Highway 144 and Farm roads 927 and 203
S of Glen Rose
8 Miles NW of
52 Miles NW of Waco
Population: 755 (2000) Up from 716 in 1990
in a Pecan Shell|
The town's name is a rare of example of "what
you see is what you get." The community developed around springs (still flowing
today) that surfaced in the shade of Walnut trees. The town's history is directly
related to that of the Texas Central Railroad.
The railroad arrived in
1880-81, building machine shops which burned in the 1920s and weren't rebuilt.
The railroad later joined the long roster of defunct Texas
railroads, but its impact on the town is still being felt (see letter below).
A post office was granted in 1883, however the name Walnut Springs wasn't
applied until 1892. In 1885 Central College was opened, becoming part of the public
school system seven years later.
From a high-water mark of 1,449 before
the railroad fire, it declined to 723 as the Great Depression wound down. In 1961
the population was just under 500 and growth has been slow but steady - reaching
the current number of 755 residents.
is the Old Town Of Walnut Springs, TX. Not much left... In it's day it was a busy
town with the trains. The Katy Park is still there."
Paula Mc Michael Athey, 2008|
144 between Walnut Springs and Glen
Rose. The big hill on the right down the hwy. is where I lived in a country
house. Another house is there now. The old house is gone now."
- Paula Mc Michael Athey, September 28, 2008 |
Springs, Texas Forum
from the Walnut Springs City Engineer -
I have been the city engineer
for the City of Walnut Springs, Texas, for about 10 years. While trying to use
a magnetic locator to find a cast iron pipeline, I was getting readings all over
the place. An old timer came by and told that my location was very near the boiler
shop of the [now defunct] Texas Central Railroad. [In the 20s when the fire occured]
there were explosions in the boiler shop that covered the area with debris. The
Texas Central Railroad was created in the 1880's and I believe the last of it
was shut down in 1936. The street and utilities were given to the City of Walnut
Springs. In the downtown area, there is still the foundation for a steam engine
to drive the water works.
Due to the decline in the railroad, and the
ranching businesses, the town fell into disrepair for years. In the late 1980's
a sewer system funded by the FHA was installed along with a treatment plant. In
the late 1990's, we replaced a jerry-rigged water pressure system with a new 40,000
gallon standpipe along with a 1,000 gpm pumping station and a revised power system
for the plant. In the year 2000, we installed a new well with a 230 gpm capacity,
a 44,000 gallon ground storage tank, and another 1,000 gpm pump station new the
Hornet Stadium just south of city hall. This vastly improved the water reliability
since during the storm of 1998, the only water pipe crossing Steele creek washed
out. The concrete in-ground tank is still there and the last time I checked, it
was still in great shape.
In 2002, we replaced the old 1922 vintage concrete
tank improved the plant piping. I had the old 1922 vintage concrete ground storage
tank removed and replaced with a new welded steel tank constructed by Bulldog
Steel of Clyde, Texas. There were several wall cracks, but the slab was as sound
as new. The new tank sits on the 1922 slab. A new grade beam was poured around
the tank. The reinforcing steel was square stock and twisted to deform it to obtain
a good grip to the concrete. It has the historic Lone Star Steel trade mark on
it as I recall. It was all poured by hand, the workers placing and mixing it in
shifts, working around the clock.
With this project, the City is now
current with all TCEQ regulations. The City and Walnut Springs ISD have begun
to grow and have already attracted several retail businesses.
Secretary, Kay Offutt (her husband is Welsh, and manager of the Flat Top Ranch),
sent me an extremely interesting book about the history of the Texas Central Railroad
and Walnut Springs as a Christmas present . While doing the land acquisition to
expand the football field from the required 80 yards for 6 man ball to the full
100 yards, I determined the football field to be located very near the historical
site of the boiler shop. There was a round house there and it is my understanding,
it is located about two hundred yards behind the new post office fronting Texas
A gentleman named Murphy Bruns, retired at Tow, Texas, further
told me how the town was bustling when he was foreman for the construction of
the REA-funded rural power lines in the area in the 1930's. His company was owned
by a Mr. Taylor, who was Lady Bird Johnson's father.
The railroad sold
out to the Missouri Kansas and Texas "Katy" railroad at some point. The Katy park
still exists as a city park today and houses and protects the Walnut Springs.
These springs still flow several hundred gallons a minute and have never gone
dry. In the northeast part of town, you can still see the influence of the railroad
houses. Most have been changed and some replaced, but if you stand at the end
of street you can see that the gable roofs line up exactly.
is currently being repopulated by the 1980's generation that work mostly in other
cities. - City Engineer, Walnut Springs, Texas, December 13, 2005
Springs: Union Veteran & the Confederate Widow
I find your [magazine]
unique and very interesting. I was especially interested in Walnut Springs since
my Great Grandfather Franklin Estein is buried in the cemetery. He was a German
immigrant who fought in the civil war as a Union soldier having joined in New
Orleans where he landed from Germany. He was a stone mason and many of the stone
structures in Walnut Springs were built by him. He married a widow of a Confederate
soldier and for most of his life he never told her he had been in the Union army,
only when he applied for his pension did she find out. I intend to visit Walnut
Springs next year and do more research. - Dean Thompson, President, 9/11 Flight
Crew Memorial, November 30, 2006
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve
historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their
local history, stories, and/or vintage/historic photos, please contact