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Historic Brownsville Museum (Southern Pacific Railroad Depot)

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Southern Pacific Railroad Depot
1928, L. B. McCoy; 1984 rehabilitation, Richard MyCue. 601 E. Madison St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead)

The depot was the terminus for a new rail line coming from San Antonio with stops at architecturally related facilities in McAllen, Edinburg ( MR14), and Harlingen. The Spanish Mediterranean building designed by McCoy, staff architect for the Houston office of the Southern Pacific Railroad, includes curved parapets, red tile roofs, and numerous cast-stone details. The arched entrance at the center of the stuccoed east elevation resonates with Spanish Mission details, especially the circular motif at its top that contains the Southern Pacific emblem. Set in a lawn with palm trees, the depot reinforced the sense of arrival at a tropical paradise for midwestern newcomers in the 1920s. After its closure in 1952, and an ensuing period of neglect, the depot was acquired by the city in 1980 and rehabilitated as the Historic Brownsville Museum in 1984. Its interior features are intact, including drinking fountains, stenciled beams, and ticket counter.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.

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