1902 Dickinson Railroad Depot
The Dickinson Depot sat along the railroad tracks not far from Hwy. 3 and FM 517 East. The Depot was part of the Galveston, Houston, and Henderson (G.H. & H.) Railroad Line, which was one of the earliest railroads in Texas. Chartered in 1853 the G.H&H was one of the oldest lines in Texas to retain its original charter name and the first railroad to reach the Texas Gulf Coast. The line gained financial stability in 1882, under the ownership and empire of Jay Gould.
The original Dickinson Depot was built in 1859, and later burned in 1900. A new Depot was designed and built in 1902 by architect George B. Stowe, a prominent Galveston architect. More elaborate than the other depots along the line, Stowe’s design called for a red brick mantle fireplace, double half-moon doors, and a bay window overlooking the tracks.
Through the doors of this beautiful Victorian-styled structure traveled thousands of visitors to the Dickinson, Galveston, and Houston area. Many of the visitors spent their days at the picnic grounds, racetrack, and various Dickinson events. It is no wonder that this Depot helped to name the town of Dickinson. Situated on property of once owned by John Dickinson, one of Stephen F. Austin’s original “Old Three Hundred” settlers, the station came to be known as the “Dickinson Station” so many of the travelers came to know and enjoy the area as “Dickinson,” even though several other names were tried in identifying the region.
For these many reasons, the Weed N Wish Garden Club members came to love, and later own, the Dickinson Depot. They could not allow the little depot, which had been so significant in developing our city, to be destroyed.
They took it upon themselves to restore, renovate, and maintain the Dickinson Station as an area community center and museum. At a time when there existed no City government, the Garden Club ladies raised the money necessary to move and restore the Dickinson depot. Only a short time into the fundraising and restoration work, the Garden Club members were offered the League City Depot. Knowing its importance to the area; as well as the state, the ladies decided to add to their fundraising burden and save the League City Depot, as well.
For many years, these ladies provided a fabulous community center and museum to visitors and residents, but the expense and hardship of maintaining the buildings became too much for the Garden Club, and it was donated to the City of Dickinson. Understanding the significance of the two depots to our state and town, the City of Dickinson aided in forming the Dickinson Historical Society. The Society took on the task fundraising and restoring the depots, with the assistance of the City: Dickinson Economic Development Corporation, TXDOT, Texas Historical Commission, and many other supporters. Today stands the Dickinson Historic Railroad Center, a community meeting facility, visitor center, museum, gift shop, bicycle rest stop, and offices for the Dickinson Historical Society, as well as the Dickinson Economic Development Corporation.