www.txrrhistory.com - Tower 79 - Paris
A Crossing of the Texas & Pacific; Texas Midland; Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe; and Paris & Great Northern railroads
The railroad first came to Lamar County in 1875 when the Texas and Pacific (T&P) was building from Sherman to Texarkana via Paris. The T&P survived into the 1960s and was acquired by Missouri Pacific. In 1887 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway was built from Dallas to Paris, connecting there with the T&P. This was followed in 1888 by the Paris and Great Northern (P&GN) which built north from Paris to connect with the St. Louis and San Francisco ("Frisco") Railroad at the Red River. In 1928, the P&GN was acquired by the Frisco. The next railroad built into Paris was the Texas Midland (TM) which connected Paris and Commerce in 1893 and which operated until 1975 (under Southern Pacific ownership after 1928). In 1909, the Paris and Mount Pleasant (P&MP) Railway was chartered and built; it operated between the two towns until it was abandoned in 1956. Thus, by 1910, Paris was served by five railroads, and the town had over 11,000 residents.
The Railroad Commission of Texas authorized Tower 79 in 1909, although this date appears unrelated to the P&MP construction of the same year since that railroad was not listed as one of the railroads involved in the interlocker. The P&GN was listed as part of the interlocker, but their rails went north from Paris, so it is not clear that they actually had tracks through the interlocker. RCT's 1920 Annual Report began listing the Frisco instead of the P&GN as a railroad served by Tower 79, reflecting the change in ownership that occurred in 1928.
The only remaining railroad service to Paris is provided by the Kiamichi Railroad using the former rails of the P&GN. The T&P line is out of service and the rails are removed east of Paris towards Texarkana. West of Paris to Bonham, the T&P rails are still in place but there is no active rail service along this segment of the line. South of Paris, the former Santa Fe line to Dallas has been removed all the way to Farmersville. The Texas Midland was abandoned in 1975 and the rails removed shortly thereafter.
Although neither railroad is operational, the diamond crossing for the Santa Fe and T&P tracks was still in place in 2005. The foundation for the tower is intact, surrounded by cedar trees.
Tower 79 Site Photos (Myron Malone, 1/17/2005)
Looking northeast, the diamond crossing of the Santa Fe and T&P railroads
remains intact. The T&P tracks pass the line of cedar trees to the right heading
toward the T&P depot. Tower 79, if it was still standing, would be just out of
view to the right.
The foundation of Tower 79 is in the woods near the crossing. Two steps for
entering the tower are visible on the far side of the foundation.
Image of the foundation looking from the northwest corner
South side of tower foundation. Steps and pillow blocks for lever connections
to switches and signals are still evident in 2005.
Tower 79's foundation is across the diamond just behind the short cedar trees
in front. This view is looking southeast.
This is the view looking towards the Union Depot, about 2 miles north. The
T&P line crosses left to right. Tower 79 was to the right, behind the red sign.
Tower 79 Crossing, Bird's Eye View
In this south view, numerous rights-of-way are visible, even though many of them have been overtaken
by dense vegetation. As the map below shows, the Texas Midland (TM) and Santa Fe lines were parallel
past Tower 79, with the tower sitting between them. The TM also had connectors to the T&P and the
P&MP. Although the former T&P tracks remain intact in this image, the diamond has been removed and
debris has been placed across the tracks east of the crossing. The ex-Santa Fe tracks are in use by Kiamichi
Railroad for a business further south.