White Rock Station, June 24, 1968 (click for larger image) © Glen Brewer
by Paula Bosse
The White Rock passenger station — the Santa Fe railroad’s first suburban train depot built in the Southwest — opened in December, 1955 on Jupiter Road, about a quarter of a mile south of Kingsley (located mere steps across the Garland city line), a few miles northeast of White Rock Lake. It was the culmination of a $7,000,000 construction project in which two depots were built and 49.3 miles of new track was laid between Dallas and Denton (or, more specifically, between Zacha Junction — the area near Northwest Highway & Garland Road — and Dalton Junction, an area just northwest of Denton).
Dallas Morning News, Dec. 5, 1955
The new track — touted by a Santa Fe ad as being “the longest main line construction over new territory by any railroad in 25 years” — was important because it offered passengers from Dallas the ability to travel for the first time directly to Chicago without having to change trains. It also reduced freight line distances by 65 miles. The swanky streamlined Texas Chief shuttled passengers between Dallas’ Union Station and Chicago in about 19 hours — travel time between Union Station and the new White Rock Station was 25-30 minutes.
Santa Fe ad, DMN, Dec. 4, 1955
The breathless advertising copy from the giant two-page spread in The Dallas Morning News (which appeared on Dec. 4, 1955, the day before official service began) includes the following description:
“And just wait until you see the special lounge car and dining car on the Texas Chief — the last word in luxury in railroad equipment, decorated in the style and smartness indicative of Dallas…. A lounge decorated to please a Texan! Wide open and spacious feeling, with really comfortable modern sofas and chairs, casually grouped to make you want to relax. You’ll see the Star of Texas and famous cattle brands tooled into the rich leather back-bar — and Texas-inspired murals in hand-hammered copper. Even the walls are richly paneled — in smart, new frosted walnut. Just wait until you see it, you’ll say there’s nothing like it.”
And here they are (click for larger images):
Below, the Texas Chief, pulling out of the station, heading north. (To see a grainy closeup of the station in the background, click here.)
Photo by Everette DeGolyer, Dec. 29, 1956 (SMU)
Above two drawings from Santa Fe ad, DMN, Dec. 4, 1955
UPDATE, because … well, why not? Here’s a photo of the Texas Chief being christened at Union Station on Dec. 5, 1955 with a bottle of water from White Rock Lake! The caption to this Dallas Morning News photo by Clint Grant reads: “NEW STREAMLINER CHRISTENED — With a bottle of water from White Rock Lake, Mrs. Fred G. Gurley, wife of the Santa Fe Railway’s president, christens the new Dallas-Chicago Texas Chief in ceremonies Monday at the Union Terminal. At right is Miss Sandra Browning of Garland, who presented the local bottle of water.” (DMN, Dec. 6, 1955)
Top photo shows passengers waiting for the train on June 24, 1968; photo © Glen Brewer.
Text and images from The Dallas Morning News as noted. (For anyone doing research into this specific new rail line, there is a 16-page section in the the DMN on Dec. 5, 1955 that is bursting with helpful info, civic pride, “welcome to the neighborhood” ads, and corporate puffery.)
The two photos showing the dining and lounge cars of the Texas Chief were taken around 1956; both are from the Museum of the American Railroad Collection, Portal to Texas History. Other photos of the Texas Chief from this collection can be seen here.
Photo of the Texas Chief pulling out of the White Rock Station was taken by Everette L. DeGolyer on Dec. 29, 1956; it is from the Everette L. DeGolyer Jr. Collection of United States Railroad Photographs, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. The photo (“Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe, Diesel Electric Passenger Locomotive No. 11, White Rock Station”) can be viewed here.
The two drawings, and a few quotes, are from a large advertisement placed by the Santa Fe railroad to announce the opening of the White Rock Station and their new line. The ad appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Dec. 4, 1955, and it can be accessed in a PDF, here.
The last photograph, showing the station, is dated “circa 1956″ and credited to “Monaghan, M.D.”; it can be viewed on the Portal to Texas History site, here.
A 1962 map showing the location of the station is here. A present-day Bing map showing where the station was is here. A Google Street View image of the area today is (…if you must…) here.
And, lastly, a YouTube video of Harry Mancini’s version of “Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe” — with cool period film footage of train travel — is here.
An article on the construction of the Denton and Dallas (White Rock) depots — “Work on New Santa Fe Depot To Start Here” (Denton Record-Chronicle, July 13, 1955) — is in a document uploaded to Dropbox, here.
DMN, Dec. 4, 1955
Click pictures for larger images.
Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.