How Ballinger, Texas, Came to be
The city of Ballinger, Texas, in Runnels county, lies at the confluence of the Colorado River and Elm Creek. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway runs through the town. Ballinger was established when the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built westward out of Brownwood in 1886. Runnels City, the original county seat, campaigned for selection as the new railroad terminal but could not compete with the superior water supply offered at the future site of Ballinger, five miles to the south.
Extensive advertising in the Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Galveston newspapers brought 6,000 people to the sale of town lots in Ballinger on June 29, 1886. The 1.7-square-mile area was laid out in large lots, with a courthouse square and public park set aside for future use. Roughly half of the lots sold on the first day. To ensure the success of their new terminal, Santa Fe officials offered free property to anyone who would move a home from Runnels City to Ballinger and to any church that would erect a building.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, Kathryn Pinkney, "Ballinger, TX."
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