It’s hard to think of Flatonia and not think of the railroad. The town’s history is steeped in railroad lore. In fact, the railroad was viewed as such an important factor in the future growth and development of the community, city leaders in 1874 moved the town approximately one mile from its original site and rebuilt along the old Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio rail lines.
Soon after relocating, Flatonia began to flourish. New businesses were opened and new residents began populating the peaceful little community. At the same time, European immigrants moved to the area and began developing open pastures into fertile farms and thriving ranches. So promising was Flatonia’s offering that in 1887 the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railway extended its north/south line through the community, making it one of the few rail parks in the country with lines leading in all four directions.
When rail activity was at its peak in Flatonia, city streets were lined with passenger and freight depots and other railroad related buildings, including a switching tower that still stands today. Freight from the trains supplied Flatonia businesses and residents with nearly every essential commodity needed for their daily existence, whether it was for home, farm or ranch. Located halfway between San Antonio and Houston, Flatonia is one of the few locations in the United States that has an interlocker where train routes can travel not only East/West but also North/South.
Today, Flatonia continues to be a strong and viable community. It’s a community of hard working people…people who appreciate their heritage and relish their history. For that reason, the Flatonia Rail Park and Central Texas Rail History Center were established. By keeping the spirit of the rails alive in Flatonia, residents and visitors have the opportunity to share the history and impact the railroad has had on the community.