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North Texas settlement drew life from the railroad


On this day in 1885, Harrold, a railroad town in east central Wilbarger County, was officially platted. The settlement had been known as Cottonwood in the early 1880s, when it had a stage station and a store near China Creek. In 1884 the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway, building from the east, reached the area. The community was renamed to honor promoter Ephraim Harrold, who owned the nearby Bar-X Ranch. As the western terminus for the railroad, Harrold became an overnight boomtown. Prospective settlers were offered train rides from Wichita Falls and were welcomed to the town by a brass band. Within a year some 1,500 people had arrived. The spirited frontier town's numerous businesses included sixteen saloons. The boom days abruptly ended, however, when the railroad reached Vernon. Harrold remained a railroad shipping point and agricultural center with a population of several hundred.

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