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Denison (Grayson County)

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The history of Denison is linked to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (MKT) Railway. Throughout the 1870s, the railway under the guidance of general manager Robert Stevens aggressively pursued a policy of town founding and development as it built south and west through Kansas and Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) into the southern Texas plains. Sherman, already a well-established town near the railway’s proposed crossing of the Red River, confidently expected the railroad to build a major terminal at their city. However, when no financial inducements were offered, Stevens decided to build a town elsewhere. He purchased land south of the Red River, only nine miles north of Sherman, and filed a plat in 1872. Stevens named the new town Denison for the vice president of the MKT Railway, while Shermanites looked on in dismay. With a short extension of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad to Denison in 1873, the Texas railroad system was connected to the nationwide rail network. Denison served as a gateway to Texas, and the young town boomed. By 1890, Denison passed Sherman as the county’s most populous city and had become a prosperous industrial and transportation center, still true today.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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