The Railroad in Waring and Welfare

Waring, Texas

Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring from the 1880's.
 
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in the 1960s. The tracks are still operational but the depot is closed.
 
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in the 1960s. The tracks are still operational but the depot is closed.
Waring today is a very small town, seemingly far from the hustle and bustle of traffic on IH 10, which is actually only five miles to it's west. It is twelve miles north of Boerne and seven miles south of Comfort. Today it has a population of less than 70. Waring was created in 1887 to coincide with the arrival of the San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad. The post office was moved from a nearby town on the other side of the Guadalupe river to the new town almost immediately.
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in 2004
 
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in 2004
 
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in 2004.
 
Original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring in 2004
Waring's population grew to 150 and stayed at this level until 1914, when it swelled to over 300. During this time it had a hotel, a boarding house, two general stores, a lumberyard and a quarry, plus corn and grist mills and a cotton gin. The railroad was essential to the success of these enterprises and the depot was busy place, bringing in people and goods, as well as being the means by which products of the town could be shipped out to San Antonio and beyond. Otto Beseler was the first agent in 1888. He was the son of the Beselers of Welfare, about four miles to the south. Waring ranked a depot of some size and the town grew just to the east of the tracks.
Steps leading down to agent's office from freight room in the original San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring, 2004
 
Ticket window from waiting room in the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring, 2004
 
Ticket window from waiting room in the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring, 2004.
 
Lanterns beside freight room ventilation slats in the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring, 2004
By the 1950s, the towns population had dwindled to around 100, though it still retains its post office. Today there is just one store and two businesses. Train service ended in 1970. For a while the old depot became a tractor dealership. Its current owner uses it for general purpose storage and work building. He is very knowledgeable about its history. The building original foundations collapsed after 100 years and the building fell forward about three feet. New foundation pilings were constructed to support it. The old building is otherwise in sound shape and remains very close to its original appearance. It has the names of many Waring railroad agents painted on the interior walls. The tradition was started by Otto Beseler, possibly to help folks to spell his name on bills of lading, etc. Most subsequent agents did the same thing.
Otto Beseler was the depot's first agent at the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring. His name is still legible on the freight room interior wall.
 
More agents names on the freight room wall of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass railroad depot in Waring, 2004
 
Southern Pacific Waring depot freight room door interior. This graffiti is from 1912. DQ is the initial of Mr. Quigley, agent at that time.
 
Southern Pacific Waring depot freight room door. Note ventilation vents.
Welfare, Texas

Welfare, just four miles to the south of Waring, never rated a depot as such but the Beseler family, who owned a store, and whose son, Otto, was the first railroad agent in Waring, were big railroad supporters. When they built a large wooden warehouse near the tracks the S.A. & A.P. was happy to provide service. The town swelled to around 275 people around 1900 but that number fell to around 25 by as early as 1925. Today there is not much left except the old railroad right of way and the old Beselr general store which now serves as a Barbecue restaurant. After the Beseler's wooden warehouse burned down it was replaced by a metal structure.
Welfare freight shed immediately adjacent to the old railroad right of way, built to replace a wooden structure that burnt down.
 
Track side shot of the old freight shed showing newer addition plus gate to the tracks
 
The old Southern Pacific Railroad right of way in Welfare. The building you can just see on the right of the picture is the Beseler's store
 
The former Beseler general store in Welfare, 2004
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