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Houston Tap Railroad

George C. Werner General

Section 10 of an Act to Incorporate the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway Company authorized the City of Houston to build or have built a railroad to connect with or "to tap" the BBB&C. On January 26, 1856, the Texas Legislature gave the city permission to impose a one percent ad valorem tax on real and personal property as well as a license tax on "Taverns, Groceries, Barrooms, Tippling-Houses, Nine and Ten-Pin Allies and Billiard Tables" for the purpose of constructing a railroad, provided that the citizens of Houston approved such taxes at a special election. At the election held for that purpose on February 19, 1856, the railroad tax was approved by a margin of 250 to 15. Construction of the railroad, commonly called the Houston Tap, began on April 7 when Thomas S. Lubbock broke ground for the enterprise. William F. Kyle and Benjamin F. Terry were the contractors. The line began near the courthouse square, ran down San Jacinto Street to the corporate limits, and met the BBB&C at a point that was then simply called Junction, but later known as Pierce Junction. The 6½-mile-long railroad opened on October 21. It owned one locomotive, named for Houston mayor James H. Stevens, three freight cars, and a passenger car. Even as the line was being built, plans were underway to extend the railroad into Brazoria and Wharton counties. On September 1, 1856, the Houston Tap and Brazoria Railway Company was chartered and in June 1858 purchased the line from the City of Houston for $130,000 in stock and a loan of $42,000.

Time Periods:

  • Antebellum Texas


  • Houston

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

George C. Werner, “Houston Tap Railroad,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 26, 2020,

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