Progress Plays Through at the Seventh Green

This is the Texas & Pacific railway ad in the 1878 Fort Worth city directory:

But in 1876 the tracks of the Texas & Pacific Railway had reached only as far west as Eagle Ford in Dallas in the railroad’s push to reach the Pacific.

Neither Sycamore Creek Golf Course (see the seventh green on left) nor this T&P track and trestle existed then. But T&P workers were laying more track—from Dallas to Fort Worth. But when the workers reached this point on Sycamore Creek east of downtown, there was no way across the water. So, facing a state-imposed deadline, the workers improvised: They hastily constructed a “crib” by stacking railroad ties in the creek bottom up to grade level and slapping down some rails. The makeshift track, Fort Worth Democrat newspaper editor B. B. Paddock declared, was “as crooked as the proverbial ram’s horn.” But the locomotive held its breath and tiptoed over the creek.

And at 11:23 a.m. on July 19, 1876, the Democrat reported, T&P engine No. 20 “uttered its shrill scream within the corporate limits, arousing the panther from his lair.”

Fort Worth had entered the railroad age—three years after Paddock had published his visionary “tarantula map” depicting Fort Worth as a future railroad hub. (Some of the railroad lines shown on Paddock’s map never materialized.)

The tarantula had its first leg.

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