The Railroad in San Marcos, Texas

International and Great Northern / Missouri Pacific

International and Great Northern / Missouri Pacific railroad depot in San Marcos, Texas
International and Great Northern / Missouri Pacific railroad depot in San Marcos, Texas
The International & Great Northern built through San Marcos in 1881. San Marcos had been continuously settled since 1846, and there had been several attempts to settle the area prior to that beginning as early as 1775. The town was selected as the county seat of Hays County in 1848. It was a stopping point on the cart and stage coach trails between San Antonio and Austin. In 1870 the population of San Marcos was 742. After the arrival of the I & GN in 1881, it grew rapidly to 2,335. Cattle and agriculture were the mainstays of the economy until after the end of World War Two. It is unlikely that the depot depicted here is the original from 1881. It is a masonry structure and most early depots were built of wood. This is probably the second depot. The first one may have burned down or it was simply decided to upgrade the station. The depot remained in use until the Missouri Pacific completely abandoned passenger service in 1970. As late as 1967, there were two passenger trains a day in each direction. AMTRAK may have used the station for some time but it was ultimately abandoned and demolished. A pavilion stands on its old cement foundation. AMTRAK's "Texas Eagle" still makes a stop in San Marcos from a shaded platform.

Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad depot in San Marcos, Texas
Katy / MK&T railroad depot in San Marcos, Texas
Missouri-Kansas-Texas / M-K-T railroad depot in San Marcos, Texas
The Missouri, Kansas and Texas, nicknamed "The Katy," built its own line from San Marcos to San Antonio in 1900. It had been using the I & GN's line from Taylor, north east of Austin since 1881. While the I & GN line heads directly south from Austin to San Marcos, the MKT's line comes from Lockhart, Smithville and, ultimately, Houston. The I & GN and the MKT were both owned by Jay Gould in 1881, and they were essentially the same company south of Taylor. Gould's control of the MK&T was broken in 1888 but he managed to retain the I & GN, despite the fact that it was legally leased to the MK&T. Trackage rights became a problem for a number of reasons, and the M-K-T decided to build its own line to San Antonio from San Marcos in 1900. In 1905, an agreement was reached that allowed the M-K-T to share the I & GN's line north from San Marcos and Austin, which allowed the M K & T to avoid building between the two cities. The Missouri-Kansas-Texas left the passenger business in 1964. At this point the depot became surplus to requirements. After some years of neglect, it was acquired by a local entrepreneur and moved a few blocks. It was restored and retains many of its original design features. At the time of writing in 2005, it is in use as a restaurant.


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