The Railroad in Center Point, Texas

Center Point in Kerr County is located half way between Bandera and Fredericksburg, and between Comfort and Kerrville. It is on the south side of the Guadalupe River from HWY 27, the old main road to Kerrville from San Antonio. The old railroad right of way ran adjacent to the highway, on the north side. This land was owned by the de Ganahl family who provided right of way for the San Antonio & Aransas Pass in 1888. The family hoped this would spur new settlement on their property but this didn't happen until the road was improved after the railroad was pulled up in 1971.
The community of Center Point was created by German settlers in 1859 and originally named Zanzenburg. With its proximity to a railroad depot, water and good land, the community thrived. By 1900 it had around 500 inhabitants, churches, schools, a post office, a newspaper and several establishments catering to the tourist trade. Although Center Point was never in the running to become the seat of Kerr County it was, in fact, considerably larger than Kerrville when that town landed the honor (again) in 1860.
Center Point railroad depot in its original location
Original San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad depot in Center Point, Kerr County, 1939
 
Original San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad depot in Center Point, Kerr County, 1967
 
Original San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad depot in Center Point, Kerr County, 1967
 
Original San Antonio & Aransas Pass railroad depot in Center Point, Kerr County, 1967
Having established Camp Verde, famous for its camel experiment, to secure the area from attacks by native American tribes hostile to the new settlers, the army in the 1890s was looking for larger and safer live fire training grounds with better communications with San Antonio. Several sites along the line to Kerrville were used at one time or another, the best known being Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis. An artillery range was in operation north of Kerrville prior to World War One itself. The de Ganahl family also provided land for a rifle range for many years. At this time the depot was listed as Ganahl in railroad timetables though it was later changed to Center Point to avoid confusion, as there was no community hear the depot itself. You can still plainly see its isolation as late as the 1960s when the color images above were taken.
Center Point railroad depot in Boerne
Center Point railroad depot in Boerne, 2004, having also spent time in Kerrville
 
Center Point railroad depot in Boerne, 2004, having also spent time in Kerrville
 
Addition on the rear of the Center Point railroad depot in Boerne, 2004
 
Roof detail on the Center Point railroad depot in Boerne, 2004
As roads improved, and vacation tastes changed, Center Point failed to grow in proportion with nearby Comfort and Kerrville. In the mid 1950s its railroad depot was one of the first to be closed along the line. It remained in place, isolated as ever, until around 1980 when it was purchased and relocated to Kerrville. Around 2000 it was relocated again and can now be found serving as a boutique in a business center comprised of similar interesting older structures.
Center Point railroad depot back in Center Point but not in its original location
Center Point railroad depot under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
Center Point railroad depot under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
Center Point railroad depot under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
Center Point railroad depot under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
Center Point railroad depot waiting room ticket windows under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
Center Point railroad depot freight room under restoration in "downtown" center Point, August 2016
After the rock store closed and the entire "antique building" shopping area fell on hard times, the old depot remained empty for a few years until efforts by Center Point residents made it possible for their old depot to come back to its old home town around 2014. It was not placed in its original location near HWY 27 that runs between Comfort and Kerrville. Instead it was placed in a park like area in the main part of town where it is much quieter. It will serve as an anchor building in a history park with a few other unique building nearby. The addition on its rear has been removed and a brand new rood installed. As of August 2016, restoration efforts are coming along nicely.
Postcard image of Center Point, Kerr County, Texas
 
General Store, Center Point, Texas, 1912
 
General Store, Center Point, Texas, 2005
Modern Center Point is experiencing a quiet revival of sorts as more and more people head out from the cities looking for quieter communities in the cool of the Hill Country. Although the town remains unincorporated it has its own independent school district. The old general store is now an antique store. Its owner hopes to recreate the dramatic staircase to its upper level and possibly operate an eating establishment of some kind in the currently unoccupied space. Even with a population of 1,000 things are as slow as ever in Center Point. While this was once a handicap, it is now exactly what many wealthy retirees are looking for. The Guadalupe River burbles on, its bucolic aspects undisturbed.

 

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