RUDOLPH L. BIESELE, Editor
Gulf to Rockies: The Heritage of the Fort Worth and Denver-
Colorado and Southern Railways, 1861-1898. By Richard
C. Overton. Austin (University of Texas Press), i953-
Pp. xiii+410o. $5.00.
When in 1882 the offices of the Decatur (Texas) Independent
were gutted by fire, C. L. Frost, superintendent of the I 1 o-mile-
long Fort Worth and Denver City Railway, shipped the newspaper
a new press and equipment free of all freight charges. "Corpora-
tions may generally have no souls," the grateful editor observed,
"but the F. W. & D. C. Ry. Co. has. Theirs is the best railroad in
the state anyway, and if Col. Frost ever has any fighting to do up
in this neck of the woods, we'll help hire a man to do it if we
can't do it ourself."
While not all Texans felt this strongly about the railroad that
was inching its acclivous way toward the New Mexico boundary
in the latter 19th century, its builders and operators realized that
the area between Fort Worth and the upper Panhandle was ripe
for service and consequently ripe for profit-seeking by whatever
transportation line would tap its resources. At the same time-
in fact from the beginning of the Civil War onward-an identical
realization had formed in the minds of Coloradoans, so that a
line southward had been projected from Denver. It is the story
of these two lines, one working northwestward from Fort Worth,
the other south-southeastward from Denver, that Professor Rich-
ard C. Overton has told with a rare mixture of gusto and
completeness in Gulf to Rockies.
Two railroads then, the Fort Worth and Denver City, and
the Colorado and Southern, set out to meet each other and to
bring the products and people of the high plains and Rockies in
intimate economic relationship with the products and people of
the Southern littoral. A simple story of agreeing on a meeting
place and then proceeding to the rendezvous point, it would seem.
But Professor Overton's story is not that simple. It is instead a
picture of intricate intrigue painted on a canvas of oftentimes
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 57, July 1953 - April, 1954. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101152/. Accessed March 3, 2015.