The work to restore Kyle’s historic train depot is well underway as the first phase of the project nears completion. Repairs included installing a new foundation and roof, as well as construction of several brick chimneys.
The project is expected to move into Phase II later this month to restore the building’s exterior. The work will involve replacing the wood exterior, repairing or replacing the doors and windows, and adding fresh paint to bring the building back to its original look.
The project, which is expected to cost approximately $900,000, is funded mostly by private donations. The city of Kyle dedicated $250,000 to the project through bonds to be repaid through the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax Fund. Additional donations include a $25,000 grant from the Pedernales Electric Cooperative. Other grants and donations came from the Burdine Johnson Foundation, Soliref Inc., and various private contributors.
Work in future phases will restore the building’s interior to its original state. The plans also include installing new electrical and plumbing systems, a new HVAC system, and new wall framing, restrooms and finishes. Other site improvements include a community plaza, a restroom outbuilding, and relocation of the caboose on new tracks.
The building, circa 1917, has played a key role in the history of the city of Kyle. Even before the train depot was built, the railroad was the reason for establishing the town. In 1880, city founders David Moore and Fergus Kyle deeded 200 acres to the International-Great Northern Railroad with the intention of starting a town, which later became the city of Kyle.
For years, the depot was the center of activity and remains a key element as a gateway into the city’s historic downtown.
The entire project is expected to take 10 to 12 months, depending on funding. Once the project is completed, the building will be used as a museum commemorating Kyle’s history and will also continue to house the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The work that has been completed already is remarkable and substantial,” said Kate Johnson, chairperson for the Kyle Train Depot Committee. “We still have a lot more to do, particularly in the area of fundraising, to see this through. We are truly appreciative to everyone who has given to the project so far and look forward to completing this project and returning the building to a proper public use.”