more boom times for the community, and oil outranked cattle as the leading industry for many years.

          Fort Worth today remains a very “western” town, and is still known as “Cowtown”, but has diversified quite a bit from the frontier days, and is now an aviation, aerospace, defense, high tech, and educational and cultural center.  It is also the location of a Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing facility, an FBI, and an FAA facility. The City is also home of the Amon Carter Museum, which features western art by such artists as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, the Cattleman’s Museum, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, and the Water Garden, located within walking distance of the AMTRAK station.  Texas Christian University, Texas Wesleyan University, Texas A & M University School of Law, UT-Arlington Fort Worth Campus, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Tarrant County College, are all located in Fort Worth.

         Fort Worth is the home of singer Kelly Clarkson, pianist Van Cliburn, actor Larry Hagman, singer Roger Miller, NASCAR driver Johnny Rutherford, and Lee Harvey Oswald, accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

         As we depart Fort Worth, your train will back out, then briefly switch onto an E-W Union Pacific main line, then will reverse direction, and head forward for the remainder of the trip to San Antonio.

739    As we travel through southern Fort Worth, we are traversing the outcrop area of the Denton Clay of Cretaceous age.

742    Pass beneath Interstate 20.

743   On the left (southbound) is Laurel Land Memorial Park cemetery.

744    On the left (southbound) is the small Sycamore Strip Airport.

747.5-748 Pass through Crowley, named after S.H. Crowley, the master of transportation for the Gulf, Colorado, & Santa Fe Railway (predecessor to the ATSF).  The area was first settled in the 1840’s, around Deer Creek.  The town was incorporated on February 3, 1951, and changed from a town to a city on September 3, 1972.  Door-to-door mail delivery also started here in 1972.

749.5 Enter JOHNSON County, which was named after Texas Ranger Middleton Johnson, who was also a soldier and a politician. The county was founded in 1854 by Henry Briden, and the first county seat was Wardville, located on what is now Lake Pat Cleburne, a manmade impoundment of the Brazos River.  The county was create from parts of Ellis, Navarro, and Hill Counties.  In 1881, the Gulf, Colorado, & Santa Fe (GC&SF) Railway was built through Johnson Country.  The current county seat is Cleburne.

         In the left distance is Brushy Mound, which is composed of Late Cretaceous-aged Woodbine Formation, consisting of sandstone and shale.

         The city of Burleson is located adjacent to the railroad on the left (southbound), and is the largest city in Johnson County. Burleson was named after Rufus Columbus Burleson, the President of Baylor University.  The town was located on the main line of the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad (known at the M-K-T, or the “Katy”). 

750.5 On the left is Turkey Peak, also composed of Late Cretaceous-aged Woodbine Formation.

          Between here and San Antonio, we will be traveling near the boundary between the West Gulf Coastal Plain and the Central Texas Section of the Great Plains physiographic province.. The Central Texas Section is a deeply eroded, basically domal uplift, in which many of the Cretaceous-aged rocks we have been seeing, have been eroded away, thus leaving canyons and valleys composed of older sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in place of the Cretaceous sandstones and shales.  Precambrian-aged rocks are exposed in many parts of the Central Texas Section.

752-753 On the right (southbound) are more small buttes composed of Woodbine Formation.

756-757 Pass through Joshua, which was organized in 1881 and named after Joshua, from the Bible.  The community was originally called Caddo Peak, but the name was changed due to another Caddo Peak in Texas. The GC&SF Railway came through in 1881.

760    The small Blackwood Airpark is visible on the left (southbound). The low hills on the right are composed of Late Cretaceous Woodbine Formation.

761   Pass beneath Highway 174.

762-765 Pass through Cleburne.

764.5 CLEBURNE Intermodal Transportation Depot, 206 N. Border Street. Elevation approximately 764 ft. Cleburne is the county seat of Johnson County, and was named after Confederate General Patrick R. Cleburne, and was established on March 23, 1867.  The city was incorporated in 1871.  It was originally known as Camp Henderson, as it was used during the Civil War as a staging area for local soldiers heading to war.

         In 1881, the GC&SF Railroad came through the area, and in 1898-99, the Santa Fe constructed a large locomotive repair shop here, which helped almost double the population of the town.  The railroad shops closed in 1999.

         From 1911 to 1912, nine Chaparral automobiles were manufactured in Cleburne.  Cleburne is the home of Cleburne State Park, as well as the Layland Museum, which features exhibits on Native Americans and culture from the area.  The museum is located in the 1904 Carnegie Library building.  In addition, Lake Pat Cleburne, an impounded lake on the Nolan River used for municipal water supply, is located nearby.

          On May 15, 2013, Cleburne was hit by a powerful EF3 tornado that cut a mile-wide path through part of the city and damaged about 600 homes and two schools.

767    The flat rolling area we are now crossing is underlain by Cretaceous-aged Grayson Marl.

772    Pass through Rio Vista, the site of the first log cabin in Johnson County.  The area was explored often in the early 19th Century; however, in July, 1849, Henry Briden and his wife Lucinda settled in the area.  The community was originally known as Grange Hall, then Kimbell, before the GC&SF Railroad came through in 1881.  Rio Vista has always been an agricultural community, producing such crops as cotton, corn, milo, wheat, hay, and peanuts.  The historic Chisholm Trail passes near here.

774    Enter HILL County, named after Dr. George Washington Hill, the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy in the Republic of Texas.  The county was created in 1853 from a part of Navarro County, and was an agricultural area.  The county seat is Hillsboro, which was originally spelled Hillsborough.

776.5 Cross Nolan River, a tributary of the Brazos River, named after horse trader Philip Nolan.

778.5 The Nolan River is visible on the left (southbound). Across the river is the town of Blum, which was established in 1881 with the coming of the GC&SF Railroad.  The town is named after Leon Blum, a railroad official and Galveston merchant.  Prior to1880, Philip Nolan (see MP 776.5 above) captured wild mustangs in the area

780-781 On the left (southbound) is a former gravel pit dug into the Cretaceous-aged Kiamichi Formation and possible Edwards Limestone.

782.5 Enter the flood plain of the Brazos River.

783.5 Cross Brazos River and enter BOSQUE County.  The bluffs on the right (southbound) are composed of Early Cretaceous-aged Walnut Clay overlain by the Early Cretaceous-aged Edwards Limestone. Indian Lodge Resort is located atop the bluff.

         The Brazos River was originally known as the “Rió de los Brazos de Dios,” or “River of the Arms of God.”  It is a major river in the State of Texas, and begins northwest of here, and eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico south of Freeport.  The Brazos flows through Waco, College Station, and Bryan.  In this area, the Brazos River has been impounded into Lake Whitney.

         Bosque County (pronounced BOS-kee) is located primarily on the Edwards Plateau subprovince of the Great Plains.  The Edwards Plateau is composed of gentle-lying rocks of Cretaceous age, from which younger Tertiary-aged sediments which are present further north, have been eroded away,  The Edwards Plateau is a relatively flat area, and much of the exposed bedrock is limestone, which contains numerous karst features such as sinkholes throughout its extent.  The Bosque County seat is Meridian, and the county was named after the Bosque River, which flows through it.

          The county was first settled in 1825, and was officially created in February, 1854, from a part of McLennan County.

786.5 On the left (southbound) is the unincorporated settlement of Kopperl, named after Galveston banker and railroad tycoon Moritz Kopperl.  The town was founded in 1881 with the coming of the GC&SF Railroad.

          In 1960, a dying thunderstorm collapsed over Kopperl, and the resulting dry, but superheated air, descended on the town with wind gusts in excess of 75 mph, which caused the temperature to increase to almost 140º F, which was 20º above the all-time high for the State.  This storm w as known as “Satan’s Storm.”

789   Cross Mesquite Creek.

791    The low buttes on the right (southbound) are composed of Cretaceous-aged Edwards Limestone.

793-794 Pass through Morgan, named after Thomas Morgan, a Santa Fe Railroad stockholder. The town was originally known as Steele’s Creek or Steel Creek, after the creek which flows along the southern border of the town. The town began as a result of the coming of the Texas Central Railroad through the town.

794    Cross Steele Creek.

797   The low hills visible from the railroad here are composed of Cretaceous-aged Comanche Peak Limestone.

800.5 On the right (southbound) is the town of Meridian, the Bosque County seat.  Meridian was named after its location near the 98th Meridian,  The town was established on July 4,1854.  Meridian has always been an agricultural and ranching town.

         The city sponsors the Bosque Valley Arts and Crafts Festival each July and a street dance in October, as well as the annual "Top of the Hill Country" National Championship Barbecue Cook-Off and a Fair on the Square.

801.5 On the left (southbound), the prominent hill near the railroad is composed of various formations of the Cretaceous-aged Fredericksburg Group, primarily sandstone and shale.

805.5 On the right (southbound) is the North Bosque River, a tributary of the Bosque River, which flows into the Brazos River near Waco.

809   On the left in the distance (southbound) is the Clifton Municipal Airport.

          The flat area through which we are traveling is underlain by the Early Cretaceous-aged Walnut Clay.

810.5 Cross North Bosque River.

811-812 Pass through Clifton, which was founded in the winter of 1852-1853, when 4 early families settled in the vicinity.  The town was originally named Cliff Town after the surrounding limestone cliffs.  Over the years the name was altered to Clifton. In the later part of the 19th Century, the area was settled by Norwegian immigrants, and the town became known as the Norwegian Capital of Texas.

          The GC&SF Railroad came through here in 1880.  From 1890 to 1892, Clifton was the Bosque County seat.  The community was not incorporated until 1901, however.  An earlier attempt at incorporation in 1891 failed when the election results were declared invalid.  A fire on December 23, 1906, destroyed a large portion of the business district, which was eventually rebuilt.

          Clifton is home of the Bosque Arts Center and the Bosque Memorial Museum.  Clifton celebrates its Norwegian heritage each year with the Norwegian Country Christmas Tour, held the first Saturday of December.  The daylong event features demonstrations of Norwegian crafts, tours of homes and buildings harkening back to the days of the early settlers, and many other related activities.  The 1999 tour was a featured Road Trip appearing in the November 1999 issue of Texas Highways.

813-814 Hillsides on the right (southbound) are composed of Walnut Clay overlain by the more resistant Edwards Limestone.

816.5 Pass through the former town of Pendell, whose only business for most of its life was a gas station.  During the 1940’s, Pendell had a population between 20 to 25, and the town was abandoned by 1950.  We are still following the North Bosque River on the left (southbound).

818    Cross Nells Creek.

819.5 Pass beneath Texas Highway 6.  Across the river on the left (southbound), the bluffs are composed of Early Cretaceous sandstone and shale, from the Washita and Fredericksburg Groups of formations, which include the Edwards Limestone.

822-823 Pass through Valley Mills, which was named for a flour mill established on the banks of the Bosque River in 1867 by Dr. E.P. Booth and Asbury Stegall. This has always been a community of dairy farmers and ranchers.  In 1881, the GC&SF Railroad built through the area, and many merchants moved their businesses closer to the railroad.

          On February 17, 1882, a tornado hit the new townsite, destroying a large number of buildings. Nevertheless, the remaining residents from the community's original site moved across the river and rebuilt their homes.  By the end of 1882, Valley Mills had extended into McLennan County. In 1973, the town was damaged by yet another tornado, of F-5 magnitude.

822.5 Enter McLENNAN County.  named after Neil McLennan, an early settler,  The county was established on January 22, 1850, and created form Milam County.  The county seat is Waco, which was founded as an outpost for the Texas Rangers.  Most of the settlers who came to the county before the Civil War were Americans of English, Scottish, and Irish descent who moved from other parts of Texas or from the southern United States.  Many of them were well-educated, well-to-do people with money to invest in the establishment of new towns, schools, and churches.

         During World War I, McLennan County was home to at least one military airfield, Rich Field.  In the aftermath of World War I, racial violence disrupted county life, culminating in two major Ku Klux Klan marches and the public lynching of numerous black citizens.

         The hills adjacent to the railroad are composed of shale and limestone from the Lower Cretaceous-aged Fredericksburg and Washita Groups.

825   Bedrock in this area consists of the Lower Cretaceous-aged Paw Paw and Weno Formations.

825.5 Cross Hog Creek.

827.5 The slightly higher areas adjacent to the railroad are underlain by Lower Cretaceous-aged Main Street Limestone.

830    Cross Middle Bosque River. Look for exposures of Edwards Limestone along the riverbed.

831-832 Pass through Crawford, best known as the home of former President George W. Bush, who established his “Western White House” here, and who still spends time near here, at his Prairie Chapel Ranch. Bush also served as Governor of Texas from 1995 through 2000.  The town of Crawford was named after Nelson Crawford, who graded the river crossing here.  The area was first settled in the 1850’s in the vicinity of Tonk Crossing of the Middle Bosque River, In 1881, the GC&SF Railway came through the area.  Many of today’s citizens of Crawford work in either Waco or McGregor.

838   Mc GREGOR station, 1 Amtrak Boulevard.  Elevation approximately 711.  McGregor is the AMTRAK station stop for Waco, located approximately 20 miles from here.  The city is named after Dr. Gregor Carmichael McGregor, who gave the GC&SF Railway the right-of-way to cross his land.  The town was established in 1882 at the intersection of the GC&SF Railway and the Texas & St. Louis Railway, and the town was originally known as McGregor Springs.  In 1942, the U.S. Army built the Bluebonnet Ordnance Plant on 18,000 acres near here.  At the end of World War II, the plant closed; however, by the late 1950’s the plant was in production again, this time for the manufacture of rocket engines, solid propellants, and gas generators by SpaceX, which was purchased from the now defunct Beal Aerospace.  Much of the rest of the land was either sold to individuals or given to Texas A&M University for the development of an experimental farm and research center.

843   The low hills in the distance on the left (southbound) are composed of Late Cretaceous Eagle Ford and Woodbine Formations, which are composed primarily of shale and sandstone.

847.5-849 Pass through Moody, which was established in 1881 when the GC&SF Railroad came through here.  The city is named after William Lewis Moody, a director of the railroad.  The city was incorporated n 1901.

851   Enter BELL County, which was founded in 1850 and named after Peter Hansborough Bell, the third Governor of Texas (1849-1853). The county seat is Belton.

854    The low hills adjacent to the railroad are underlain by Lower Cretaceous-aged Eagle Ford and Woodbine Formations.

856    Pass through Pendleton, formerly known as Pendletonville. The town was named after George C. Pendleton, a local merchant and a future Lieutenant Governor of Texas.  In the early 1880’s, the railroad came through here.  In 1904, the name of the town was changed to Pendleton.  Beginning in the 1920’s, the population of the town began to decline.

857    At approximately this point, the railroad line crosses a normal fault, in which Late Cretaceous-aged Austin Chalk underlies the surface on the south side of the fault, which is the upthrown side.  Rocks beneath the surface on the north side of the fault are Woodbine Formation.  The fault scarp is not visible from the train.

860   Pass beneath Highway 363, the H.K. Dodgen Loop, and enter the Temple metropolitan area.

         Pass beneath Interstate 35.

863.5 TEMPLE station, 315 West Avenue B.  Elevation approximately 703 ft.  The station also houses the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum, and next to the depot is a former depot which is now home to the Central Texas Area Model Railroaders.  Inside the depot is a model train layout which is open to the public on the first and fourth Saturday of each month.

         Temple was founded as a railroad town in 1881, by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad.  It was incorporated in 1882.  The town was named after a Santa Fe Railroad official, Bernard Moore Temple, who was a civil engineer and former surveyor with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company.  Temple was a town of shacks and tents with a large number of saloons and tough characters found in the old West.  Locally, it was nicknamed Tanglefoot, because some citizens found that the combination of muddy streets and liquor made walking through the town challenging.

          Temple is located near Fort Hood, and within the city are several military and other hospitals.  The Santa Fe Hospital was established in Temple in 1891, King's Daughters Hospital in 1897, and Scott and White Hospital in 1904, making Temple one of the leading medical centers in the Southwest.  Because of its railroad interchange and its medical facilities, it became the largest city in the county. Temple is also known as the “wildflower capital of Texas.”

               Shortly after incorporation, the Temple Academy was founded in 1884.  Temple is also home to one of two locations of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.  It operates in conjunction with the Scott & White Memorial Hospital and the Olin Teague Veterans' Hospital Center.