Greenville in 1891
For a city that waited longer than most for the railroad, Greenville had become a rail center by the time of Fowler’s visit in 1891. In addition to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the East Line and Red River, and the Dallas and Greenville railways, the St. Louis Southwestern arrived in 1887 and the Texas Midland in 1896, five years after Fowler’s view. Hunt County was no longer an “inland island.” By 1890 the city had become a leading cotton marketing center, and the population had climbed to more than 3,300. The city’s first waterworks was completed in 1889 (4 on map, upper right-hand corner), and the city owned and operated the first municipally owned electricity generating plant in the state. In 1892, the year following Fowler’s visit, the community shipped more than $1 million worth of cotton.
Fowler’s depiction of the city from the southeast looking northwest allowed him to focus on the growth that had occurred in the southeastern section of the city. But, as with other Fowler prints, the perspective is much lower than Wellge’s 1885 view of the city. Fowler’s perspective gave his picture the character of a photographic panorama rather than a bird’s-eye view. The unusual detail in the lower right-hand corner, the vista looking east from College Hill, is an even better comparison with a photographic panorama. Strangely, Fowler did not identify the large structure at the left of the detail; presumably it is the college for which the hill was named. Among the more interesting features of this picture are the marginal details that Fowler presented, including for the first time in a Texas image the interior of a store, W. S. McKain’s Drug and Jewelry Store, which was located on the west side of the square.