Like many cities around Fort Worth, Keller can trace its roots to the railroad. And in Keller’s case, even its name. As the Texas Pacific Railroad extended north from Fort Worth, a stop on the rail line was named in honor of railroad foreman John C. Keller. Settlers then were attracted by the same things that attract settlers today, including transportation and the nearby Trinity River.
Keller was settled in the early 1850s, and by 1882, the settlement known originally as Athol had become what is now Keller. It incorporated Nov. 16, 1955.
The railroad and the highway from Fort Worth to Denton were important to the city’s success and growth, and transportation remains a central facet of city life. When Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport opened in 1974, Keller had fewer than 4,000 residents. By 1990, it had grown to 13,683. Alliance Airport opened nearby on Dec. 14, 1989, and the area exploded. The population grew 99.85 percent in the next decade, and the 2012 population is estimated at 40,440, a 195.5 percent increase over 1990.
“When we chose to move to Tarrant County 10 years ago, we decided on Keller essentially for two reasons. One was location — I work at BNSF Railway, which is on Western Center, just north of 820, and travel often, so Keller is essentially halfway between work and the airport. The second was the reputation of the school system. When we were looking around, we heard very good things about Keller schools, and since our kids at the time were 4, 7, and 9, that was a terribly important concern to us,” says BNSF Senior General Attorney Lyn Robbins.
Keller’s amenities today include parks, miles of hike and bike trails along meandering creeks and in-line hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball fields.
“Other than the schools and location, I think there is an attractiveness to the fact that Keller still has some country feel to it,” Robbins said. “Many of the Midcities are simply placed between others of the Midcities, and it is hard to tell when you leave one and enter another. Keller is on the edge, meaning that when you drive west or north, you don’t immediately run into another city. I see sheep on my way to work. I drive through countryside. There is some value to that.”
Robbins and his family members are active in the arts scene and his hometown facilitates that.
“There are a number of movie theaters within 10 miles. The shopping and eating of Southlake is just down the road one way, and the charm and offerings of Roanoke are a stone’s throw in another direction. Fort Worth is an easy drive, yet the accessibility of the airport makes Keller a far more convenient place to live than Fort Worth proper for those like me who have to take to the air often.”
There are a number of major universities within a 60-mile radius of Keller, including Texas Christian University, The University of North Texas, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Woman’s University and Southern Methodist University.
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