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Kingsville's 1904 Train Depot Museum gets a makeover

Posted at 11:08 AM, Jul 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 12:09:31-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The train depot in Kingsville has stood in place for 118 years.

About 158 miles of track connected Corpus Christi and Brownsville when it was a fully functioning station, which helped the small town of Kingsville, and South Texas, flourish.

Third-generation Kingsville resident Nick Harrel’s great-grandfather first arrived in Kingsville in 1908, and he worked for the railroad.

“Growing up around this, it’s all history to me,” Harrel said.

In 1916, Harrel’s grandfather started the city’s Harrel Drug Company, and more than 100 years later, it’s still running. It’s been in the same building for 90 years, selling prescription medicines and running a soda fountain in the space. Harrel said that the business still is run very similarly to how his grandfather did it.

He sees it as a way of preserving his family's legacy, and he applies that same mentality to Kingsville as a whole.

“I think it’s very educational for people to find out how we got here, and how far we have come,” he said.

By joining the Kleberg County Historical Foundation, Harrel makes sure the 1904 Train Depot Museum is maintained. City and grant funds recently were used to do maintenance work.

“The building hadn’t been painted in 20 years,” Harrel said.

For almost two months, updates and repairs were done inside and out of the 1904 Train Depot Museum at a cost of $47,000.

City of Kingsville Director of Tourism Janine Reyes said a fresh coat of paint can go a long way for a 118-year-old building.

“We already had budgeted 35,000 for the inside of the building,” she said. “Dormers, some of the structure that just needed to be re-addressed, and we redid the air-conditioning system in there. That can be a very costly project.”

The city also used $12,000 of COVID-19 relief funds to paint the outside of the train depot.