Historic Town Square History
Lancaster, Texas
Historic Town Square Homepage 

(1840s) The area was originally settled in the early 1840's by a group of settlers in a small community know as Hard Scrabble just north of the current city of Lancaster. This area was obtained by Roderick Rawlins from the "Republic of Texas". A trading post was established by Mr. Madison Miller, the son-in-law of Mr. Rawlins and it became a trading center for south Dallas County.
In 1847 A Bledsoe arrived in the area from Lancaster, Kentucky.

(1850's) It was in 1852 that A Bledsoe from Lancaster Kentucky purchased 430 acres from the widow of Roderick Rawlins and staked out the town in the model of his home town. There was a traffic circle in the middle of the square with the streets entering the square from the middle of each side instead of at the corners. In 1853 A Bledsoe was selling lots and is said to have given most of them away to the former residents of Hard Scrabble.  Later Mr. Bledsoe served as Dallas County Judge and State Comptroller. Lancaster was incorporated in 1853. During this period stores, churches, school, tannery, cotton gin, grist mill and a carding mill were built in the area. During this early time Lancaster Square was a Farmers Market, depending on local agriculture and especially cotton for support of the local economy.

(1860's) During the Civil War (1862), a Confederate pistol factory was operated here, the Tucker, Sherrod & Company. They contracted with the state of Texas to manufacture replicas of the .44 caliber Colt Dragoon from a factory on West Main Street in Lancaster just out side the Main Street entrance to the square.
In 1860 the Post office was established in Lancaster with biweekly mail delivery.
PATRICK "PAT" GARRETT from Clairborne, Alabama arrived in Lancaster, Texas in 1869.

(1870's) PATRICK "PAT" GARRETT left Lancaster in 1876 after a young ladies hand was denied him by her father, the local sheriff. He moved to New Mexico where he became famous in 1881 as the sheriff who killed "BILLY THE KID" real name Henry McCarty also known as William Henry Bonney. He was a close friend of Billy who was referred to as Little Casino and Pat was called Big Casino. Once on a visit to Lancaster before his death in 1908, Garrett recalled Lancaster as "a wild and wooly place where everyone wore a gun unless he had two" and "there was a killing almost every week".
The first public well was dug in the Lancaster town square in 1876 to service both local and out of town visitors.

(1880's) The Dallas and Waco Railroad was built through Lancaster in 1888 with the depot opening at the entrance to the square.

(1890's) The Lancaster Tap Railroad was completed in 1890. In 1891 it became part of the Missouri-Kansa-Texas Railroad (MKT) line, running from Dallas to the Gulf Coast of Texas, and was bought out in 1905 by the H&TC and operated until 1934.

(1930's) On February 27, 1934 CLYDE BARROW, of BONNIE & CLYDE fame, robbed the R.P.Henry and Sons Bank that was located near the southeast corner of the town square. Bonnie Parker waited in the getaway car on Malloy Bridge Road while Clyde and Raymond Hamilton walked in and robbed the bank of $4,138 as reported by the Dallas Morning News on 2/28/34. This was the last bank robbed by Bonnie & Clyde.

History of mishaps
Fires destroyed parts of the square in 1877, 1889 and again in 1918, each time being promptly rebuilt. Storms destroyed parts of the city in 1936. On the night of April 25, 1994, an F4 tornado tore through Lancaster, killing three and injuring nearly 50 others. More than 250 homes and every building on the town square was heavily damaged or completely destroyed by the half mile wide tornado. On April 3, 2012, and F2 tornado struck the city and 300 structures were reported damaged. Through it all the square has continued to stand and rebuild with a dogged determination. With its admirable past of difficult time and notoriously difficult characters the square has continued on for the past 163+ years with no end in sight. Come by to visit those earlier days and times, shop the nostalgic stores or just stop and say Howdy. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Anyone possessing old photos of the square or businesses in it we would like to hear from you. Any documentation that you might have available would be appreciated. Contact Us

Merchants and Residents of the Lancaster Historic Town Square

Historic Town Square Photos


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