Houston & Texas Central RR reservoir dam

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by zeeglen, Aug 31, 2003.

  1. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    The attached picture is the current state of a dam built in 1874 in Allen, TX by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. A photo of the dam before restoration can be seen at http://www.cityofallen.org/parks/historical.htm click on "Historic Dam Site picture"

    This is the only known hand-built stone railroad dam for a steam locomotive water supply remaining in the USA . It was built on the Cottonwood Creek in Allen, TX by the H&TC RR in 1874 to create a reliable source of water for their steam locomotives. A pumphouse and water tower were built alongside the nearby railroad track. In 1912 another dam was built further downstream to raise the reservoir level; this totally submerged the 1874 dam.

    A few years ago the 1912 dam (currently under a highway overpass) washed out around it's edges and lowered the water level, thus revealing the 1874 dam whose existance was unknown until then. The City of Allen has put a lot of effort into the preservation of this dam; the gabion walls were added last year to prevent further erosion of the dam foundation.

    Someday i am going to build a scale model of this dam and it's surroundings. We of Allen, TX are dam proud of it! Incidentally, another Allen claim to railroading fame is the fact that the very first train robbery in Texas took place here by Sam Bass and his gang on 22 Feb 1878 (they got him!)

    Attached Files:

  2. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Thats a really nice setting, and one that cries out to be modelled.
  3. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    I've been to see that dam. You can also see the what's left of the pump house, at least the foundation of it. The tracks and train bridge that are nearby are no longer used. You can walk on the tracks and take in the scenery. Underneath the train bridge you can see the year it was made and the name of the company who made the bridge.

    This original stone dam was contructed by I believe mostly Irish immigrants and perhaps some German. Nothing or little is known about the original workmen who contructed this site.

    The City of Allen has recently recontructed a replica of the train depot that burned down in the 1940's.

    Just some more dam history. Hey Glen, I thought you were going to let me model it.
  4. zeeglen

    zeeglen Member

    The City of Allen historian has the names of some of the workers, but that's about all.

    I wonder what life was really like for those who's labour built these early railroads and supporting structures with their own raw muscle power. Did they enjoy a jig or two in the evenings with a fiddle, flute, or accordian etc? Or did they fall into their bunks exhausted after a hard day's work with no time or energy for the simple pleasures of life? We owe them...
  5. jawatkins

    jawatkins Member

    We have tried to interest the Historial Society in Allen that helped rebuild the train depot to put a scale model (either N or HO) of the stone dam and old pump house and such. Who knows?

Share This Page