I’ve always been proud of the fact that I am a Killeen, Texas native. This city's where I grew from a little girl to a grown woman, and it's a big part of who I am. If you grew up here too, you understand. But how did our beloved town get its name?

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I watched a small town that may have  had a population of 80,000 in the 80s grow into a city with a population of over around 200,000 people.

I spent my school years in Killeen, and today my husband and I are raising our young child here. My son recently asked me a question that, shockingly, I did not have the answers to. It was very simple - he wanted to know how Killeen got its name.


google maps
google maps

As you can imagine, I was a little upset with myself. After all, I am an advocate for all things Central Texas, and especially Killeen. But it turns out there’s so much about this rich city that I did not know, and I am so excited to share it with you if you're not familiar with Killeen's nomenclature either.


City of Killeen


The City of Killeen is actually named after a railroad executive by the name of Frank Patrick Killeen.

Frank wasn’t even from the city of Killeen. In fact, he never set foot in the town if you can believe it.

Golf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad plotted a seventy-block town on its land to form a junction between Temple and Lampasas, and named it after Frank P. Killeen, the assistant general manager of the railroad. When the first train passed through the new town in May 1882, about forty people lived there. Just like Temple, names associated with the railroad industry would appear on the names of buildings around town for decades, including school buildings.

Just think, 40 people literally lived in the city and now there are hundreds of thousands of people living here. Of course, much of that population growth is thanks to Fort Hood, which was originally Camp Hood.

The next time somebody asks you how Killeen got its name, let them know we’re named after an executive railroad manager who never even got to see how great of a community bore his name.

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