Train Town USA

Kennedale has been designated a 'Train Town USA' by Union Pacific Railroad! As Union Pacific celebrates its sesquicentennial and 150 years of growing up together, they have invited communities to tell their histories through Union Pacific’s "Train Town USA" registry. More information on the program can be found at http://up150.com/towns

Kennedale's Train Town History:
In early years, Native Americans hunted and fished along Village Creek near the present site of Kennedale. The Village Creek tribes and the Republic of Texas signed a treaty in 1843, and settlers began moving into the area. In 1882, John Hudson, C.B. Teague, and Oliver Kennedy bought land at the site of a mineral well. A local post office opened in 1884, and in 1886, the town was platted. In 1885, to attract a rail line to the community, Hudson, Teague, and Kennedy donated land and right-of-way to the recently chartered Fort Worth & New Orleans Railway.
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Shortly after its receipt of land and right-of-way, the FW&NO Railway began construction of a line through Kennedale, connecting Fort Worth to a junction with the Houston & Texas Central Railroad in Waxahachie, and the line was operational by May 1886. Together, the two lines were advertised as the “Central Route,” the only all-steel rail line in the state, providing a shorter route from Fort Worth to Galveston than any other in the state, and the quickest route to New Orleans. The FW&NO Railroad also built a depot and three section houses. Kennedale’s section houses were home to railroad employees responsible for the track running between the nearby towns of Brambleton to the northwest and Bisbee to the southeast.

Thanks to railroad access, Kennedale became a thriving small town with a central business district, a hotel, general merchandise store, drug store, bank, post office, lumber company, brick yard, and blacksmith, in addition to the train depot. Kennedale had a public school by 1890 and formed a school district in 1909. As was common in railroad towns, the old main commercial street, Broadway, runs almost perpendicular to the railroad line as the line runs through town from Fort Worth (the line then curves to run parallel to Broadway briefly).

By the end of 1901, FW&NO had become part of the Houston & Texas Central Railroad, which became part of the Southern Pacific, then Union Pacific. In 1903, the old depot-referred to as a landmark by one newspaper-was destroyed by fire, and a new depot was constructed. But by 1941, the railroad no longer needed its Kennedale facilities, and it sold one of the section houses, which after that was used as a private residence. The original section house was about 1,000 square feet and was clad with wood lap siding. It featured design details typical of homes of this period but had a unique style. The home had three gables, each with a sunburst ornamentation. The depot and other section houses were gone by the 1950’s.

In 2008, the remaining section house was severely damaged by fire, but the city salvaged materials from the original structure and used them to build a replica. The building is now the home of the Kennedale Chamber of Commerce, and is also the meeting location for the Kennedale Historical Society Board of Directors.