Texas Railroad History - Tower 101 - Whitewright

A Crossing of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad and the St. Louis Southwestern ("Cotton Belt") Railway

Whitewright was named for William Whitewright, a New York investor in the Denison & Southeastern (D&S) Railway. The D&S was chartered in 1877 to build from Denison to Greenville, and since Whitewright knew the path the railroad would take, he invested in land in the area, hoping to benefit from a town development. The new town of Whitewright was founded in 1878 but the railroad did not reach the town until early 1880. In March, 1880, the D&S changed its name to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT, more commonly "Katy") Extension Railway, presumably in collusion with the "real" Katy Railroad which had founded the town of Denison. Construction from Whitewright to Greenville was completed later in 1880, and the "Extension" railway was acquired by the "real" Katy in 1881. In 1887, the St. Louis, Arkansas & Texas (SLA&T) Railway built a 109-mile branch to Sherman from their main line at Mt. Pleasant, crossing the Katy at Whitewright. In 1889, the SLA&T went into receivership, and the property was conveyed to the St. Louis Southwestern (SLSW) Railway, a.k.a. the "Cotton Belt". Served by two railroads, Whitewright prospered as the center of the local agricultural economy. The population peaked at 1,804 in 1900 and remained relatively steady after that (with a net population decline of only 64 persons in 100 years!) The Cotton Belt line was abandoned in 1953, but the Katy line continues in use today, now operated by the Texas Northeastern Railroad.

On December 1, 1914, Tower 101 was opened as a 2-story manned tower of stucco construction incorporating a 23-function manual interlocker. Since the actual crossing had been in place since 1887, traffic on these two lines was apparently insufficient to justify the expense of a manned interlocking tower until 1914. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps of Whitewright confirm that there was no tower structure at the crossing on the 1911 map, but the tower does appear on the 1920 map (see below). The tower was decommissioned in 1953 when the Cotton Belt was abandoned.

The Sanborn Fire Insurance map (above) of Whitewright drawn in 1920 shows Tower 101 as a 2-story "Interlocking Plant (Stucco)"
[see magnification below] in the northwest quadrant of the crossing, not far from the Cotton Belt depot on Pine Street. Bond Street is the
north/south street on the map between the depot and the tower (also known today as FM898). A field examination of the site of Tower 101
confirms that remnants of the tower's concrete foundation are still intact. We would like to add a current photo of this site, and of course,
we're still looking for a photo of the original tower. Please contact us if you have any relevant photos or information regarding Tower 101.

Location Map, Tower 101

Location Images, Tower 101 Site

Above: satellite image of the Tower 101 location
Below: bird's eye view of the Tower 101 site

Last Revised: 2/20/2010 JGK - Contact the Texas Interlocking Towers Page.