Twenty seven dollars for an acre of land seemed like a lot of money in 1881, but Jonathan Ewing Moore managed to sell 181 acres at that price to the railroad. The Santa Fe needed a central junction point for the hundreds of miles of track that were beginning to spread throughout the state.
Trains brought prospective buyers from five different cities to the land auction held on June 29, 1881. In true Texas style, a party and a barbecue highlighted the event. Named after chief engineer Bernard M. Temple, the man responsible for building the tracks through Bell County, a town was born that day.
The Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway became a major employer for Temple and in 1891 built the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railway Hospital. In early 1892, Dr. Arthur Carroll Scott & Dr. Raleigh R. White, Jr., arrived in Temple to work in the hospital. The doctors saw a need for medical services that reached beyond the railroad workers to the town residents. In 1904, the doctors opened the Temple Sanitarium, which gave rise to one of the fastest-growing healthcare systems in the 20th century, Baylor Scott & White Health.
Temple is a city built on success stories like that of the two visionary doctors. The world headquarters of McLane Company and Wilsonart International are located here, because the founders of these enterprises built their legacy in Temple. Baylor Scott & White Health continues its phenomenal growth today with a multi-million dollar expansion of the facility. Its alignment with Texas A&M University Health Science Center as a teaching hospital is an example of the unique educational opportunities offered in Temple.
These organizations are just a part of Temple’s solid economic foundation. Diversity is the key to the thriving billion-dollar business sector, composed of a strong industrial base of manufacturing, medical services and education.
Today, 125 years after its birth, Temple still enjoys the distinction of being the demographic center of Texas. With the major cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio less than three hours away, it is the transportation center as well. In fact, 84 percent of the state’s population is within three hours of the Temple city limits.
Temple uniquely offers the best aspects of two worlds: the conveniences of big-city dwelling with the atmosphere of a small town. Instead of traffic jams that provide the background noise of the morning commute in a metropolis, you just might here the strains of the “Leave it to Beaver” theme song playing on your car radio. A home to visionaries and dreamers who saw the fulfillment of their aspirations, Temple offers a bright future to those fortunate enough to live within this community of growth and opportunity.