The General Sherman LbNA # 20801
|Placed Date||Mar 11 2006|
***Replaced and relocated on August 15, 2006***
The General Sherman was the first locomotive in Texas. It was named for General Sidney Sherman, a hero in the Battle of San Jacinto and a member of the group that received a charter to build the first railroad in Texas, the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway, known as the BBB&C. The locomotive was a wood burner that weighed 10 to 12 tons and arrived at the port of Galveston in 1852. The first 20 miles of track opened in 1853, and on Sept. 1 of that year, the General Sherman puffed its way from Harrisburg to Stafford. The railway was known locally as The Harrisburg Railroad. Also in 1853, businessmen in Sugar Land bought land to ensure that the railroad went through that town. That's the reason for the big "S" curve in the track between Stafford and Richmond. That stretch of rail still exists as a part of Southern Pacific's transcontinental Sunset Route between New Orleans and Los Angeles. It's the track that runs parallel to U.S.90A (Main Street). The General Sherman didn't last as long, having been scrapped in the late 1890's. It does survive, however, on the official seal of the City of Houston.
The General Sherman letterbox is located at the Texas State Railroad State Park, which is known as one of the nation's largest and most unique steam train operations. Passengers may board the historic trains at either Rusk or Palestine and both ends of the line have turn-of-the-century style train stations and the Rusk-Palestine State Parks. The 50-mile, round-trip steam engine excursions take 4 hours and run from March to November. Rusk is located about 170 miles north of Houston. The Texas State Railroad Rusk Depot is 3 miles west of Rusk off US Highway 84.
As you enter the park, you will see a small parking lot on the left side of the road. You can park here and walk to the Nature Trail. Go left as you leave the parking area to the trail head. Starting at the sign that reads: Sweet Gum, continue until you reach the campground. Turn left and follow the paved road to the RR crossing. Face left and walk along the track. Notice in particular, the left-side track rail, where the rails have been "coupled" together with steel plates and bolts. The box is tucked under the rail at the fifth coupling and covered with crushed rocks and debris. This is a campground, therefore, a high-traffic area. Please be discreet. Replace the box as you found it and cover it well.
Look for Lone Star Quilter’s letterbox, “Underground Railroad” in this park.