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    TEMPLE, TEXAS

    Bell County, North Central Texas
    I-35 and Highways 190, 95 and 53
    50 miles N of Austin
    9 miles NE of Belton
    33 miles SE of Cawford
    36 miles S of Waco
    126 miles S of Dallas

    Population: 54,514 ( 2000) 46,150 (1990)

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    locomotive in Temple Texas
    Locomotive at Temple's recently restored Santa Fe Depot

    TE Photo
    Not the Courthouse

    We would bet that over the years there have been arguments over Temple's being the seat of Bell County. People passing through the center of downtown and not paying close attention could easily swear they saw the courthouse. That's because the Municipal Building sits exactly where one would expect a courthouse to be. It more than resembles a courthouse and is more imposing than many courthouses we could name.

    Santa Fe Depot Railroad and Heritage Museum interior
    Santa Fe Depot Railroad and Heritage Museum in Temple

    Interior
    TE Photo, October 2000

    Santa Fe Depot Railroad and Heritage Museum

    The dazzlingly new Santa Fe Depot Railroad and Heritage Museum is a short walk from the square at 315 West Avenue B (across from the police station). It is also a functioning station, with two trains daily.

    Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 to 4:00, Sundays 12:00 to 4:00. Phone: 254-298-5172

    Construction on the Santa Fe Depot began in August 1909, and was completed January 29, 1911. The initial cost was more than $200,000.

    The depot is a textbook example of Prairie-Beaux Arts architecture. It is featured in Jay C. Henry's Architecture in Texas 1895 - 1945, University of Texas Press, 1993. Worthy of note is the Santa Fe's trademark - a cross in a circle - here formed by common brick.

    In 1989 Santa Fe vacated the building, but AMTRAK stayed until the early 90's. When they left, the building was totally abandoned.

    In 1995 the City of Temple purchased the building and roughly 8 acres of land around the depot. A grant application was submitted in 1996 for funds from the Texas Department of Transportation. The $2.4 Million was approved for the depot's restoration which began in September 1999, and was completed in August 2000.

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    Our thanks to Museum Archivist Craig Ordner for supplying us with the above information for the depot.


    Santa Fe Depot, Temple Texas
    The Santa Fe Depot
    formerly of Moody, Texas


    Photo by John Troesser, October 2000

    The Santa Fe Depot

    In addition to the new Railroad & Heritage Museum previously mentioned, Temple also has the Santa Fe Depot from the McClennan County town of Moody. Plans have been made to move this depot to the site of the new museum early next year, perhaps before. It is possible that it would be converted into a restaurant. All of it's exhibits have been moved to the new museum and is not open to the public at this time. Here's a photo to satisfy your curiosity in case you've read this far.

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    Temple Texas downtown stabilized facades

    Temple street scene
    A fine example of creative preservation


    Photo by John Troesser, October 2000
    Creative Preservation

    Downtown Temple also has a somewhat busy, but well executed mural one and a half blocks south of the square.

    The big preservation news is the stabilized facades just south and east of the square. Several old buildings were in such disrepair that they had to go. The brickwork on the upper portion of the buildings was worth saving though, so with ingenuity, hard work and the desire to save what they could, they came up with a solution that many other towns in Texas could benefit from.

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    Hotel Doering

    Temple's Hotel Doering, later known as the Hotel Hawn
    .

    TE postcard archive

    In addition to the fascinating history of the Hotel Kyle, Temple had another major hotel just a few blocks away.

    Temple's Doering Hotel aka The Hotel Hawn - next page

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    Temple Texas Theater



    Texas Theatre in Temple

    TE Photo, October 2000
    Arcadia Theatre in Temple Texas
    "[The Arcadia] was the most popular theatre in town - which meant it had the biggest crowds." ... more
    TE Photo, October 2000
    Arcadia Theater

    Next to the Doering, sits the entrance to the Arcadia Theater. We didn't say the theater was there; we said the entrance was. That's because one would enter here and walk back the length of the hotel until one reached the viewing area.

    Current efforts are being made toward the restoration of the Arcadia Theater.

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    Books, Tunnels and the shooting of "Snub"

    We talked with the owner of The Book Cellar Bob Jones, and learned quite a bit about downtown. The The Book Cellar is on the South side of the "square" and, as the name suggests, it's below street level. The address is 3 West Central and their phone number is 254-773-7545. (They have a good under-priced Texana section, but don't tell everybody). Mr. Jones has filed away many of the stories of early Temple told to him by his customers, who remember when the Cellar was a speakeasy. Bob has heard the story many times of the shooting of a man with the unglamorous name of "Snub." Snub was shot, but managed to catch a taxi to King's Daughter's Hospital where he pulled though. There was at least one killing there -"right about where non-fiction is now." Maybe it's true - maybe not. Truth is sometimes stranger than non-fiction.
    (Reader's Email: In the section about the cellar bookstore...... The name of that bookstore is "The Book Cellar" My kids think it's a real treat to go there! I enjoy your website! - Paula Jones, August 06, 2008

    Temple Tunnels: Myth or Fact?

    While we're on the subject of non-fiction vs. fiction - Mr. Jones told us of a tunnel system that runs through several blocks of downdown. It seems that the old Temple High School generated enough steam from their boilers to sell the surplus to other downtown buildings, including the Kyle and Doering Hotels and the Arcadia Theater. The pipes were of course underground. Steam through iron pipe means condensation and rust and so tunnels were dug alongside the pipes for maintenance. Several entrances to these tunnels were scattered around the downtown area - one of them under the sidewalk next to the front door of The Cellar Bookstore. It is now bricked up and padlocked. Jones had an older man tell him that as a boy he knew the way from the basement of the Kyle to the backstage area of the Arcadia. Other citizens of Temple dismiss these stories as fiction. We have a feeling these people were the ones that had to pay full price to see the movies.

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    The Carnegie Library in Temple, Texas
    Temple built its library in 1902. Although this building burned in 1918 it is partially responsible for the well oiled machine that is the Temple Library today. ... more

    Bird's Creek by Clay Coppedge
    "... Part of Bell County history and mythology centers on John Bird who was felled by an arrow fired from 200 yards away at the Battle of Bird's Creek in what is now the middle of Temple. The creek - really a ravine - where the battle happened was named in Bird's honor, posthumously. If the Indians had won, the creek probably would have been named for the archer..." more

    Lanky and the POWs by Clay Coppedge
    Mildred "Lanky" Lancaster
    "Her contributions to women's sports in Central Texas have been immeasurable. The softball field at Temple High School was dedicated in her honor last year."

    Harvey Girls by Delbert Trew
    "A fact most significant to the history of the West is that approximately 100,000 girls signed up to work for Fred Harvey from 1901 to about 1944."

    "My mother was a Harvey Girl, working approximately two years in the Harvey House Restaurant in Temple." more

    King of the Hill by Clay Coppedge
    Rumors that the fictional town of Arlen, home of the characters on the Fox TV show "King of the Hill," is inspired by or based on Temple have been not exactly rampant, but they are at least persistent... more

    Nearby Destinations
    I-35 South 9 miles to Belton, furthur to Salado
    I-35 South 50 miles to Austin
    I-35 North 36 miles to Waco
    Hwy 36 NW 15 miles to the ghost town of The Grove

    Temple Tourist Information

  • Temple Chamber of Commerce
    2 N. 5th (76501) PO Box 158 (76503) Temple, Texas
    Phone: (254) 773-2105 | Fax: (254) 773-0661
    Email: temple@templetx.org
    http://www.temple-tx.org/
  • Temple Visitor's & Convention Bureau - 254-298-5720
    2 North Main Street
  • City website: www.ci.temple.tx.us

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  • Temple Texas Forum

  • Subject: Jayton and Temple Tractor Factories
    Looking for Information on either the Piasa Tractor Company of Jayton, Texas or the Prairie Queen Tractor Mfg. Company of Temple, Texas. The Jayton company was incorporated in 1913 to build tractors, but no other information is known. As far as the Prairie Queen Tractor Company of Temple, In the early 1920s, the Prairie Queen 8-16 tractor (using a Gray Victory engine), appeared on the market, but for unknown reasons it left the market in or after 1922. It was priced at $765. Other than that no other details about the company or its tractor have been located. - Jim White, Liberty Hill, Texas, September 16, 2006


  • The Kyle Hotel in Temple, Tx
    This is an update on the Kyle Hotel in Temple Tx. It was renovated in 1991 to be used for housing for the elderly, handicapped-disabled, and low income households. Residents pay 30% of their adjusted income per month. Each apartment is furnished with a stove and refrigerator in the kitchen. Central air and heat is supplied. All bills--utilities, water, sewer, garbage--are included in the rent. Cable, phone, Internet are the responsibility of each resident, as desired. There are 64 apartments in the building. They consist of 1 and 2 bedrooms and efficiency size apartments. These apartments are unfurnished. I moved in to The Kyle in 1991, moved out for one year, returned to The Kyle, and have been living here since. We have Meals-on-Wheels lunches here Monday through Friday. We enjoy conversation in the lobby, pool and ping-pong, music, cards, checkers, and dominoes in the "Game Room". We celebrate birthdays each month with cake and ice cream and have potluck suppers on special days--holidays. We have "Saturday Morning Brunches" with coffee, hot chocolate, and donuts and "Movie Night" every other Wednesday, with popcorn, drinks, and sandwiches. We have fund raisers several times a year to help defray the costs of parties, dinners, movies, and other various activities. All in all we are a Community--made up of many different individuals from many different backgrounds and customs. But we are in a sense a Family too. We care about each person that lives in The Kyle by checking on them if they have not be seen for a day or two. We make sure that each person has food, clothing, and other necessities. If one of us is in need of something that someone else cannot or does not have, we will help that person in need to locate it through an agency what is needed. I do enjoy living here and will do so as long as my health holds out. Thank you for including The Kyle Building in your website. - Karen Lary, The Kyle Hotel Building, Temple, Texas, June 15 2004


  • Temple, My Hometown
    What a joy it was for me to read about my hometown, Temple, Texas. The photos brought back many wonderful memories.

    I was born in the Scott & White Hospital (1943) when it was between Ave M and the Santa Fe Rail Road tracks. My dad was an employee of the Santa Fe Roundhouse and worked on the steam engines. We lived in an rock house that still stands in the shadow of the South Side Water Tower, one of two towers Temple had at the time.

    When I was in Temple High school, I landed my first job. My best friend and I worked for the Temple Theater as cashiers. Her uncle owned the Texas and Arcadia. The work consisted of one shift on Thursday and Friday and two on Saturday and Sunday. I worked three shifts and saw some great movies. One was "Porgy and Bess". I guess I remember it because it was the first all Black film I had seen - and it was a musical.

    When the Arcadia needed relief cashiers we were asked to work. I was scared to work the Arcadia because it was the most popular theatre in town - which meant it had the biggest crowds. This meant I'd have to do a better job than at the Texas. I saw movies at the Arcadia like "Pillow Talk", "Picnic" and I even saw my first 3-D movie there. The name of the movie escapes me, but I remember wearing the glasses and the arrows coming out of the screen straight at me. The Municipal building stood in the center of town and I remember sketching it on slow days. It was the only important building I could see from the cashier's booth.

    The locomotive that is on display in Temple today was the one that took us to California. My father's passes were only for chair cars so we had to sleep in our seats. Fortunately, I met some people my own age and we explored the whole train from the club car clear back to the end where we watched the tracks disappear from view. It was my first lesson in perspective.

    I haven't gone back to Temple since my mother passed away, but my memories of growing up in that wonderful town will stay with me forever. - Linda (Thomas) Hass, La Grange, Texas, January, 2004

  • I can not begin to tell you how pleased I was to see the marque of the Arcadia a feature and to learn it is being restored. Many, many summer afternoons, my sister and I went to Temple with my father. He was going to the cattle auctions and we went to the movie at the Arcadia. I have fond memories of those days. Yes, I remember the long aisle leading into the screen room - where the curtains were pulled and the movie began. We saw Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, Jean Harlow, Katherine Hepburn, Lana Turner and all the wonderful old movie stars entertain us for an afternoon We lived at Blevins (in Falls County) and just going to Temple was a treat - but going to the movie a joy. I hope to see more of the Arcadia in future issues. Thank you. Lena Stone Criswell (Albuquerque, NM), Saturday, May 19, 2001


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