THE ELGIN DEPOT MUSEUM
THE ELGIN DEPOT MUSEUM, 14 Depot Street, Elgin, Texas
Located in the historic Union Depot, circa 1903, the museum includes an extensive archive collection and is the repository for historic photographs in the community. Museum volunteers and staff are available to assist with research including genealogy questions. The building was restored in 2002. Operated by the Elgin Historical Association, the museum is open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Group tours are also available by appointment. To schedule, contact Archivist Debbie Warhmund.
The museum has both rotating exhibits and permanent exhibits on the development of Elgin and an Area Veterans Display in the old ticket office starting with area Veterans from the Texas Revolution. We are fundamentally a local history museum, although we have quite a few items relating to the railroad. Our archive of photos is extensive and we have an archive of historic papers: family, business, etc. We can provide genealogical help also. Click here for more information about the Elgin Depot Museum.
The Elgin Depot Museum, Circa 1903
The Elgin Depot Museum displays include numerous photographs, World War II memorabilia and railroad-related items. The building itself is a testament to Elgin's railroad history.
The City of Elgin was created by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad on August 18, 1872 and named for Robert Morris Elgin, the railroad’s land commissioner, following the practice of naming new railroad towns after officers of the company. The original plat placed the train depot in the center of a one square mile area.
The City of Elgin owes its existence to a major flood of the Colorado River in 1869. Originally, the railroad was to have run from McDade, ten miles east of Elgin, southwest to the Colorado River at a point somewhere between Bastrop and Webberville, then to Austin following the river.
Many of the original residents of the new town of Elgin came from Perryville, or Hogeye as it was nicknamed, located 2 miles to the south. The community was known by three different names. The post office was officially named Young’s Settlement, and the churches and Masonic Lodge carried the name Perryville. The name Hogeye was given to the stage stop at the Litton home where the community dances were held and according to legend, the fiddler knew only one tune. “Hogeye”, which he played over and over as the crowd danced on the puncheon floor.
In 1885, a group of citizens met in Elgin to organize a new north-south railroad which would run from Taylor, the rail head for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (“Katy”) Railroad 16 miles to the north, through Elgin to Bastrop, the county seat, 16 miles to the south. The Taylor, Elgin and Bastrop Railroad were formed in 1886 and began building the line. That same year the “Katy” acquired the line and continued the construction on to Houston. Thus, Elgin became the beneficiary of two major rail lines with eight passenger trains daily.
By 1890, the population of Elgin had reached 831, and Elgin was growing during the next few years many new businesses were started. The construction business, brick making, farming, and nearby coalmines brought many Latin American and Black citizens to the area.
The year 1900 produced a bumper crop of cotton and Elgin prospered. The population had increased to 1,258. The city incorporated in 1901, electing Charles Gillespie, building contractor, Mayor; J.D. Hemphill, Marshal; W.E. McCullough, J. Wed Davis, Ed Lawhon, Max Hirach, and F.S. Wade, Aldermen. Local law enforcement was established to enforce newly established civil and criminal codes. By 1910, Elgin was enjoying a period of great prosperity as families from out on the prairie and surrounding communities moved to Elgin and built nice homes.
Elgin rapidly became the most important agricultural center in Bastrop County. Five cotton gins and a cotton oil mill were in operation at the same time. Three manufacturing brick companies in the area gave Elgin the title, “The Brick Capital of the Southwest.”
The above history of Elgin is taken from the web site, ElginTX.com and The New Handbook of Texas published by The Texas State Historical Association.