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LIME CITY, TEXAS

Texas Ghost Town
Coryell County, North Central Texas

2 Miles S of Oglesby
15 SE of Gatesville
Private property. Not on State Map
Population: 0

Lime City Area Hotels - Book Here : Gatesville Hotels

Kiln in Lime City, Texas
Photo courtesy M.M. Harris, 2007
History 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.

Desperately Seeking Permission
A Coryell County Adventure

Text and photos by M.M. Harris
It 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 Lime City Texas
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.
Lime City Texas General store
The main structure in Lime City
The perimeter 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 cords.

Here is a view from inside the General Store:
View from inside the old general store building ruin, Lime City Texas
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.
Lime City Texas Wall of Kiln
Wall of the kiln
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 kiln smokestack
Looking up the kiln smokestack
Inside the kiln smokestack, Lime City Texas
Inside of kiln
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:
Pancake Texas cornfield
Cornfield in Pancake
Copyright M.M. Harris, 2007
First Published November 23. 2007

See
Coryell County
TX Coryell County 1920s Map
Coryell County 1920s Map showing Lime City SE of Gatesville
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
Lime City, Texas
Area Destinations:

Gatesville
See Coryell County
See North Central Texas
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