Stone Dam & Water Station

The most significant event that led to the formation of Allen was the construction of the Houston & Texas Central Railway (H&TC) from Galveston to Denison on the Red River through Houston and Allen in the mid-1870’s. The railroad greatly accelerated the growth of the area by facilitating the transport of people and agricultural products. Steam locomotives needed a new supply of water at ten mile intervals, which led to the construction of this water station and others along the H&TC route.

In 1874 the H&TC Railway Company took advantage of the close proximity of Cottonwood Creek by constructing a dam of stone blocks. The resulting impoundment and dam structure remain largely intact today. A “section” house was erected at the site to house immigrant rail workers, and a pumphouse was constructed to transfer water from the creek to an elevated storage tank on stone piers adjacent to the tracks on the other side of the creek. Water was in turn dispensed to the stopover locomotives. Except for the section house, the archaeological remains of these structures are still evident today. 

In 1912, the railroad determined that a higher dam was needed and constructed a concrete structure downstream of this site near the present location of Exchange Parkway. The enlarged reservoir created by this dam submerged the old 1874 dam, which was subsequently forgotten. Floodwaters eventually breached and eroded the high dam, lowering the impounded water surface and revealing the stone structure visible today.

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