George C. Werner

TEXAS CITY TERMINAL RAILWAY. The Texas City Terminal Railway Company owns and operates port facilities at Texas City including a railroad, warehouses, and docks. It is the largest privately owned port in Texas and the third in size based on tonnage handled. In 1994 the company's twenty-two docks served 1,294 oceangoing vessels and 6,748 barges. That year the railroad owned three diesel units and handled 58,971 cars over 5.84 miles of main line and 26.29 miles of siding and terminal tracks. The railroad served the refinery and petrochemical complex at Texas City in addition to the port.

In 1890 two brothers from Duluth, Minnesota, Jacob and Henry Myers, began buying land on the mainland of Galveston County near what was then known as Shoal Point as the first step in the development of a protected harbor. Later joined by a third brother, Benjamin, and other investors from the Great Lakes region including Captain Augustus B. Wolvin, the developers chartered the Texas City Improvement Company on April 1, 1893. By 1897 the company owned more than 10,000 acres in the area which had been renamed Texas City. On March 23, 1893, the federal government granted permission to the Myers brothers to dredge a channel eight feet deep by 100 feet wide from their proposed port to Galveston Bay. Shortly thereafter, a four-mile spur known as the Texas City Terminal Railway was built connecting Texas City with the North Galveston, Houston and Kansas City Railroad Company and the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad Company at Texas City Junction. Despite a deepening of the channel to sixteen feet in 1896, the Texas City Improvement Company failed the following year and the property was sold at foreclosure to Jacob L. Greatsinger of Duluth on December 10, 1897. Two months later Greatsinger resold the property to a syndicate organized by Wolvin. The Texas City Company, Incorporated, acquired the town lots and industrial acreage. On February 4, 1898, the Texas City Terminal Company was chartered for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, owning, and operating a deep-water channel, docks, railroads, elevators, and union depots. Greatsinger deeded the property of the Texas City Terminal Railway to the Texas City Terminal Company on March 7, 1898. The Texas City Terminal Company and the Texas City Company had the same officers.

A new company, the Texas City Transportation Company, was chartered on May 24, 1904, to acquire the property and franchises of the Texas City Terminal Company. The Texas City Terminal Company, however, continued to operate the property under lease. In 1907 the Transportation Company extended the railroad 2.1 miles from Texas City Junction to Terminal Junction on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. This extension gave the Texas City Terminal Company a connection with all of the railroads operating between Houston and Galveston and later with the Galveston-Houston Electric Railway when the interurban was built in 1911. On March 16, 1920, the Texas City Transportation Company entered receivership, and was sold on August 3 to Augustus S. Peabody acting for the bondholders. Peabody conveyed the property to the Texas City Terminal Company, which had been chartered on January 13, 1921. The company remained independent until September 30, 1926, when the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico Railway Company, the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company each acquired a one-third interest in the Texas City Terminal Railway Company. The company is now owned in equal shares by the Santa Fe and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, as successor to both the New Orleans, Texas and Mexico and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas.

Priscilla Benham, "Texas City Port of Opportunity," Houston Review 10 (1988). Texas City Terminal Railway Company: 100 Years of History, 1893–1993 (Houston: Taylor International Publications, 1993).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, George C. Werner, "TEXAS CITY TERMINAL RAILWAY," accessed September 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqt12.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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