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Temple, Texas
Downtown Temple
Downtown Temple
"Choose Temple!"
Temple in Bell County, Texas
Location of Temple, Texas
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Coordinates: 31°06′N 97°21′W / 31.100°N 97.350°W / 31.100; -97.350Coordinates: 31°06′N 97°21′W / 31.100°N 97.350°W / 31.100; -97.350
Country United States
State Texas
Counties Bell
Settled June 29, 1881
Incorporated 1882
Founded by Bernard Moore Temple
Named for Bernard Moore Temple
 • Type Council–manager
 • Total 76.01 sq mi (196.85 km2)
 • Land 71.17 sq mi (184.33 km2)
 • Water 4.84 sq mi (12.52 km2)
719 ft (219 m)
 • Total 66,102
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,102.14/sq mi (425.53/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Codes
76501, 76502, 76503, 76504, 76505, 76508
Area codes Area code 254
FIPS code 48-72176
GNIS feature ID 1369696

Temple is a city in Bell County, Texas, United States. As of 2019, the city has a population of 78,439 according to a US census estimate, making it the second largest of Bell County's three principal cities after Killeen.

Located near the county seat of Belton, Temple lies in the region referred to as Central Texas and is a principal city in the Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood metropolitan area, which as of 2015 had a population of 450,051. Located off Interstate 35, Temple is 65 miles (105 km) north of Austin, 34 miles (55 km) south of Waco and 27 miles east of Killeen.

The primary economic drivers are the extensive medical community (mostly due to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple) and goods distribution based on its central location between the Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Houston metropolitan areas, and proximity to larger neighbors Austin and Waco.


Mural in downtown Temple, TX IMG 2400
Mural of historical development in downtown Temple, by Philip M. Dunham

Temple was founded as a railroad town in 1881, by the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad. It was incorporated in 1882. The town was named after a Santa Fe Railroad official, Bernard Moore Temple. Temple was a civil engineer and former surveyor with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company.

In 1882, the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad built through the town, and soon after, the Santa Fe railroad made Temple a division point. In its early years, Temple was a town of shacks and tents with a large number of saloons and tough characters found in the early West. Locally, it was nicknamed Tanglefoot, because some citizens found that the combination of muddy streets and liquor made walking through the town challenging. After the town was incorporated in 1882, two private schools were founded in the city: the Temple Academy was organized and public school was established in 1884. In 1893, the annual Temple Stag Party began, growing out of a private Thanksgiving celebration attended by the town's leading men. It was held until 1923.

The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum, on the second floor of the Santa Fe Railroad station at 315 West Avenue B, commemorates the connection between railroads and the city.


Temple is located northeast of the center of Bell County at 31°6′30″N 97°23′21″W / 31.10833°N 97.38917°W / 31.10833; -97.38917 (31.108381, -97.389125). It is the second largest city in Bell County. It is bordered to the southwest, on the opposite side of the Leon River, by Belton, the county seat.

Temple is situated within a relatively short drive of most of the major cities of Texas: 124 mi north to Fort Worth, 130 mi north-northeast to Dallas, 65 mi southwest to Austin, 147 mi southwest to San Antonio, and 168 mi southeast to Houston. The city is located right on Interstate 35 running alongside the Balcones Fault with very mixed geography. Towards the east lies the Blackland Prairie region (a rich farming area), and towards the west the terrain rises with low rolling limestone layered hills at the northeastern tip of the Texas Hill Country.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 74.9 square miles (194 km2), of which, 70.1 square miles (182 km2) of it is land and 4.8 square miles (12 km2) is water.


Climate data for Temple, Texas
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 57
Average low °F (°C) 35
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.13


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 4,047
1900 7,065 74.6%
1910 10,993 55.6%
1920 11,033 0.4%
1930 15,345 39.1%
1940 15,344 0.0%
1950 25,467 66.0%
1960 30,419 19.4%
1970 33,431 9.9%
1980 42,483 27.1%
1990 46,109 8.5%
2000 54,514 18.2%
2010 66,102 21.3%
2019 (est.) 78,439 18.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, 66,102 people, 23,359 households, and 15,878 families resided in the city. The population density was 834.2 people per square mile (373.6/km2). The 28,005 housing units averaged 359.8 per square mile (138.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.1% White, 23.7% Hispanic or Latino, 16.9% African American, 2.1% Asian, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 3.3% from two or more races.

Of the 23,359 households, 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.0% were not families. About 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the city, the population was distributed as 24.1% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,240 and for a family was $42,795. Males had a median income of $30,858 versus $22,113 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,740. About 10.8% of families and 12.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over. Temple's homeless population is approximately 1.9%. Assistance to the homeless is provided by Feed My Sheep and the Salvation Army.


Over 100 years ago, the local economy began with the regional Santa Fe Railroad hospital. Temple now thrives in a complex economy, with both goods distribution and its reputation as a regional medical center leading the way. Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest employer in the area with about 12,000 employees, most located at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple.

Temple is home to many regional distribution centers and is headquarters to two large, multinational companies, Wilsonart International and McLane Company, as well as parent McLane Group. In addition to some manufacturing, also a developing customer service/ call center industry exists. Temple is also home to the Temple Bottling Company, which produces Dr Pepper (with Imperial Cane sugar).

Temple is within 30 miles (48 km) of Fort Hood, and military personnel contribute a portion of the city's economy.


Primary and secondary schools

Temple is largely served by the Temple Independent School District. The district has one high school, three middle schools, nine elementary schools, and three supplemental learning programs (early childhood center, alternative learning center, and an innovative academy high school program). Students within the local school district attend highly regarded Temple High School. In addition to award-winning academic / honors programs in arts and sciences and the International Baccalaureate curriculum, the high-school has a thriving athletic program. In addition, small portions of the city are served by Belton ISD, Troy ISD, and Academy ISD.

Several private schools serve Temple, including Christ Church School, Saint Mary's Catholic School (Pre K-8), the associated Holy Trinity Catholic High School, and Central Texas Christian School (K–12).

Colleges and universities

Temple College offers two-year associate degrees in a variety of subjects, with strong programs in business administration, information technology, and nursing. Temple College was the first college located in Temple, and opened in 1926.

Temple is also home to one of the Texas A&M College of Medicine campuses. It operates in conjunction with the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple and the Olin Teague Veterans' Hospital Center.

Adjacent Belton is home to the University of Mary Hardin–Baylor, and Killeen hosts Texas A&M University–Central Texas. Temple is within a short drive of several other regional and national universities: Baylor University in Waco, the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas A&M University in College Station, and Southwestern University in Georgetown.



The Hill Country Transit District (The HOP) operates three bus routes within the city, with an additional bus connection to Killeen.

Temple was founded as a railroad junction and serves as a major freight railroad hub to this day. Both the Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway have mainlines serving the city, and a BNSF rail yard and locomotive maintenance facility are located here. Amtrak serves the city with its Texas Eagle passenger train, which stops at the Temple Railway Station.

Temple has general aviation services via Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport. While commercial airline service is not currently available in the city, Temple is served by these nearby airports:

  • Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport in Killeen (32 miles west)
  • Waco Regional Airport in Waco (44 miles north)
  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin (74 miles south)

High-speed rail

In 2009, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) proposed the Texas T-Bone High Speed Rail Corridor that would create a high-speed rail line from Dallas-Fort Worth to San Antonio and another line from Houston that would connect with the first line. While the location for the connection of the two lines had not been officially established, the mayor at the time, Bill Jones III, made an effort to ensure that connection happened in Temple. Temple would be a stop along the line, regardless of where that connection between the two lines would be. The next year in 2010, TxDOT received a federal grant to conduct a study for a line connecting Oklahoma City with San Antonio, and Temple was in the pathway of that line. In 2013, a consultant for the Texas High Speed Rail Corporation stated that the only two connections being considered for the two lines were a connection in Temple and a connection in San Antonio; they expected to make that decision by the end of 2014. The organization also indicated that they plan to have the high-speed rail in operation by 2025. If that connection occurred in Temple, the Killeen – Temple – Fort Hood metropolitan area, with a population of 420,375, would be within about 45 minutes of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

Health care

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple

Temple is known as a regional medical center, with three major hospitals: The Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children's Medical Center, and Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center. Baylor Scott & White Health is the largest employer in town with about 11,000 employees. Temple is also home to a campus of the Texas A&M College of Medicine.

Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board

The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board has its headquarters in Temple.

Law enforcement

Temple is policed by the Temple Police Department and the Bell County Sheriff's Office. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice operates a regional office in the city. The Texas Highway Patrol maintains an office on I-35 in Temple.

Postal service

The United States Postal Service operates a regional office in the city.

Notable people

  • W. J. Adkins, dean of Temple College in the 1940s and founding president of Laredo Community College, 1947 to 1960
  • Sammy Baugh, Hall of Fame football player (Washington Redskins)
  • Everyone Dies in Utah, national touring band signed to inVogue Records
  • Britt Daniel, singer, songwriter, musician with Spoon
  • Kenneth Davis, football player
  • Brad Dusek, football player
  • Gloria Feldt, author, women's rights advocate, former CEO and president of Planned Parenthood
  • Forrest B Fenn, Vietnam veteran, art gallery owner, author, and creator of the Fenn treasure
  • Brian Floca, author-illustrator and winner of the Caldecott Medal
  • Flyleaf, rock band
  • Noel Francis, actress
  • Rufus Granderson, football player
  • "Mean" Joe Greene, NTU graduate and Hall of Fame football player (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Bernard A. Harris Jr., astronaut
  • Jose Maria de Leon Hernandez also known as "Little Joe", Grammy Award-winning leader of Little Joe y La Familia
  • Logan Henderson, singer, songwriter, actor
  • Walter Iooss, photographer
  • Blind Willie Johnson (1897-1945), singer, songwriter, guitarist
  • George Koch (1919–1966), football player
  • Drayton McLane, Jr., former CEO of McLane Company (headquartered in Temple), owned baseball's Houston Astros and local philanthropist.
  • Craig McMurtry, former pitcher for the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers, baseball coach for Temple College.
  • Eric Paslay, country singer
  • Ted Poe, US congressman from the 2nd District of Texas
  • Dan Pope, mayor of Lubbock since 2016; raised in Temple
  • Andre President, football player
  • Ben H. Procter, historian
  • Ralph Sheffield, state legislator, Texas House of Representative District 55, 2008-2014
  • Jordan Shipley, NFL football player
  • Bob Simmons, football player
  • Brian Skinner, basketball player
  • Rip Torn, actor
  • Paul White, racer
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