Introduction to Killeen, Texas
Killeen is located in Bell County. The economy of Killeen is strongly dependent on nearby Fort Hood and its soldiers. The military base is one of the largest in the country.
In 1881 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway constructed a railroad through the Central Texas area. The company established a town and named it Killeen in tribute to Frank P. Killeen who was the assistant general manager for the railroad. By 1884 the town had several general stores, a couple of grist mills, two cotton gins, a hotel and a lumberyard. The city became a prominent shipping location for grains, cotton and wool.
By 1900 approximately 780 people resided in Killeen. In 1905 a noteworthy event occurred for the town when politicians as well as businessmen were able to persuade the Texas legislature to construct bridges over Cowhouse Creek and other streams which caused the city's trading area to double in size.
In 1942 a major event occurred, when Camp Hood (later named Fort Hood in 1950) was constructed as a military training post during World War II. Soldiers and their families along with people working in construction migrated to Killeen which caused an enormous growth in the population. More than 300 farms and ranches were eliminated due to the land requirements of Camp Hood.
The cotton gins and agricultural businesses were crushed. Providing services for the military personnel and the military base became major factors in the city's economy. When the vast majority of the military base personnel left the area after World War II ended, Killeen experienced a recession. However, Fort Hood became a permanent military base in 1950 and the economy began to thrive.
The city is served by the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport and the small Skylark Field. Bus transportation is provided by HOP.
- The Killeen Civic and Conference Center contains a vast ballroom and Rodeo Arena.
- The Mayborn Planetarium and Space Theatre features star projector sky shows and laser light shows.
- The First Cavalry Division and Fourth Infantry Division museums are situated in Fort Hood.
- Benton Lake.
- Stillhouse Lake.
- Miller Springs Nature Center.
- Chalk Ridge Falls.
The city is home to Central Texas College and Tarleton State University has a campus in the area.