Allen commemorates first train robbery

March 9, 2013 by  

The first train robbery to take place in Allen has recently been commemorated with an event held at the Allen Heritage Center.

Sam Bass – Railroad History Day takes place each year, focusing on the start of the railroad that arrived in Allen in 1872. The Houston and Texas Central Railroad became a meeting point for local traders taking their goods to market. The first train robbery which occurred in Allen took place on February 22, 1878, carried out by the notorious Sam Bass and his cohorts.

According to the cultural arts manager from Allen Public Library, Tom Keener, the railroad and the train robbery add a lively touch to the history of the city. Sam Bass also carried out a train robbery in Nebraska, taking gold pieces worth $60,000 prior to robbing the train in Allen. The Nebraska train robbery is the largest carried out on the Union Pacific Railroad. Drama students from Allen High School performed a reenactment of the Allen train robbery for spectators. The day also included demonstrations of a blacksmith at work, flag signals used on the trains, and train bells, one of which is the Ebenezer Allen steam engine bell.

Bass was finally shot during a bank robbery at Round Rock, after one of his gang members informed the police of the robbery. Bass died July 21, 1878 and has since become something of a legend among local people. Although the annual event is popular with locals, promotion is still required using the local flyer printing services of a reputable company.