Biography of Wilmer and Hutchins
The Houston and Texas Central Railroad not only moved goods and people throughout Texas, it helped shape and develop the communities of Hutchins and Wilmer.
In 1860, William J. Hutchins, then president and general manager of H&TC, gave his name to a small community that was a well-known trading place for immigrants who had settled along the west bank of the Trinity River. A railroad stop and post office followed in 1872.
Wilmer experienced just the opposite—the town, then named Prairie Valley, grew up around a railroad stop. A.J. Wilmer, an H&TC conductor who passed through regularly, lent his name to the growing community in 1884.
The railroad continued to play a significant role in both communities, where farmers grew cotton and shipped it across the state. Banks, businesses, cotton gins, churches, and steam mills met the needs of the small towns—each with populations of less than 500 by the beginning of World War I. In 1929, Wilmer suffered a devastating fire that wiped out most of the business district because the town’s wells simply could not provide enough water to combat the flames.
The two towns teamed together to form the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District in 1927, although neither city was incorporated until 1945. In 2005, the Dallas Independent School District absorbed the Wilmer-Hutchins schools, and began busing students to its campuses in Dallas’ southern sector.
Today, Union Pacific’s Dallas Intermodal Terminal is located within the city limits of Hutchins and Wilmer. The $70 million shipping facility continues the historic ties the two communities have with the railroads.