In 1875, the Dallas Herald published an article by a former Fort Worth lawyer, Robert E. Cowart, who wrote that the decimation of Fort Worth's population, caused by the economic disaster and hard winter of 1873, had dealt a severe blow to the cattle industry. He further stated that the harm to the cattle industry, combined with the railroad stopping the laying of track 30 miles (48 km) outside of Fort Worth, had caused Fort Worth to become such a drowsy place that he saw a panther (cougar, mountain lion) asleep in the street by the courthouse. Although an intended insult, the name Panther City was enthusiastically embraced when in 1876 Fort Worth recovered economically. Many businesses and organizations continue to use Panther in their name. The Fort Worth police have a panther prominently set at the top of their badge.
In 1876, the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived in Fort Worth, causing a boom and transforming the Fort Worth Stockyards into a premier cattle industry in wholesale trade. The arrival of the railroad ushered in an era of astonishing growth for Fort Worth, as migrants from the devastated war-torn South continued to swell the population, and small, community factories and mills yielded to larger businesses. Newly dubbed the "Queen City of the Prairies," Fort Worth supplied a regional market via the growing transportation network.
Fort Worth became the westernmost rail head and a transit point for cattle shipment. With the city's main