Historic Structures

Southern Pacific Railroad Train Station, Brownsville Texas

Date added: August 22, 2016 Categories: Texas Train Station

The coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad to Brownsville on November 14, 1927, before the station was built, was perhaps the most significant event associated with the site. The Rio Grande Valley had enjoyed a spectacular growth from 1900 to 1930. This growth can be attributed to two factors—the introduction of irrigation in 1898, and the coming of the railroad in 1905. The Missouri Pacific Railroad had entered this area in 1905, and on May 11, 1925, the Interstate Commerce Commission granted permission for the Southern Pacific to acquire the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, which held a charter into the Valley. The completion of the Southern Pacific to its southernmost point in Brownsville was a major event. The driving of the golden spike was scheduled to coincide with the first annual South Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention. The City of Brownsville staged a celebration when November 14 was declared Southern Pacific Day.

In an issue of the Brownsville Herald carrying notices dated Nov. 1 (from Ankora, Turkey, on the Mustapha Kamal Pasha; from Belgrade, Jugoslavia, concerning suspension of telegraph and telephone censorship which had been instigated as the result of a Carolist plot; and a possible visit to Brownsville of Ruth Elder, American aviatrix), there appears Mayor A. B. Cole's "PROCLAMATION" which stated: “On November 14th- and 15th., the City of Brownsville will stage in connection with- the South- Texas Chamber of Commerce Convention a large celebration on the coming of the Southern Pacific Railroad to this city. We expect to have with us thousands of visitors, many of whom will be here for the first time.

We are particularly anxious that Brownsville present a neat and attractive appearance and I, as Mayor of Brownsville, urge that property owners make special effort to clean up his or her premises, cutting all weeds, mowing lawns, etc.

The general good appearance of our city will leave a lasting impression on our visitors.”

The crowd assembled in Washington Park, near the station, was the largest the town had ever seen- The Southern Pacific sent a duplicate of the Sunset Limited from Houston carrying H. M. Lull, Vice President, G. S. Waide, General Manager, and W. C. McConnick, General Passenger Agent. They also sent the special track-laying machine which made possible the rapid extension of the line from Harlingen to Brownsville. Although the station was not completed until later, the first scheduled passenger train entered Brownsville on November 10, 1927. (Brownsville Herald, November 1-15, 1927.)