||Chartered March 3, 1871, by Act of U.S. Congress, to build a railroad to the Pacific Coast, the Texas & Pacific Railway Company, under leadership of Colonel Thomas A. Scott, president, began construction across West Texas in 1880. General Grenville M. Dodge, civil engineer and builder of the Union Pacific, was in charge. The first train reached the Abilene area in early January 1881 and a station opened for business here on February 28, 1881. The office was in a boxcar at the present Pine Street overpass. As a policy during its era of construction, the Texas & Pacific promoted the settlement of West Texas. Encouraged by local ranchers, agents of the railway held on March 15, 1881, the first auction of lots in Abilene townsite. On that day 178 lots were sold for $27,550.00. The wisdom of the purchasers has since been well confirmed for Abilene is now the business, argricultural, transportation, medical, educational and cultural center for Central West Texas.