Crossing of the San Antonio, Uvalde & Gulf (SAU&G) Railroad and the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railway
Mathis was founded in 1887 when the San Antonio & Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railroad crossed land owned by cattleman Thomas Mathis during construction of a rail line from Skidmore to Alice. The town was still primarily a cattle ranching center when the San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf (SAU&G) Railroad crossed the SA&AP in Mathis in 1913 while building a line from San Antonio to Corpus Christi. Tower 159 was established at the crossing in 1929 and the crossing remained active until 1979 when Southern Pacific abandoned the former SA&AP line through Mathis. The 1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Mathis (below) shows the tower to be a two-story structure indicating that it was staffed at least part time. Sometime after 1950, the tower was removed and a cabin interlocker was installed to replace it. This would have been done if either of the lines (or both) saw a significant decrease in traffic such that the cost of a manned tower could no longer be justified. The interlocker cabin is still in place astride the abandoned SA&AP line. The SAU&G line continues to carry traffic, now owned by Union Pacific.
Historic Map, Tower 159
Above: A portion of the 1950 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Mathis (rotated so that North is up) shows the "SA&AP RR"
crossing another rail line (identified elsewhere on the map as the "SAU&G RR"). Tower 159 is documented on the map as a
2-story "Control Tower" on the east side of the crossing (see magnification below). Given its prominent location in the center
of Mathis, we are hopeful that a photo of Tower 159 will be found. If you have one, or any other related information, please contact us.