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Kileen, Texas
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Killeen is a city in Bell County, Texas, United States. The population was 112,434 at the 2000 censu...
Killeen is a city in Bell County, Texas, United States. The population was 112,434 at the 2000 census. It is a principal city of the Killeen–Temple–Fort Hood Metropolitan Statistical Area. Killeen is directly adjacent to the main cantonment of Fort Hood, and as such its economy is heavily dependent on the post and the soldiers (and their families) stationed there. Killeen, Burnet and Lampasas counties are represented in the Texas House of Representatives by the semiretired veterinarian and rancher Jimmie Don Aycock, a Republican first elected on November 7, 2006. In 1881, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway extended its tracks through central Texas, buying 360 acres (1.5 km2) a few miles southwest of a small farming community known as Palo Alto, which had existed since about 1872. The railroad platted a seventy-block town on its land and named it after Frank P. Killeen, the assistant general manager of the railroad. By the next year the town included a railroad depot, a saloon, several stores, and a school. Many of the residents of the surrounding smaller communities in the area moved to Killeen and by 1884 the town had grown to include about 350 people, served by five general stores, two gristmills, two cotton gins, two saloons, a lumberyard, a blacksmith shop, and a hotel. Killeen expanded as it became an important shipping point for cotton, wool, and grain in western Bell and eastern Coryell counties. About 780 people lived in Killeen by 1900. Around 1905 local politicians and businessmen convinced the Texas legislature to build bridges over Cowhouse Creek and other streams, doubling Killeen's trade area. A public water system began operation in 1914 and its population had increased to circa 1,300 residents. Until the 1940s Killeen remained a relatively small and isolated farm trade center, but this changed drastically after 1942, when Camp Hood (re-commissioned as Fort Hood in 1950) was created as a military training post to meet the demands of the Second World War. Laborers, construction workers, contractors, soldiers, and their families moved into the area by the thousands, and Killeen became a military boomtown. The opening of Camp Hood also radically altered the nature of the local economy, since the sprawling new military post covered almost half of Killeen's farming trade area. The loss of more than three hundred farms and ranches led to the demise of Killeen's cotton gins and other farm related businesses. New businesses were started to provide services for the military camp. Killeen suffered a recession when Camp Hood was all but abandoned after the end of the Second World War, but when Fort Hood was established as a permanent army post in 1950, the city boomed again. Its population increased from about 1,300 in 1949 to 7,045 in 1950, and between 1950 and 1951 about a hundred new commercial buildings were constructed in Killeen. By 1955, Killeen had an estimated 21,076 residents and 224 businesses. Troop cutbacks and transfers in the mid-fifties led to another recession in Killeen which lasted until 1959, when various divisions were returned to Fort Hood. (Elvis Presley even lived in Killeen for a time during his stint in the army.) The town continued to grow through the 1960s, especially after the Vietnam War led to increased activity at Fort Hood. By 1970 Killeen had developed into a city of 35,507 inhabitants and had added a municipal airport, a new municipal library, and a junior college (Central Texas College). By 1980, when the census counted 49,307 people in Killeen, it was the largest city in Bell County. By 1990 its population had increased to 63,535, and 265,301 people lived in the Killeen/Temple metropolitan area. In addition to shaping local economic development after 1950, the military presence at Fort Hood also changed the city's racial, religious, and ethnic composition. No blacks lived in the city in 1950, for example, but by the early 1950s the town had added Marlboro Heights, an all-black subdivision, and in 1956 the city school board voted to integrate the local high
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