EAST DALLAS DEPOT Was Center of Activity

It is announced (Oct. 1897) that the new Union Depot in East Dallas will be formally opened today. The new structure has been in course of erection for three months, and while it is not as large as the railroads would like to have it, it is still a vast improvement over the shanty it replaces. The waiting rooms are large and commodious and eloquently finished in native woods.

Union Depot in East Dallas, 1911

   Union Depot in East Dallas, 1911

Mr. Charles R. Bullock, which has been city ticket and passenger agent for Houston and Texas Central for three years has been appointed joint agent of the Texas and Pacific and the Houston and Texas Central. Mr. Bullock’s successor has not been appointed, but it is almost certain that Mr. Harry Prather will be promoted to that position.
Dallas Morning News, Oct. 12, 1897

The East Dallas Union Depot closed once the Union Station opened downtown in 1916. Photo courtesy Dallas Public Library. The railroad seen in the photograph is situated on the track line that ran along Central Avenue which is now known as Central Expressway. The building functioned as a depot for the Texas & Pacific Railway Company till 1933 and was demolished in 1935.

Until 1871, the land on which the Union Depot was built had been Dallas’ first fairgrounds, the site of the Dallas County Agricultural and Mechanical Association Fair. In 1871 Captain William H. Gaston purchased the site in anticipation of the railroad’s arrival and relocated the fairgrounds further east on land where Baylor Hospital is now situated

There were other Dallas depots. In fact there were so many that it was impeding the city’s growth. In 1892 the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad built a permanent passenger depot at the northwest corner of Pacific and Market streets to replace the wooden structure erected in 1887 when the MK&T completed its spur line into Dallas from Greenville.

The St. Louis & Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) had their terminal, located at Commerce and Murphy Street. It was built in 189 and was demolished 30 years later to construct the Santa Fe Building which is still standing.

The Union Terminal Company constructed the Dallas Union Terminal, as Union Station was originally called, in 1916 to consolidate five rail stations scattered around Dallas into one, making Dallas a major transportation center in the Southwestern United States. At the peak of its usage, as many as 80 trains stopped each day at the station.

Note: The City of East Dallas was east of Downtown Dallas. Photo is courtesy of Dallas Municipal Library and estimated to be about 1911. Information courtesy Dallas Morning News and The Handbook of Texas.