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Montague County TX
Montague County

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Bowie Hotels


Montague County, Central Texas North

33° 33' 36" N, 97° 50' 40" W (33.56, -97.844444)

Highway 81, Just E of Highway 287
15 Miles SW of Montague the county seat
29 Miles SE of Henrietta
34 Miles NE of Jacksboro
28 Miles NW of Decatur
ZIP code 76230
Area code 940
Population: 5,114 Est. (2019)
5,218 (2010) 5,219 (2000) 4,990 (1990)

Book Hotel Here › Bowie Hotels

Downtown Bowie Texas
Downtown Bowie
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007

History in a Pecan Shell

Settled in the early 1860s, the town, like many in Texas, didn’t really get started until the arrival of the railroad. In Bowie’s case the year was 1882 and the railroad was the Fort Worth and Denver. In August of that year a townsite was laid out and a post office applied for. Bowie almost instantly became the most important market and banking center between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls.

The population reached 1,000 by 1885 and eight years later the town got its second railroad, the Chicago, Rock Island and Texas.

The population for the 1900 census was estimated at 2,600.

Bowie had around 3,000 people during the 1920s and by the 1950s, it was approaching 7,000. It reached its zenith in the late 1980s with 5,818 residents, making it the largest town in Montague County. It dipped to 4,990 for the 1990 census and rose to 5,219 in 2000 and the present 5,218 (2010).

Historical Marker: At Pelham Park, along the World War II marker

City of Bowie

The history of the City of Bowie has been molded by forward-thinking pioneers of business, education and industry in the late nineteenth century. Situated along many significant trade and travel routes that traversed the State of Texas, permanent settlements in this area began in the 1850s in an area known as Queen’s Peak, four miles north of Bowie. The City of Bowie was established when the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad purchased acreage here in the 1870s from Mrs. A. Lavonia (Stallings) Lindsay, J.I.G. Cowan, James W. Stallings and J.G. Cummins which became the downtown site of Bowie.

As the workers laid the tracks from Decatur to Bowie, tents were erected to live alongside the tracks, which led to the name “Tent City.” Once the railroad was completed, permanent houses and buildings were constructed. The courageous, hardy and resourceful settlers decided to name the town Bowie after Texas hero James Bowie, a name synonymous with courage, strength and faith.

The town incorporated in 1883 and became a market and financial center for farmers and ranchers between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. Churches, schools and fraternal organizations were established for the citizens and their children. During the Great Depression, the Public Works Administration constructed rock walls and buildings in Elmwood Cemetery and Pelham Park. By the mid-twentieth century, Bowie was the largest city in Montague County. From its humble beginnings as a railroad and farming community, Bowie has grown into a diverse city that embraces its strong heritage.

Bowie, Texas Landmarks

Photo Gallery & Historical Markers

 Bowie Texas - Downtown
Another view of Downtown
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007

Bowie Texas - City Auditorium
Bowie City Auditorium
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007

Bowie Texas - Downtown building painted windows
Downtown building painted windows
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007

Bowie Texas - 1895 Building
1895 Building
Photo courtesy Mike Price, October 2007

Bowie Texas - car dealership building
"This style of building was common in 50's or so for car dealerships."
- Mike Price, October 2007 photo

Historical Marker: 101 Tarrant, Bowie

First National Bank of Bowie

The oldest financial institution in Montague County, this bank was chartered on March 10, 1890, eight years after the town of Bowie was created on the line of the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway. Beginning with an initial capital of $50,000, it was the town's only surviving bank by 1931. Maintaining a strong civic commitment, the bank has provided financial assistance to local charitable organizations and provides a gathering place for local community groups. It has been an important part of county history for over one hundred years.

[ More Texas Banks » ]

Bowie, Texas Old Photos
Photo Gallery & Historical Markers

Bowie Texas - Methodist Church
Methodist Church in Bowie
1910 postcard courtesy Dan Whatley Collection

Bowie TX - 1933 First Methodist Church
First Methodist Church
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

Historical Marker: 307 N. Lindsay, Bowie

First Baptist Church of Bowie

On December 24, 1882, Baptist ministers H.M. Burroughs and W.A. Mason, a missionary from the Baptist General Convention, met with fourteen local Baptists to organize the first Baptist Church at Bowie with Burroughs as its first pastor. To celebrate their new church, the congregation sang “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” From 1883 to 1902, the congregation worshipped in the masonic lodge building, also known as Rosser’s school for its weekday usage, located at the corner of Pecan and Lindsay Streets. Purchased from the masons in 1886, that building burned in 1902. The congregation rebuilt on the site, only to see the new building burn in 1909. The next church building lasted until 1943 when the newly renovated structure burned. The congregation consecrated a new white brick sanctuary on Easter Sunday in April 1944. In 1966, the church campus expanded to include an education building. Members worshipped in the 1944 church until 1981 when a new sanctuary on the corner of Tarrant and Lindsay Streets was dedicated. At that time the 1944 sanctuary became the fellowship hall. The third church pastor, J.C. Ward, preached at as many as seventeen churches in the north Texas circuit, sometimes being paid in eggs, chickens, and flour. In the early twentieth century, church member and author Fannie C. Potter wrote histories of both Montague County and the church. From its inception, the church’s congregation focused on missionary work, a focus that engendered several other local Baptist churches and community missions, including the multi-denominational Bowie mission.

Historical Marker: 806 North Lindsay, Bowie

Saint Peter Lutheran Church

German Lutheran immigrants who settled in this area in the late 19th century were added to The Rev. John C. Schulenberg's North Central Texas Mission itinerary in 1893. St. Peter Lutheran Church was organized in 1894. That year a small wood frame sanctuary was built on land (5 mi. NE) donated by Henry Husfeld. In 1903 The Rev. H.B. Wurthmann became St. Peter's first resident Pastor and in 1919 a new sanctuary/school building was erected. One service a month was conducted in German until 1940. Church facilities were moved here in 1948. The church continues to serve the local community.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark

[More Texas Churches »]

Bowie Texas - East Ward School Building
East Ward School Building
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
[More Texas Schoolhouses » ]

Bowie Texas -  Post Office
Bowie Post Office
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
[More Texas Post Offices » ]

Bowie Texas - 1904 Street Scene
Bowie Street Scene in 1904
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

Bowie Texas - Bowie Clinic and Hospital
Bowie Clinic and Hospital
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/

Bowie Texas - Bo-Tex Motel
Bo-Tex Motel
Hi-way 287 & 81
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
[ More Rooms with a Past » ]

Bowie Texas - Cattle
Postcard courtesy www.rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
[ See Texas Ranching » ]

Historical Marker: 900 -1000 East Nelson St., Bowie
Elmwood Cemetery
Early settler James W. Stallings donated the first portion of land for the establishment of a cemetery for area residents at this site in 1880. Two years later, the town of Bowie was platted near the cemetery site, along the route of the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad. The first burial at Elmwood Cemetery was that of Willie B. Nelson (d. June 10, 1880), son of Francis M. and Mary Nelson. Stallings later buried several of his own family members at the site, including his wife Sarah E. (Parker), his granddaughter and his daughter, all in 1882. In 1884, 1901 and 1905, G.W. and Emily Tinkle conveyed additional land to the cemetery, and further additions were made to the site in later years.

The Bowie Cemetery Association formed during the early years of the cemetery’s existence, although the exact date of its organization is unknown. The association handled the business of the cemetery until 1938, when the cemetery association officially deeded the burial ground to the city of Bowie. In 1981, due to the expansion of Lake Amon G. Carter, the graves located at Tarter Cemetery were relocated to Elmwood. Portions of a native stone wall that was constructed along Patterson and Nelson Streets by employees of the Civilian Conservation Corps 1935-1937 remain today. The cemetery contains burials of veterans from the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Today, Elmwood Cemetery continues to serve the citizens of Bowie and the surrounding area while reminding them of the early pioneer settlers of the community.

[More Texas Cemeteries » ]

Historical Marker: Pelham Street, Bowie

Pelham Park

Before Bowie was incorporated in 1883, Confederate Captain John J. Carter purchased 160 acres in 1878. As early as 1879, veterans of the Confederate Army would meet on land owned by Captain Carter. The Carter Property was situated near the new cemetery and was a place to congregate before or after a burial. Captain Carter died on Jan. 29, 1882, but his wife, Charlotte Jane Carter, permitted the veterans to continue using the property. Bowie Pelham Camp, No. 572, United Confederate Veterans, was organized in 1895 with over 100 members. The veterans purchased 26.5 acres from Charlotte Carter in 1901 for $450 with stipulations that the property would always be dedicated to veterans, past, present and future. In 1905, a pavilion was built in the park along with three water wells, a barbeque pit, mess house and a long dining shed. Land was paid in full by 1910 and the group grew to over 300 members. Over the years, membership declined and the remaining camp members decided to transfer the property to the city of Bowie, which was finalized on August 14, 1923. On Jan. 6, 1931, the city fathers officially named the park Bowie Pelham Park. The confederate monument located elsewhere in bowie was moved to the park in 1936 as well as the WWI marker. The first Jim Bowie Days celebration and rodeo to promote the community was held in 1967. “Second Monday,” a popular meeting of farmers and ranchers to barter livestock and goods near the railroad tracks, was eventually moved to Pelham Park in 1970. In 1989, the city of Bowie purchased 28 adjoining acres from the Hill Family for expansion of the park to continue the historical and community legacy of Pelham Park.

Bowie TX Centennial marker
Bowie Texas Centennial marker
Photo courtesy Holly Gibson, April 2015
See Texas Road Trip -
From Owls to Eiffel Tower

TX Montague County 1907 Postal Map
Montague County 1907 postal map showing Bowie on Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railroad
From Texas state map #2090 showing

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip

Central Texas North

Bowie, Texas Nearby Towns:
See Montague County

Montague the county seat
Wichita Falls

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