History of Bowie

Bowie, Texas is only one of the many hundreds of towns throughout the nation that owe their founding to the building of the railroads in certain areas. As for Bowie being established in this exact location, it was primarily due to a delay in the building of the Fort Worth and Denver City roadbed on which the rails would be placed. In early 1882, this delay enabled a large group of workers and salesmen to establish quarters about a quarter mile south of this location. This group proved to be the foundation settlement along and adjacent to the roadbed and a little later on along Smythe and Mason Streets. Another thing that favored the founding of a town at this location in addition to the delay was the fact that this location would remain a railhead for supplies and construction until such time that the railroad would be completed to Wichita Falls. In 1883 the town had five saloons, three livery stables, 45 to 50 business houses, such as ten dry goods stores, eight grocery stores, two hardware stores, one tin shop, two drugstores, three blacksmith shops, two restaurants, one watchmaker and jeweler and two market houses.

Mr. D.C. Allen was the first mayor of Bowie when it was incorporated on October 29, 1883. Mr. Allen built the two-story building on the corner of Mason and Tarrant Street in 1895.

The first graduating Senior Class of the Bowie Public School graduated in 1897 with 7 students. Mr. Mose Johnson established a small chicken hatchery in 1904 and from this small beginning developed the largest White Leghorn Chicken Ranch in the world.

One of the first automobiles to arrive in Bowie was purchased by Mr. C.H. Boedeker, who was the Mayor. This was just in time as the streets were being paved with brick in 1908.

Bowie boasted a large group of Civil War Veterans and they had a strong organization called Bowie Pelham Camp Number 572 United Confederate Veterans. For many years they met in Pelham Park for their reunions. Bowie's first opera house was located on Smythe Street and was situated near the alley between Wise and Montague Streets. They produced many fine plays and other theatre type shows. The second and last location was on the upper story of the building in which Main Street and EDC are located. After it closed this upper floor was used for a business college. In early 1957, the new lake was completed and named Amon G. Carter Lake.

In 1883 Bowie had a population of 1,100 and today is a population of 5,218.