Frisco Train Depot in Dublin
By Frank Chamberlain
In 1879, the Texas Central Railroad ( a branch of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas R.R., a.k.a. “Katy”) became the first company to lay rails in the Erath area. It originally passed through Mt. Airy, a tiny community a few miles northwest of Dublin. This railroad proved so important to local commerce that the entire town of Old Dublin was moved to its present location, which was near the tracks. Two more railroads were established in the Dublin area, which turned the town into a very important center of trade for the county. The Ft. Worth & Rio Grande (a.k.a. “Frisco”) laid a track in 1881, and the Wichita Falls & Southern (a.k.a. “Jake Hammon”) was laid in 1920 as a response to the oil boom in nearby Ranger and Desdemona. The presence of these three railroads caused Dublin to become one of the largest cities in Erath County during the early twentieth century [Westphal 88].
The Frisco Depot served the Ft. Worth & Rio Grande railroad (later named the Santa Fe railroad and depot). It was a popular place for people to gather and watch the passengers load and unload. The depot was severely damaged in 1972, as a major derailment occurred. The train crashed into the building, causing major destruction and forcing officials to level this nearly ninety-year-old depot soon thereafter [Dublin Progress 12/28/1927 p.1].
Dublin was once one of the largest towns in Erath County, due largely to the railroads passing through the area. At one point, the people of Dublin called for an election in order to make the town the county seat of Erath. Although this initiative did not pass, the town remained an important center of commerce. The town was a major cotton-buying center in the early 1900s. On trade days, the streets would be packed with wagons full of the commodity. The Ranger-Desdemona oil boom of the 1920s enabled the town to reach a high of 3,299 people during these peak years. Dublin was the only town in Erath County with a direct line of track to these oilfields. The town enjoyed tremendous prosperity until the decline of the boom in Desdemona. The cotton trade also went into steady decline throughout the early half of the century, which further contributed to the decline of Dublin as a commercial mecca [Autin 85; Stephenville Empire-Tribune 9/19/1983].
Auten, M.L. “A History Of Erath County”. Unpublished M.A. thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1951.
“Railroads were the key to Dublin’s boom years”, Stephenville Empire-Tribune, September 19, 1982.
“Train Derails Here; Depot Wrecked”, Dublin Progress, December 28, 1972.
Westphal, Dorothy V. Dunn. Covered Wagons Keep on Rollin’, Dublin, TX.