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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Feb. 20, 2006

New Marker Recalls 1889 Railroad Near State Park Trailway

MINERAL WELLS, Texas — A new state historical marker near Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway will commemorate the history of the Weatherford, Mineral Wells and Northwestern railroad line that opened Mineral Wells and surrounding areas to the world.

The marker will be dedicated in a ceremony at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 18, in western Parker County five miles east of Mineral Wells and 13 miles west of Weatherford on the south side of Highway 180.

The marker location is very near one of the early train’s most important stops, the Rock Creek Coal Mines, located near Maddox Road and the Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway bridge about one mile east of the Mineral Wells city limits.

The historical marker was the inspiration of Jean D. Baker of Weatherford. Baker, 85, researched and submitted a history of the railroad to the Texas Historical Commission for the marker in honor of his father, Perry Baker, who served for 32 years on the railroad as section chief. The Texas Department of Transportation is creating and placing a highway sign for the historical marker.

The railroad was established in 1889 to connect Mineral Wells and areas to the northwest with the Texas and Pacific Railroad Line in Weatherford. The railroad provided freight exports of agriculture, coal and brick from this area while bringing thousands of health-seekers to Mineral Wells for the curative waters.

The old railroad corridor is now preserved as the Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway, a recreational hike, bike and equestrian trail. When the railroad operations ceased in 1991, the corridor was converted to a trail as part of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway is operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The park is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week year-round. Daily entrance fees are $5 per adult over age 12. For more information, see the park Web site or phone the park at (940) 328-1171.

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