Picking up train orders at the depot after clearing Adams Street, while SB through Temple, September 1981
Photo courtesy of  www.railpixs.com
Temple at the intersection of Interstate Highway 35
and State highways 53 and 95, in northeastern Bell County thirty-six miles south
of Waco and sixty-seven miles north of Austin.
In 1880, Jonathan E. Moore sold 187 acres of his land to the
Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway to use for a construction camp.
The site was called Temple Junction by the railroad company, in honor of
Bernard Moore Temple, chief engineer of the railroad; local residents called
the community Mud Town or Tanglefoot.   When a post office was
established there in January 1881, the official name became Temple.
The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe held a sale of town lots in June 1881; there
was a nucleus of railroad workers to begin with, and stores went up rapidly.
In 1882 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line was built through Temple, and the Santa Fe
made the town a division point.   The railroad shops added several hundred
to the community population, which included doctors, lawyers, and merchants.
Temple was incorporated in 1882, and by 1884 its 3,000 residents were served by
three churches and a school, as well as two banks, two weekly newspapers, an
opera house, a waterworks, and a wide variety of other businesses.
The Santa Fe Hospital (SCOTT AND WHITE SANTA FE CENTER) was established in
Temple in 1891, King's Daughters Hospital in 1897, and Scott and White
Hospital in 1904 (SCOTT AND WHITE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL), making Temple one of
the leading medical centers in the Southwest.   Because of its
railroad interchange and its medical facilities, it became the largest city in
Around 1900 it reported 7,065 residents; by 1930 this number had
more than doubled, to 15,345.   Local residents made several attempts to have the
county seat moved to Temple from Belton, but these efforts failed.   An interurban
rail line, in operation between Temple and Belton from 1905 to 1923, helped
facilitate travel to the county seat.   Businesses established in Temple included
the American Desk Company (in 1921) and a Coca-Cola bottling plant (1925);
Temple Junior College opened in 1926.   The Great Depression interrupted the
town's steady growth, but the 1940s brought another wave of new residents.
Between 1940 and 1960 the population nearly doubled, rising from 15,344 to
30,419.   In 1942 the Veterans Administration opened a new hospital in Temple,
adding another dimension to the local medical facilities.   The Temple area became
a convenient place for military personnel to move to for their retirement.   By
the 1970s Temple manufactures included furniture, shoes, insulation, cottonseed
products, electronic products, plastics, clothing, optical supplies, woodwork,
and livestock and poultry feed.   In addition, Temple had a substation of the
agricultural experiment station system and was the site for the state offices of
the United States Soil Conservation Service.
The city's population had risen to 42,483 by 1980 and to 49,851 by 1990.
It decreased slightly in the early 1990s, to 46,109.   The Killeen-Temple
metropolitan statistical area reported a population of 255,301 in
Information from The Handbook of Texas Online; a
joint project of The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin and
the Texas State Historical Association. The Handbook of Texas Online