Long-time Strawn residents fondly recall memories of the Texas and Pacific depot, such as riding the passenger trains to other cities, picking up freight deliveries, shipping cattle, and riding bikes on the depot ramp.  Much of Strawn’s early history centers around the railroad.  Stephen Bethel Strawn, for whom the city of Strawn was named, laid off his property for the new town in 1879-1880.  According to historical accounts, Mr. Strawn gave every other block to the Texas & Pacific Railroad to encourage the company to bring their rails through the new settlement. James N. Stuart, who first settled in the North Fork area (later Strawn) and ranched with the Strawn family, was also instrumental in bringing the railroad to the area by leasing the railroad rights for practically nothing (some said $1 or $2). Cattle pins were built on the south side of the rails at the end of the old Caddo Road, which became known as the Strawn stop.  J. N. Stuart paid $2,000 to build the depot.  The legal agreement that Mr. and Mrs. Stuart drew up with Texas and Pacific Railroad contained a clause stipulating that they would always maintain a depot in Strawn as long as there was a railroad through the town.      

After the Texas and Pacific Railway Company rolled into Strawn on July 4, 1880, the town began to develop. The coming of the railroad brought supplies of lumber, feed, and other essential products, thus encouraging new business ventures.  The railroad also brought in immigrants to work in the coal mines and thriving coal industry in the area, further spurring the growth of Strawn.

In May 1976, long-time railroad depot agent Jim Chesnut ended 27 years as the Strawn depot agent when Texas and Pacific Railroad decided to close the depot.  Interviewed by the Strawn Reporter News in May 1976, Chesnut recalled the movement of men and materials on the Texas and Pacific line during World War II.  He and other area depot agents would often work through the night to relay instructions to the 500-passenger troop and supply trains. Chesnut also recalled the decline of passenger trains, noting that passenger service to Strawn ended sometime during the 1950’s.  Other former depot agents included Bud Tucker and David L. Lindsay (grandfather of Strawn resident Shirley Lindsay).                   

The former T & P train depot is a restoration project by the Strawn Historical Museum Association.  Major repairs to the exterior were completed in 2015-2016.  Plans are to begin restoring the inside and eventually use the depot as an extension to the current museum.  The Museum Board gratefully acknowledges grants received from The Brazos Foundation of Palo Pinto County to help with the cost of moving the depot and beginning renovations, donations from Palo Pinto County Historical Commission, along with donations from many others.

If anyone has pictures, articles, or information about the depot, please send to Box 179, Strawn, TX 76475; email strawnmuseum@gmail.com, or bring to the Museum when open on Friday (10-3) or Saturday (9-3).  Donations to help with restoration can be mailed to Box 179.  

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Palo Pinto Facts

The first jail in Mineral Wells was burned down by visiting cowboys during their over-enthusiastic Fourth of July celebrations.