I was honored to be included in this special event. This a beautiful location and the City of Allen has done a great job enhancing the whole area.
Article from Star Local Media:
An historic Allen landmark has gotten its proper shrift.
The city of Allen on Saturday performed a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the historic Allen Water Station Trail Loop. City dignitaries including Mayor Stephen Terrell, City Manager Peter Vargas and Allen City Council members unveiled a new, soft-surface recreational walking loop complete with signage detailing the history and importance of the old stone dam, as well as a pre-fabricated steel bridge that crosses Cottonwood Creek and provides access to the old water station.
“We’re in the most historic place in Allen, Texas, believe it or not,” Terrell said. “This is where Allen all began, right here at the old stone dam.”
Built in 1874 and located just north of Exchange Parkway and east of U.S. Highway 75, the dam is given credit for Allen becoming a town. Old steam locomotives on the Houston and Texas Central Railway stopped at Allen’s water station to pump in water backed up by the dam to power the trains. Were it not for the existence of the railroad and water dam, Allen may never have become the bustling suburb it is today.
“It was virgin territory until the railroad decided that they needed to come through,” Vargas said. “The railroad surveyed the property to come through and they basically surveyed the areas around it and that’s how the city of Allen was first surveyed and laid out.”
“This is really kind of the foundation of the city of Allen being a water stop for steam trains and how Allen came to be,” added Cheryl Williams, Collin County commissioner.
The dam is designated by the Texas Historical Commission as a state archaeological landmark and is believed to be the only railroad water reservoir left in the United States.
What’s amazing is that as important as the water station is to Allen’s history, many of its residents didn’t have a clue about its existence.
Patrick Moore, who frequents the Cottonwood Creek Trail, said he always heard the water but he never knew about the dam.
“Having it right open like this along with the history like this, it’s a really nice place to go,” he said.
For runners, walkers, bikers or people just walking their dog, the trailhead at the new bridge serves as a nice resting point for a trail that now extends under U.S. 75 and all the way to the StarCreek subdivision. Taking a breather provides trail users with an opportunity to read interpretive signs, observe a piece of Allen history or just take in the natural calming effects of the woods and creek running below.
“We’ve kind of kept it in its natural state to an extent. You feel like you’re back when Allen began,” Terrell said.