The Forth Worth and Denver Came to Pampa in 1932

Even before the discovery of oil, Pampans had longed for a north-south railroad route to match the excellent east-west service of the Santa Fe. Organization of the citizenship through the Chamber of Commerce and, the Board of city development had obtained the Clinton, Oklahoma & Western in 1927-28, and local citizens began to look more intently for a connection to the south.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

The Fort Worth and Denver and its parent Burlington Northern became interested in establishing a line from Childress to Pampa. Although the project was com- plicated by rival groups — the Pock Island and Santa Fe, the Board of City Development and local citizens persisted in their efforts to obtain the rail- road that would provide a more direct route to the Central Texas and Gulf points. On August 5, 1930, the Pampa Daily NEWS “extra” announced that the Inter- state Commerce Commission had granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the Pampa-Childress line, with the stipulation that work should begin on or before December 31, 1931, and providing that the Rock Island and Denver Northern should jointly construct and use the line between Wellington and Shamrock to prevent a duplication of expenditure.

After the Rock Island decided to default on the Quanah-Shamrock project, the I.C.C. gave the FW&D a permit to proceed alone. It was necessary to obtain right-of-way and to employ engineers and contractors. The laying of rails was completed on June 14, 1932, and the first paid freight arrived on June 27. The FW&DN was ready to celebrate the completion of the 110-mile, four-million-dollar railroad that was the only major railroad con- structed in the United States in 1932. Coming northward from Childress to Pampa, the railroad passed through Wellington, Shamrock and Lefors, Lesser points were Abington, Smithdale, New Loco, Lillie, Samnorwood, Denworth, Magic City, Meldavis(near Lefors) Wesco and Elfco. At 4:30 a.m. on Friday, July 15, 1932, a number of Pampa citizens left on a special train for Childress so that they could return to Pampa on the first passenger train from Childress to Pampa. Upon arriving at Childress at 8:15 a.m., they were served a chuck wagon breakfast.

At 9 a.m., more than 1,600 persons boarded two special trains headed for Pampa. The first train carried the delegation from Pampa; the second train carried railroad officials, state candidates, including Governor Ross Sterling, C. V. Terrell and E. O. Thompson, and special cars from Fort Worth and Wichita Falls

Because of speaking programs and slow re-loading at Wellington and Shamrock, the special trains were late in arriving at Pampa where a parade had begun at 2 p.m. Bands from Wellington and Shamrock and the Fort Worth and Denver band from Fort Worth played for the parade. When the special trains arrived at Pampa, the huge throng flowed through the business district and stopped east of the courthouse where Governor Ross Sterling and Railroad Com- missioner E. O. Thompson spoke to the crowd. After the parade “broke,” invited guests went to the high school gymnasium (corner of Cuyler and Browning) where the Board of City Development hosted a barbeque served by Junior chamber of commerce members. The Canary Sandwich Shop barbequed Gray County beeves for the occasion. A program broadcast by remote control over station KGRS began at the First Methodist Church at 3:15. Governor Ross Sterling was not able to attend because he had an engagement in Borger.

The program was to welcome railroad officials and to give them an opportunity to be heard. Ralph Budd, president of the Burlington system, said that the railroad was built by faith in perilous times. He praised Pampa citizens for procuring the permit from I.C.C. and in obtaining the right-of-way. He commended the contractors, pointing to the nicely chiseled cuts and symmetrical fills. The locating engineers were praised for bringing the road up on the plains with a minimum grade. Those who – had expected the new roadbed to be rough and crooked were surprised to note the smoothness with which the six coaches, pullman and baggage car moved over the shining ribbons of steel. The Fort Worth & Denver Northern had purchased land from John Hyatt for a depot and other structures necessary for its operation at Pampa.

On May 10, 1932, the firm of Glover and Boyington was awarded a contract to build the railway station. The building, one of the most modern and up-to-date on the FW&DN line was com- pleted and occupied by the office staff on August 9. Although the building has always been at the present location, it has been listed otherwise in city directives: 510 S. Russell in 1933, 201 W. Brown in 1947, 512 S. Russell in 1969 and 514 S. Russell in 1990. Agents for the FW&D depot in Pampa have been 13. Glen Kerss in 1932, J, Leo Southern in 1939, Delaney M. Dickey in 1940, Forrest 0. Montgomery in 1954, A. C. Latham in 1960, Bobby G. Mongingo in 1962 and Charles B. Querner in 1969. After the railroad teased operations, the building was occupied by Magabar Drilling Mud Service from 1970 to 1975, Mc-A-Doodles screen painting in 1990 and C.J.’s

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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