Cane Belt once essential to county transportation

Matagorda CountyTXGenWeb
The railroad depot at Matagorda. The line to Matagorda was closed in 1967.

From Historic Matagorda County and Wikipedia

   The Cane Belt Railroad Company, eventually to become the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe, was chartered on March 4, 1898, and was built south from Eagle Lake. 
   The charter was amended to call for an extension to the tidewater of the Gulf of Mexico via Bay City, Matagorda County’s new county seat. 
   The men who signed the charter were president Captain William Dunovant, vice president William T. Eldridge, secretary treasurer Thomas Boulden, directors Perry Clark, Osburn Green, E. P. Newsome and John W. Thatcher, and board members Rudolph Greenbaum, Frank P. Herbert and William Jasper McGee.
   The Cane Belt’s area was a major producer of sugarcane and the railroad was desired to ship sugar and other local crops to market. 
   Operating capital was $15,000 and headquarters were located in Eagle Lake. 
   It was generally thought that the Cane Belt had Freeport, at the mouth of the Brazos River, as its objective. 
   To forestall such an extension, it was said that the New York, Texas & Mexican Railway (eventually to become the Southern Pacific) built the Hawkinsville Branch beginning at Van Vleck. 
   The line was known as the “Hawkinsville Tap.”
   To obtain the Cane Belt service, it was necessary for Bay City to put up a bonus. The Townsite Company deeded a number of unsold lots to the railroad builders. 
   A.H. Pierce put up $5,000 as a further bonus, for which he also was given some lots.  
   Under the terms of the bonus, July 1, 1901 was the date set for the operation of the passenger train into Bay City. 

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