The Interurban in Burleson
Updated July 2013
By Robert Griffith

Brief Overview of 124 West Ellison Street

Photographs

Interurban Construction in Burleson,
between April and July, 1912
Photo Courtesy Mary Ruth Arnold

Interurban Construction near the corner of Wilson
and Ellison Streets, between April and July, 1912
Photo Courtesy Mary Ruth Arnold

Interurban Construction near the corner of Wilson
and Ellison Streets, between April and July, 1912
Photo Courtesy Mary Ruth Arnold

A Crowd Gathers at the Drugstore, Winter 1912-1913
Photo Credit Dan Leach Collection,
Johnson County Historical Commission

Brothers A.H. and Milam Loyless inside the Drugstore, 1914
Photo Credit Dan Leach Collection,
Johnson County Historical Commission

Burleson Dispatcher, about 1967
Photo Courtesy Alicia DuVall

Burleson Heritage Visitors Center, August 10, 2008
Photo Copyright Robert Griffith




Interurban Mentions in
Burleson: The First One Hundred Years

The T.N. Pearce Family, Pgs. 178-179
Newta May Pearce, daughter of T.N. Pearce, tells many carefree, adventurous stories in the section on her family in Burleson: The First One Hundred Years. As she tells it, during World War I, "Many Canadian pilots came to Burleson on weekends, via interurban, and strolled about the town. People invited them in for meals and I'm sure they enjoyed the visits as much as the residents did." Later, she adds, "Probably about 1915, [her brother] Paul and I went to Cleburne on the interurban with a group to hear [Lt. John Philip] Sousa's Band."

Jost Marti Family, Pgs. 227-228
Lula Hardgrove Marti, wife of John Marti, tells this story from around 1915:

When John [Marti] and I [Lula Hardgrove] married, our closest neighbor was Elijah and Vici Ann Forrester. [...] Mrs. Vici was a good neighbor, my friend, and always ready for a trip or a good time. One morning she came to see me. We had no phones back then, and to get a message, or to make plans for a trip, we simply had to visit each other and usually got to the meeting place by walking all the way.

Mrs. Forrester told me that there was a church revival going on in Everman and she would like to go that night.

One of the prankful neighbor boys came by about that time, and told us that his mama was going to church that same night and that we could both go with her. [...] Later that devilish boy came by and admitted that he had been joking, that his mama really was not going to go to church. Mary [Levey] had already left to go to her own home to get dressed for the church occasion. Mrs. Forrester was not to be out done, however, so she got ready real quick, and the three of us set out to walk about a mile to the Interurban line for a ride to Everman, some five miles away. To get to chruch took quite a bit of effort. A trip then was a real occasion, not like with our comfortable, and convenient cars of today. To catch the public transportation vehicle, the Interurban, you had to be there waiting when it came by for it would not wait for you and it did not run often. We were there early, ready and willing to wait for it to arrive.

Attending church, hearing the gospel and visiting with the people was simply great. But all good thigns must end and we made connections with the Interurban for the return trip to the Oak Grove community. It seemed to me that Mrs. Forrester had been unusually brave and outgoing all during this great adventure. When we got home, she showed us just what she had in her purse. That was the reason for the great bravo, a nice little pistol, and I never doubed that she knew how to use it. We were safe in Mrs. Forrester's care. She was a woman of character!

Oak Grove Flu Epidemic of 1918-1919, Pg. 236
The interurban took cheerful children to school and families to faraway stores in the cities, but the interurban also served a necessary public service during the Flu Epidemic that struck during the winter of 1918-1919. Mrs. W.W. Arnold vividly recalls that time in the Oak Grove community three miles northeast of Burleson:

The world had good reason to celebrate in the fall of 1918. The most destructive war in man's history was nearing its conclusion, but even as the world cheered the war's end, a new, more insidious enemy was launching a world wide attack which would kill more people than the conflict it so closely followed.

There was so much sickness, men had to schedule their nights to sit up with the sick. John Hoaldridge sat up nine nights out of eighteen, leaving mom with five small children, but thanks to an open fireplace, plenty of ventilation, none of our family took the flu. Sitting up with the sick and burying the dead took all the neighbors time.

The fall of 1918 and early part of 1919 was very cold and rainy. Dirt roads were poor traveling. Family or neighbors would go get the caskets, brought out by the interurban, in wagons drawn by horse or mule.

Roy Merrifield helped dig the grave on January 14, 1918, for Jim Hardgrove and then Roy died on January 22, 1918.

We were told because of so many deaths, flowers were scarce. Lula Hardgrove Marti reports when her daddy, Gus Hardgrove, died, her husband, John, rode the interurban to Fort Worth and was able to purchase a spray of white roses. Lula tells of a hard decision she had to make because her brother John Ernest died just after midnight, and was buried the same day.




Additional Resources

Interurban Renovation Photos from Michael H. Beard
Burleson Linotype, history of The Burleson Dispatcher
An Electrifying Idea, an essay about the interurban in Burleson*
*requires Adobe Acrobat Reader
Express Motor 330
Homecoming for Express Motor 330
North Texas Historic Transportation
City of Burleson Heritage Visitors Center

Links