courtesy M.M. Harris, 2007
in a Pecan Shell
Lime City is one of only a handful of towns that grew
around a local industry. In this case the industry was the production
of lime and the year was 1880.
Ben Friend was the man producing the lime and the community (formed
mainly of plant workers and their families) was a stop on the St.
Louis Southwestern Railroad.
While the lime was being produced, Lime City was a town to be respected.
Trains stopped and the name was well-known in Coryell
and McLennan Counties.
But as the quality of the product declined, so did the town’s population.
By 1940 Lime City was a whistle stop on the railroad and the population
was a mere 24 residents.
The former general store and a kiln where the lime was fired are still
in place, although both are ruins. The former town is now private
property and a company in Waco
still extracts rock from the former town.
and photos by M.M. Harris
A Coryell County
has been about a month since my last adventure in the back country
of Coryell County,
and I have been itching to go out to test my wilderness survival skills
and increase my knowlegde of the history and anthropology of my home
county in Texas.
My new friend, Bob, wanted to come with me for a short afternoon exploration
and so we met up in McGregor at 3pm.
From there, we went straight to Oglesby,
Texas and found some old men playing dominos in the shade of a
ramshackle building. We sauntered up to them and asked if they could
direct us to the site of Lime City. They paused for a moment to look
up and down, as if to sniff us out a bit as I doubt many people come
through asking for the location of a city that hasn't been a city
in more than six decades.
After a moment of standing and smiling in the Texas sun, the closest
fellow to me gave us directions by landmarks. "Go down that road there,
and just before you get to the cemetery, there'll be a cattle guard
on the right with a pole-fence gate. Could be locked right now, but
nobody's gonna shoot you out there." We thanked him and nodded our
goodbyes to the other old timers still eyeing us warily from under
archaic trucker caps.
Their directions were very good and before very long, we were on land
for a concrete quarry owned by the nice people at the Lehigh company.
We followed an eighteen-wheeler over the cattle guard and past the
gate that was clearly marked NO TRESPASSING. We continued on, hoping
to find someone who could grant us permission.
We followed the trucks about 2 miles into the interior of the quarry
land, passing a dilapidated quarry and several offshoot roads. We
came to stop at the main quarry and watched as some huge front end
loaders dumped heaping piles of material into the backs of the eighteen-wheelers.
We decided it would be better for us NOT to talk to the truck drivers
and to just wave. We went back to the offshoot roads to find some
one who wasn't so busy and might grant permission.
The first offshoot road led to a corrugated tin shed and a 1970s travel
trailer. No dice. The next offshoot road yielded paydirt. The first
thing we found was the begining of the old Cotton Belt Route Railroad
spur which led to Gatesville before 1930.
We also found that the old railroad trestle was still standing.
|Cotton Belt Railroad
Trestle in Lime City
| We happened
to glance to our right and noticed a wall behind the overgrowth. The
wall turned out to be the ruins of the old General Store. I'd like
to note that to my knowledge, Lime City has never been photographed
or documented. I believe we are the first people to photograph the
town since its demise. This was very exciting to me - especially since
I have been looking for this lost town for as long as I can remember.
|The main structure
in Lime City
of the building suprisingly remained intact over the years of overgrowth.
The roof was long gone, and it was impossible to tell what kind of
roof originally covered the building, and the floor was littered with
what looked like old metal oil cans (large and small) and some metal
Here is a view from inside the General Store:
|View from inside
the old general store building
|We decided to
push further down the path to see if we could find more buildings.
Again, we almost missed this massive rock and brick structure due
to the overgrowth.
| We believe this
was a kiln for firing bricks. Bricks scattered in the area were imprinted
with names for several different companies, and so we deduced that
this was a firing kiln for bricks.
The kiln was MASSIVE and looked like some sort of ancient Maya temple.
Both the north and the south sides of the kiln had apertures that
looked like fireplaces. I crawled inside of one and looked up, and
insisted that Bob come look too. The fact that such a structure has
survived for so many years amazed me.
Here's a look at the interior of the kiln smokestack:
|Looking up the
|Behind the kiln
was a half-cave. We climbed up to check it out but the resident spiders
were not happy to be disturbed. We climbed above the cavern to look
for more buildings, but there weren't any.
It was starting to get late, and we worried that we might get locked
in before getting the permission we needed, so we made a quick look
around the abandoned quarry and high- tailed it out of there. We made
our escape just in the nick of time, as a pick up truck came up right
behind us and locked the gate mere moments after we exited the private
land. It was a little too late for permission so we continued on to
search for Pancake, Texas.
I called a friend of my parents to see if he could take us out to
Pancake, and maybe give us some pointers as to where the Pancake Mine
was. Unfortunately, he was out of pocket and so we made our way out
to try to find Pancake on our own.
Again, we managed to trespass on some unsuspecting farmers' land,
with no one in sight to grant permission.
Here's what we found in Pancake:
M.M. Harris, 2007
First Published November 23. 2007
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