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RIVIERA BEACH AND WESTERN RAILWAY

RIVIERA BEACH AND WESTERN RAILWAY. The Riviera Beach and Western Railway Company, chartered on November 14, 1912, was promoted by land developer Theodore F. Koch. In 1914 it built between Riviera Beach and Riviera, a distance of ten miles. The line connected with the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. It was projected to connect Riviera Beach in Nueces County with Falfurrias in Brooks County, a distance of thirty-five miles. The capital was $35,000, and the business office was in Riviera. The members of the first board of directors were Koch, Carl C. Henny, Samuel F. Lilligren, Sidney F. Niblo, and Herbert Roedenbeck, all of Houston; P. H. Hansen and Robert Schwandt of Chicago; Richard M. Kleberg of Kingsville; Samuel A. Robertson of San Benito; and Marcus Phillips of Riviera. Koch had purchased a large tract of land from Henrietta C. King in 1907. He built the road to bring tourists and vacationers to Riviera Beach, a pleasure resort that he owned. A 200-horsepower gasoline-motor railcar, purchased in Tulsa for use on the railroad, arrived in Riviera on November 4, 1914, after an 800-mile trip from Oklahoma under its own power. Trains traveling at speeds up to twenty-five miles an hour carried both passengers and freight and made the trip between Riviera Beach and Riviera in thirty minutes. The motorcar often jumped the track because the ties and rails shifted with the sand they were laid on. The railroad ran excursions from Corpus Christi, Kingsville, and other places to Riviera Beach. A round-trip ticket between Kingsville and Riviera Beach cost one dollar; a ticket from Riviera to Riviera Beach cost fifty cents. At one time the developers of Flowella, a few miles east of Falfurrias, planned to extend the Riviera Beach and Western to that town. A route for the proposed spur was surveyed, but the line was never built. The Riviera Beach and Western was not profitable. For the period ending June 30, 1914, the company reported passenger revenues of $1,674 and freight earnings of $1,837. By 1916 the earnings had declined to $240 and $369, respectively, and the company owned one steam locomotive, two motor cars, and three freight cars. The line closed the following year and was officially abandoned in 1920.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Kleberg County Historical Commission, Kleberg County, Texas (Austin: Hart Graphics, 1979).

George O. Coalson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

George O. Coalson, "RIVIERA BEACH AND WESTERN RAILWAY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/eqr09), accessed September 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.