Early settlers to the area arrived in the early 1840s. Roderick Rawlins, Abram “Honest A” Bledsoe, and Thomas McKee Ellis were accompanied by sons-in-law Middleton Perry and Jones Greene in 1844 and brought with them the legendary quarter-mile running horse Steel Dust. Nearly a century later, Steel Dust would become one of the premier foundation stallions when the Quarter Horse registry was begun. In 1849 another horse of legend arrived in Lancaster when Jack Batchler brought Shiloh (also known as Old Shiloh) who helped establish many of the great bloodlines of the Texas strain of the Quarter Horse breed.
“A” Bledsoe is said to have initially surveyed and staked off the town in 1852 on the 430-acre Rawlins survey, modeling it after his hometown of Lancaster, Kentucky.
In 1888, a horse of a different kind came to Lancaster – the Iron Horse. That year Lancaster’s Train Depot opened as a stop on the Dallas and Waco Railroad. The Depot was originally located on East Main Street, slightly north of its current location at Centre and Pecan. In 1891, the railroad became part of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (MKT) line and ran all the way to the Texas Gulf coast. Another rail line, the Lancaster Tap Railroad, a 4-1/2 mile connection, was constructed in 1890 to connect the Dallas-Houston line of the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company at Hutchins to the MKT line. It operated for forty-four years.
You can learn more about Lancaster’s history in the book compiled by the Lancaster Historical Society. It details the rich history of our city from it’s origins to 1915. The book features more than 200 images from the LHS collection and from local residents. The book may be purchased online, at the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more.
These homes have received Historical Landmark designation from the Lancaster Historical Society.
The Hinkle Home
|This restored cottage is the only known “Sears” house in Lancaster. It was built in the 1920’s for returning WWI soldier Richard Allen Daniels, Jr. Between 1908 and 1940, the giant American retailer Sears, Roebuck and Company sold ready to assemble house kits known as Sears Modern Homes. The kits were ordered directly from the catalogue and arrived by rail car. A typical house could fit in two boxcars along with all the necessary supplies. The kit also included a leather bound portfolio for the plans and instructions. This house is Sears model #125 “Starlight” which sold for $1,424.00 without a bathroom or $1,543.00 with a bathroom.|
The Darby-Henry Home
|Rene Paul Henry, originally from France, and his family becam prominent and influential in early Lancaster’s civic, business, cultural, and religious circles. One of his sons, Joseph Knox Henry bought the newly constructed Texas Prairie style house in 1925. The house was built originally by Henry Darby, then Mayor of Lancaster.|
The R.P. Henry Jr. House
|R.P. Henry Jr. built this house in 1911 with Bill Pinson and GAston Pool who then lived in the house. The house has been owned by several families. Extensive remodeling by the current owners brought the house back to it’s original Prairie Style elegance. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with added seasonal color and decorations and is once again the site for outdoor gatherings.|
More Historic Sites and Resources
Lancaster Historical Society’s list of historic sites of Lancaster
Lancaster Historical Society web posts about historical sites and local history
Dallas County Historic Commission’s 1998 Dallas County Historic Resource Survey – Part1-Overview Part2-Resource List
University of North Texas’s Portal to Texas History
Jim Wheat’s Dallas County Texas Archives
Interactive map from the Texas Historic Commission