Houston & Texas Central Shops
   The below Houston, Tex. Weekly Telegraph, of January 26, 1859, gives a good description of one of the railroad shops in the South. Since the article is dated two years before the War, and the Texas railroads were rapidly expanding, it is likely the shops had been enlarged any by the start of the War.

Across the Bayou

   We have frequently made mention of the improvements now going on in Houston, but no person can have an adequate idea of them without an examination in detail. We yesterday took a stroll across the Bayou, and will as in duty bound report what we saw.
   A little more than two years ago there was nothing in this part of the city but a few cottage residences, a dilapidated machine shop, a saw mill and the beginning of the {Houston & Texas} Central railroad. But that beginning of a railroad has proved itself the mother of improvements. To-day the looker on begins with a self supporting bridge, thrown across the bayou, 120 feet long with a single span, built in the most thorough manner firm and substantial as a rock, and, as it stands, the wonder of the countryman, and the admiration of all. It was built for the city last year by a splendid mechanic, who also fell victim, after his work was done to the yellow demon that visited us in October.
   Passing across the bridge to the right, the first building that meets the eye is the warehouse of J. J. Cam & Co., 250 feet long by 75 wide, and with a three story front on the bayou, and for a portion of the length two stories on the railroad. Turning to the right and going down the bayou towards the mouth of White Oak, we come next to Peel & Dumble's warehouse, 100 feet long, by 90 wide in one part and 70 in the other, with a three story front on the railroad. The railroad runs down to White Oak bayou where it has a wharf for the purpose of landing machinery, iron, cars, &c., at present used by the railroad exclusively. Across the road and near White Oak is the new warehouse of Allen and Fulton, 100 by 100 feet and two stories high. The proprietors we learn are about to build another adjoining.
   Coming back to the street leading to the bridge we have next above it and directly opposite the end of Cain's warehouse the store of J. McKee, 100X25 and three stories high. Passing up the road we come to McGowen's new iron and brass Foundry and machine shop 150X75, where all sorts of castings and machinery are made to order. Mr. McGowan is turning out a large number of steam engines every year and keeps an army of workmen in the various parts. The shop is well worth a visit were there nothing else across the bayou to be seen.
   We come now to the Depot of the Central road, a building 150 X 50 feet. On the right side of this, looking up, are two tracks and the deep gully is being filled up to afford room for more. On the left hand side there are to be three or four more tracks laid down immediately to give room for the immense business of the road. The tracks are also being leveled up, and the ground generally fixed up giving it a systematic and business look. These improvements and others yet to be mentioned are made by the superintendent, Maj. Chase, who is probably the best operative railroad man in the South.
   Leaving the depot and walking up the track half-a-mile we come to the Engine house and machine shop of the Central road. This is a study, and will well repay a walk to it. The machinery was purchased last summer by the president of the road, Mr. A. Groesbeck from the well known Industry works of Bement & Dougherty, of Philadelphia. It is perfect of its kind, and complete. On going into the shop the first machine to the left is a large planing machine of very heavy and solid construction and capable of planing any size slab or piece of iron up to 3 feet by 16, and so arranged as to be perfectly adjustable to any piece of work to be put into it. Next is a drill which will take in a piece of metal of any hight from one inch to 7 feet, and of any desired shape and also fixed by simple contrivance so as to be applied in any desirable way. We next find a small but elegant and simple machine called a compound planer. It has four motions besides feed motion the latter with a stroke of from 1 to 13 inches. It will plain iron in any form, oblong, flat, oval, regular or irregular, and all with the simplest and truest motions conceivable. Close by this is the large wheel lathe. This is intended for triming the face of engine wheels and is a very powerful machine. It will take in a wheel 7 feet in diameter, or a drum with that diameter and 14 feet long. While there one of the drive wheels of the locomotive "E. Allen" now being repaired was being turned off, it took off shavings half an inch wide and 18 inches long. The machine is alone worth going all the way to the shop to see. Near this is the turning lather for turning out round iron work, such as shafting, axletrees, cylinders, and the like, working either on the convex surface or on the end or vertical plane. It well take in a cylinder 10 feet long, and it has a 28 inch swing to the chisel holder. Over against this is a screw cutting machine, standing ready to cut a screw from 1/4 to 2 inches in diameter.
   The shafting by which motion is conveyed to each of the machines is hung on patent adjustable supports, and works without noise. It was put up by Jas. Lewis, a splendid mechanic, who is now engaged in putting up bridges on the Third Section of the road. It was all new, and since he put it up not a stroke of work has been required upon it. The power for moving the works is a 12 horse power engine, a perfect little beauty. Its construction is exceedingly simple, and it runs without noise. Indeed so still does the whole machinery run that when all is in motion hardly a sound can be heard outside the building. 
   The machinery was put up by Mr. Dawson, chief machinist assisted by Mr. Richard Hodgen who are both, together with the employees, unsurpassed in their various departments. There is still to be added a large hydraulic press, for pressing the wheels on their axles, and doing other heavy work of the kind. It is here, but not, put up.
   We spent an hour most pleasantly at the machine shop, and returned without looking further, fearing we should have too much to write about for one article. We stop without saying a word of the many new dwelling houses, the clearing up of the lands &c. &c. &c. &c., to be seen in the various parts of this interesting portion of the city.