The Railroad in Poth, Texas

Poth is a small community south of Floresville in Wilson County with approximately 2,000 residents today. The origin of the community stems from a decision of the railroad in 1887 to avoid Helena, then the seat of Karnes County. (That story is on the main SA&AP page.) What is worth mentioning is that Helena was the only existing community of any size on the new rail line. Floresville was a creation of the railroad and so was Poth.
Original San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad depot in Poth. It was most likely lost to fire, as so many were.
 
San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Poth, Texas
2nd Southern Pacific railroad depot in Poth
Poth was not a part of the SA&AP's initial plans for communities along its tracks. What they did build, however, was a water tower and a siding and the location simply called Marcelina switch. The area was once part of a large cattle ranch. The grass is the region is good and there is usually a good supply of water as the town site is in between the San Antonio and Cibolo rivers. A cattle pen and loading platform was built which also accommodated the plentiful cotton production in the area.
Southern Pacific train arriving at the railroad depot in Poth.
 
San Antonio and Aransas Pass locomotive 28 & crew in Poth
 
Southern Pacific train in Poth.
The town got its start when a local landowner, Mary Jones, funded the construction of a cotton gin near the depot by a Mr. Arnold Poth and a mercantile store by a Mr. Frank Stortz around 1900. When they applied for a post office in 1901 they found that the names "Marcelina" and "Jonesville" had already been taken, so the community took the name of its first postmaster, Mr. Poth. The railroad erected a depot around 1906. Though the SA&AP was now firmly under the control of the Southern Pacific, the structure was very much in the original style of the SA&AP.
SP delivery truck at Poth railroad depot.
 
Interior of the Southern Pacific train in Poth.
Exactly when the original depot in Poth was replaced, probably following a fire, has not been established by this author at this time. The replacement is certainly old, appearing to be from around 1920. It is similar but less ornate that its predecessor, and of smaller dimensions, but not as small as other replacement rail depots built in this era by the Southern Pacific in other towns, such as Comfort. Agriculture remains the staple economic activity in the area with peanuts, sunflowers, vegetables and melons predominating. Both beef cattle and dairy do well here, too, plus there is some manufacturing of feed and fertilizer as well.
Poth railroad depot, restored and still in its original location, 2004
 
Poth railroad depot, restored and still in its original location, 2004
Poth has managed to keep much of its original charm, including, of course, its depot, which is part of a rather nicely proportioned historic area. The depot was recently restored and is part of the town's local museum, which has its main building in the nearby town square.

 

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