The restored Kyle Railroad Depot and Heritage Center (100 W. Center St., Kyle, TX 78640) makes it home in a building constructed in 1917. As soon as you walk in, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time to the depot’s heyday.
Inside, you’ll find two waiting rooms with period furnishings and a documentary on the founding of Kyle. The station master’s office contains an audio loop with the sounds of a train station from its golden days.
You’ll also hear announcements and sounds of trains boarding and arriving, calling for passengers, and telegraphs being sent and received.
Take a Trip Through Kyle’s Past
Sadly, many communities have lost their depots. Kyle is grateful to retain this link to its past. The center’s restoration is the result of private donations and grants. Kyle voters also passed a bond to budget $250,000 for the renovation.
The Hays County Historical Commission welcomes visitors to the depot on Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm or by appointment. Admission is free. Watch the City of Kyle’s website for special events held at the depot.
Walking through the depot, you’ll learn about the economic, social, racial, and logistical impact of the railroad. At some point, it will have a restored caboose added to its collection.
A Photo Is Worth a Thousand Words
Be sure to stop by the Kyle Railroad Depot and Heritage Center Facebook page to see breathtaking photos of trains. One intriguing photo shared shows a train wreck near Lufkin, Texas in 1893. It’s a fascinating photo with two dressed up ladies on the left, a heavily bearded man in the middle, and the reactions of everyone on or beside the train.
It’s clear the train is wrecked. Yet, males and females stand or sit on top of the train. Look closer and you’ll see a dog resting on the train. It turns out staging wrecks was a pastime from the late 1890s until the 1930s according to an Atlas Obscura story.
Do you know the names of the parts of a switch on a railroad? A photo on the Facebook page shows you where the frog point rails are as well as the frog, point of the frog, heal, switch road, and more.