Texas in Transition

Railroads, Oil, and the Rise of Urban Texas

Lesson Plans | Project Information | Related Web Exhibits

Ranger Going Over the TopW.D. Hornaday Collection, Prints and Photographs Collection, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. 1975/70-3617.

Lesson Plans

Texas in Transition: Railroads, Oil, and the Rise of Urban Texas is intended for middle school Texas history teachers. The lesson plans
and activities here will introduce students to the practice of using historical archival materials on the web, and help students learn to use documents to reach conclusions about the past. This website focuses on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period of intense change which transformed Texas from a predominantly rural state into a modern industrial power.


Did nature help or hinder the building of railroads in Texas?

How did railroads change cities in Texas forever? Case Study: El Paso

How did the growth of railroads impact population growth?

How could a “doubleheader” create unsafe working conditions on the

Why would the people of Texas want more government control of railroads?

Why did farmers rally around Governor Hogg and the Texas Railroad Commission?


How did oil spark an economic makeover in towns across Texas?

Did the oil “boom” bust the environment in Texas?

How did Spindletop spark a Texas industry that impacted the nation?

Was martial law effective in the oil war in Texas?


How did Texas grow one city at a time?

Case Study: Austin

Case Study: Dallas

Case Study: Fort Worth

Case Study: Galveston

Case Study: Houston

Case Study: San Antonio

Project Information

Texas in Transition: Railroads, Oil, and the Rise of Urban Texas was made possible by a Linden Heck Howell Texas History Grant in the amount of $5000 from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Humanities Texas conducts and supports public programs in history, literature, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines. These programs strengthen Texas communities and ultimately help sustain representative democracy by cultivating informed, educated citizens.

The goal of this project was to provide teachers with inquiry-based model lesson plans that combine TSLAC’s unique primary source material with exercises based specifically on TEKS curriculum (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies for Grade 7). The grant money was used to contract with the curriculum services staff at Education Service Center, Region 20, to develop the lesson plans. TSLAC matched the grant in-kind 1:1 by coordinating the topic selection; researching, selecting, and scanning the primary source documents from the archives; coordinating the scholarly review process; and building and mounting this website.

Related Web Exhibits

TSLAC creates and mounts in-depth online history exhibits on a regular basis. Though aimed at a general audience rather than specifically at teachers and students, these exhibits are used regularly by teachers seeking materials to complement the TEKS curriculum. Exhibits related to the theme of this project include:

Hazardous Business: Industry, Regulation, and the Texas Railroad Commission

Votes for Women: The Womens' Suffrage Movement in Texas

More online exhibits

Page last modified: March 7, 2016