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Bowman Springs / Bowman Springs Road


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#1 M C Toyer

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 02:31 AM

This subject was addressed briefly some time ago as part of another thread with a different title so I am starting a new topic in light of Pete's efforts to distinguish between the various "Cold Springs."

My findings are preliminary so any additional details / corrections / comments are welcome.

Bowman Springs was an area in far southeast Tarrant County. It was settled before the Civil War by Isaac G Bowman and his family. The 1895 Sam Street Map shows a number of "flowing wells" in that vicinity. There is also a Bowman Branch, a tributary of Walnut Creek.

In 1887 the Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road was a first class road and a primary artery in the south east quadrant of the county. It ran roughly parallel but to the south of the Fort Worth to Johnson Station Road.

The Fort Worth to Johnson Station Road had its origins in the mid 1800s with the establishment of Middleton Tate Johnson's plantation and Ranger station there about 1847 near Marrow Bone aka Mary Le Bone Springs and the founding of Camp Worth in 1849. It was a part of a primary road from Dallas to Fort Worth and from the late 1850s was also a stage line and star mail route. Present Arkansas Lane in Arlington approximates the route of the Fort Worth to Johnson Station Road.

In the 1880s a store was opened in the vicinity of Bowman Springs and in 1895 a post office named Webb was established there. Thereafter the community was known as Webb. The store, a gin, and the town of Webb are show on the 1895 Sam Street map. The Webb Baptist Church was organized there in 1906 but has since relocated to Arlington and the original church building is now a Masonic Hall.

The Polytechnic to Webb Road aka Poly - Webb Road largely replaced the Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road in the early 1900s, but as noted in the original thread a short section of Bowman Springs Road still exists near Wilbarger and US 287. From the 1920s through the 1970s maps still show segments of Bowman Springs Road on the west side of Village Creek / Lake Arlington but it was eventually replaced by Vaughn and Wilbarger.

The present Bowman Springs Road on the east side of Lake Arlington was originally the Bowman Springs - Kennedale Road and not a direct part of the Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road but rather a connector route from Kennedale to the old Bowman Springs Road to the north of Kennedale.

A short portion of the Bowman Springs Road on the west side of Village Creek is labeled Cold Springs Road on some maps in the 1930s and 1940s. It is not entirely clear but appears to connect with another ca 1900 road which crossed Village Creek between the Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road and the Fort Worth to Johnson Station Road. There are a few early references to the Cold Springs crossing of Village Creek and the Handley to Cold Springs Road. This Cold Springs Road appears to be in the vicinity of the eastern end of present Berry Street. Gunnar Brune in Springs of Texas makes mention of Cold Springs in the vicinity of Berry Street and Loop 820.

The Cold Springs Road name near Village Creek may have been withdrawn and/or changed with the inclusion of that area in the Fort Worth city limits to avoid confusion with the extant Cold Springs Road off Samuels north of downtown. I have not found the road crossing Village Creek between the Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road and the Fort Worth to Johnson Station Road (if in fact that was the Cold Springs Road aka Cold Springs crossing of Village Creek) on any maps after 1915. The Cold Springs Church does appear on a 1920 map on the west side of Village Creek in the vicinity of the eastern end of present Berry Street.

Arkansas Lane was diverted by the construction of Lake Arlington but a short section can be found connecting with the west end of Arlington Drive which runs across the dam.

Poly-Webb Road was eliminated within and west of Lake Arlington but the route approximates present Wilbarger, Vaughn and the Poly Freeway (US 287). The Village Creek Bridge is still shown at the bottom of the lake on USGS TOPO maps. Poly Webb Road east of Lake Arlington is essentially the same route as the 1887 Fort Worth to Bowman Springs Road.

Bowman Springs Park is located at the western terminus of Poly - Webb Road on Lake Arlington, named for the earlier road not for any springs located there. I have not been able to verify one claim that a stage station was located within the park.

M C

#2 John S.

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Posted 15 June 2010 - 10:58 AM

MC,

Thanks for adding more information which demonstrates the importance of water resources to the pioneers in our area. In those days, there were no large (man-made) local lakes , only rivers with wildly fluctuating water levels, springs of various kinds, levels, and sizes, and a few hand-dug wells where ground water levels were close enough to the surface to justify such labor-intensive efforts. We tend today to take running water from our taps for granted but as you pointed out, pioneer life revolved around dependable water sources.

I re-read J.K. Garrett's account about the name origins of Mary le Bone springs and understand it was originally called Marrow Bone Springs. According to Garrett, M.T. Johnson changed the name to reflect his English ancestry renaming the spring after a district in London called Marylebone Borough. (originally called St. Mary of the Bourne) A bourne is explained as denoting one of several streams and was pronounced in England as "bone". Since this particular spring (Mary le Bone) has been mentioned, is its location known today? I would assume it is near or at the site of Johnson's Station?

I found your account of the various other "Cold Springs" interesting. Increasingly, I'm beginning to believe that the term "Cold Springs" was used interchangeably and was quite generic unless some other indentifying language accompanied it or it was used within the context of a discussion about something specific and local. Therefore, the term "Cold Spings" alone could denote one of dozens in Tarrant County spread over a wide geographical area. Of course, this apparent fact doesn't help local history students in their quest to understand early settlement patterns and locations. As you also importantly noted, many of the early transportation routes and paths have been erased and changed over the years. These later changes also complicate understanding our local past. Thanks again for the information!

#3 M C Toyer

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 11:28 AM

QUOTE (John S. @ Jun 15 2010, 11:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I re-read J.K. Garrett's account about the name origins of Mary le Bone springs and understand it was originally called Marrow Bone Springs. According to Garrett, M.T. Johnson changed the name to reflect his English ancestry renaming the spring after a district in London called Marylebone Borough. (originally called St. Mary of the Bourne) A bourne is explained as denoting one of several streams and was pronounced in England as "bone". Since this particular spring (Mary le Bone) has been mentioned, is its location known today? I would assume it is near or at the site of Johnson's Station?


John -

There is a historical marker in the vicinity of the springs and a unmarked archeological site nearby. (see the Texas Historic Sites Atlas for details)

There are no visible remains of the springs I'm aware of, most having been destroyed in the past 50 years with development in the area. The springs originally flowed into Trading House Creek, now named Johnson Creek.

In the previously mentioned Arlington Heights Junior Historian, Down Historic Trails in Fort Worth and Tarrant County there are photographs of the springs and the rocks which inspred their name.

There are some details here regarding the nearby Johnson Station site and other points of interest in Arlington: Arlington Pioneer Trail

M C




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