Rail Museum of San Angelo, TX
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
More than a decade ago‚ the Historic Orient/Santa Fe Depot was well on its way to train heaven. Typical of a lot of old depots‚ it was in total disrepair. A bottomless pit of tax money for the railroad‚ it was set to be torn down.
A group of concerned citizens‚ how ever‚ saw value in the history about to be lost forever. They banded together and‚ since the group was not yet designated a nonprofit organization‚ talked the railroad into donating the depot to the city of San Angelo. Today‚ the Rail Museum of San Angelo is proudly housed in the impressive and appropriate setting.
With additional work‚ the group was awarded a grant for $1.2 million and totally refurbished and remodeled the structure‚ bringing it back to its original specs and appearance in the 1920s‚ according to David Wood‚ museum board member‚ past president and volunteer. At the time it was built‚ the two-story brick building was the second-largest building in San Angelo.
“Outside we’ve got two train engines‚ a caboose‚ a car and a 100-year-old booth that was used for communications in the railyard‚” Wood says. “Inside are all sorts of pictures and railway paraphernalia.”
One room is dedicated to historic pictures‚ the largest collection of town pictures on display anywhere. Five working railroad models are also on exhibit. The City Transit Department just moved out of the building‚ almost doubling the museum’s display space.
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