BOWIE IN A PECAN SHELL
Why choose Bowie, Texas? Because there is nothing more admirable than a spirit that wants to be here. That is what our community is based on – the strong, pioneering spirit. It began in the early 1880s and to this day continues to build on this rich history while holding tight to the smalltown feel.
Bowie is home to the World’s Largest Jim Bowie Knife – the official knife of the State of Texas – and the second-largest Second Monday Trade Days event in Texas. We are located just 60 miles northwest of the DFW. Always remember as is etched on the Bowie knife, “Attitude is everything when it comes to where you are, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there.”
Each year on the first Saturday in October, the community continues to pay tribute to the town’s history. Amon G. Carter and Mose Johnson were the entrepreneurs of peddling chicken and bread sandwiches to travelers stopped at the train depot. Johnson didn’t realize he would be creating a legacy for this community when he and his wife, Mabel, began their journey in 1904 with just $15 and a shoebox full of baby chicks. The M. Johnson Poultry Ranch went on to become the breeders of the World’s Best Laying Strain of Single Comb White Leghorns. Therefore, Bowie had the World’s largest chicken ranch before the World’s largest knife. That is quite a history. With this pioneering spirit, the tradition of Chicken and Bread Days Heritage Festival was hatched. The celebration continues downtown on the original brick streets of Smythe and Tarrant.
From handmade to large industry, Bowie offers crafted products and merchandise found worldwide. On the land, which housed the chicken ranch, is now North Central Texas College Montague County campus. There are over 25 dining options, two large grocery stores, eight major employers including industry, several youth sports associations, event venues, spas, antique malls, art gallery, boutiques, vintage car club, horse-drawn carriage rides, fishing, biking, and golfing. The Chisholm Trail Memorial Park honors the historic stagecoach and cattle trails – including Butterfield Overland Route and Chisholm Trail. This was the last stop in Texas before heading to northern markets with herds of Longhorns.
There are also many other fun activities throughout the year from rodeos and parades to art and wine festivals with some of the most amazing sunset views. You are invited to embrace our pioneering spirit with us in Bowie, Texas.
Settled in the early 1860s, the town, like many in Texas, didn’t really get started until the arrival of the railroad. In Bowie’s case, the year was 1882 and the railroad was the Fort Worth and Denver. In August of that year, a townsite was laid out and a post office applied for. Bowie almost instantly became the most important market and banking center between Fort Worth and Wichita Falls outgrowing the tent city beginnings.
It was noted there were five saloons, three livery stables, 50 business houses – dry goods stores, grocery stores, hardware stores, tin shop, drugstores, blacksmith shops, two restaurants, one watchmaker/jeweler, and two market houses.
The population reached 1,000 by 1885 and eight years later the town got its second railroad, the Chicago, Rock Island, and Texas.
The population for the 1900 census was estimated at 2,600.
Bowie had around 3,000 people during the 1920s and by the 1950s, it was approaching 7,000. It reached its zenith in the late 1980s with 5,818 residents, making it the largest town in Montague County. To date, Bowie is home to 5,700 with a county population of approximately 20,000..
NAMING OF THE CITY?
The pioneer people who were already living in this area along with railroad workers were indeed a hardy, courageous people, who suffered many hardships. Many times, sacrificing their lives for others. It was most appropriate then Bowie was named after the great Texas hero, James “Jim” Bowie.
It was this spirit of courage, strength, and faith that the leaders selected the name, Bowie. On October 29, 1883, Mr. D.C. Allen – first grocer, was declared the first mayor of the incorporated Bowie, Texas.