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Kendall County TX
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Texas Ghost Town
Kendall County, Texas Hill Country

30° 8' 23" N, 98° 49' 9" W (30.139722, -98.819167)

County Road off of FM 473
12 Miles S of Fredericksburg
2 miles S of Grapetown
13 Miles NE of Comfort
E of Kerrville
W of Blanco
N of Boerne
Population: Unknown

Bankersmith, Texas Area Hotels:
Boerne Hotels | Fredericksburg Hotels

Bankersmith, Texas - Train emerging from Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel
The train emerging from The Fredericksburg and Northern R.R. Tunnel
1920s photo courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection

History in a Pecan Shell

Bankersmith’s history began with the arrival of the San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railroad in 1913. The route was between Fredericksburg and Comfort and the uneven terrain necessitated a tunnel – one of two in the state.

The unusual name was for Temple D. Smith, who was indeed a banker. As president of Fredericksburg’s first bank, Mr. Smith knew the opportunities that a railroad offered and became an ardent supporter (and financier).

The town received a post office in 1914, but it was sometimes unclear in which county it was listed. Depending on the abode of the postmaster, it was sometimes in Kendall County and sometimes in Gillespie.

Bankersmith reached its apex in the 1920s when it had a population nearing 50 people. By 1930 the number of residents had fallen to a mere 10 residents. Five years later the railroad had gone broke and the post office closed its doors in the 1940s.

After WWII people left in search of better-paying work and the number of residents fell to only 20 people. The most noteworthy feature around Bankersmith is the old railroad tunnel – a man-made sanctuary for thousands of bats.

Bankersmith TX - Post Office
Bankersmith Post Office
June 2020 photo © Michael Barr
More Texas Post Offices

Bankersmith Today

A Traffic Jam in Bankersmith 8-15-20

by Michael Barr

"... For 50 years Bankersmith was a ghost town.

Then in 2013 Austin businessman Doug Guller saw Bankersmith for sale on Craigslist. He bought it hoping to turn the place into a tourist destination. Guller remodeled some rustic buildings and renamed the town Bikinis, Texas after his sports bar and restaurant chain." Read full article

Bankersmith name sake

Banker Smith by Michael Barr

"Banker Smith is best remembered as the driving force behind the Fredericksburg Railroad. He spent years of his life and a considerable part of his wealth, bringing the railroad to town.

The railroad honored Banker Smith by naming a stop after him. The town of Bankersmith... once had a depot, post office, store, lumberyard, garage and dancehall." Read full article

Bankersmith, Texas - Train coming through Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel
Coming through Fredericksburg and Northern R.R. Tunnel
Postcard circa1912 courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection

Directions to the Old Railroad Tunnel
From The Fredericksburg & Northern Railroad by C. F. Eckhardt

"Today, if you follow FM 1376 from San Antonio to Sisterdale, then take FM 473 west and go beyond the road to Waring, you'll find where an old but still paved road forms (or used to form) a T intersection with 473. If you turn north and follow the road and the bed of Black Creek, you will be paralleling the route of the F&N, and just about the time you reach the ghost town of Hillingdon you'll see, crossing the creek, the remains of the F&N's longest trestle. Just north of that the road crosses almost directly over the top of it and there is an historical marker you'll find the hill country's only railroad tunnel.

The tunnel is still there, all 920 feet of it inhabited, in the fall, winter, and spring, by millions of bats. The bat flight from the tunnel at dusk resembles rising smoke. During late spring, summer, and early fall, it's home to more rattlesnakes than you'll ever want to meet in one place again."

San Antonio Hotels

Bankersmith, Texas - Train emerging from Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel
The train emerging from The Fredericksburg and Northern R.R. Tunnel
1920s photo courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection

Bankersmith, Texas - Looking through Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel
A couple from Yorktown Texas on a sightseeing trip
1920s photo courtesy Will Beauchamp Collection

Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel ,Texas today
The Fredericksburg and Northern Railway tunnel today
Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, November 2007

Bats in Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Tunnel
"The light at the end of the tunnel...
and about a million bats!"

Terry Jeanson, November 2007

1940s Map of Gillespie, Blanco, and Kendall counties, Texas
1940s map showing Bankersmith in Kendall County
near Gillespie County Line

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

1940s Map of Kendall county, Texas
1920s map showing Bankersmith in Gillespie County
just N of Kendall County line
S of Fredericksburg, N of Boerne
Near Luckenbach and Mt Alamo

Courtesy Texas General Land Office

Take a road trip
Texas Hill Country

Bankersmith, Texas Nearby Towns:
Boerne | Fredericksburg | Grapetown | Comfort
See Kendall County | Gillespie County

Book Hotel Here:
Boerne Hotels | Fredericksburg Hotels | More Hotels

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