Rooted in rail: City of Temple turns 140

June 29 marks 140 years since Jonathan Ewing Moore sold 181 acres to the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad, establishing what would become the City of Temple. 

Santa Fe needed a central junction point for the hundreds of miles of railroad track that were beginning to spread throughout the state. 

On June 29, 1881 a barbecue was held as the railroad auctioned off plots for the new settlement, which was named after Chief Engineer Bernard M. Temple. The city was in incorporated in 1882 and by 1884 had three churches, a school, two banks and two newspapers.  

The Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway became a major employer for Temple and  built the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Hospital 1891.  In early 1892, Dr. Arthur Carroll Scott & Dr. Raleigh R. White, Jr., arrived in Temple to work in the hospital.  The doctors soon saw a need for medical services that reached beyond the railroad workers.  In 1904, the doctors opened the Temple Sanitarium, which gave rise to one of the fastest-growing healthcare systems in the 20th century, Baylor Scott & White Health. 

The industrial spirit of Temple’s founders shaped the fabric of the city, which eventually gave birth to industrial leaders such as McLane Co., Wilsonart International and several other medical, educational and industrial businesses. 

While today the city boasts a diverse economy and a growing population, reminders of its railroading roots remain. The Santa Fe Depot, located in the heart of downtown, houses a collection of retired antique locomotives, similar to the ones that brought the first entrepreneurs, medical professionals and families to the burgeoning settlement.