Walnut Springs is at the junction of State Highway 144 and Farm roads 927 and 203, fifty-two miles northwest of Waco in northern Bosque County. It was founded in 1861 and was named Walnut for a nearby spring surrounded by walnut trees. Walnut became the headquarters of the Texas Central Railroad divisional machine shops when the railroad company built a line through the community in 1880–81. The machine shops burned in the 1920s, and the company did not rebuild them. The railroad was eventually discontinued. Central College was established in 1885 in Walnut and joined the public school system in 1892. A post office was established in 1883, and in 1892 the name was changed to Walnut Springs. The estimated population was 1,449 in 1925. It fell to 723 in 1939 and to 490 in 1961. Walnut Springs experienced a period of growth in the late 1970s, when the Comanche Peak Nuclear Plant was being constructed. The estimated population was 519 in 1978 and 613 in 1982. In 1990 it was 716. The population reached 755 in 2000.