The city of Bartlett was established in 1881, although settlers started living in the town as early as the 1850s. The town of Bartlett became a popular destination during this time due to the Katy Railroad. By the time the railroad reached the town in 1882, Bartlett already had two stores and a post office.
The railroad really put Bartlett on the map. Within two years, the town had already 300 residents and become a main shipping spot for cotton. By 1890, the town of Bartlett had a few banks, a hotel, meat market, four churches and two weekly newspapers. This was the busiest time Bartlett had ever seen. By 1914, Bartlet had more than 2,000 residents.