Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum

By: Dorothy McVey

Type: General Entry

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: April 27, 2016

The Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum, in Teague, was officially opened on October 4, 1970, and is housed in the original Trinity and Brazos Valley Railway depot and office building. The depot was built in 1906–07 and designed by C. H. Page, Jr., an Austin architect, whose father had worked as a stone mason on the state Capitol. The two-story building combines the round arches and arcades of Romanesque styling with an asymmetrical Italianate tower. Its bichrome façade features red-brick trim on a buff-colored, pressed-brick background. The hipped roof is covered in red tile. When built, the depot was considered one of the most handsome stations in Texas.

The railway itself, the "Boll Weevil," belonged to the Burlington-Rock Island system for most of its existence and continues freight service to Teague. After a new railroad office was constructed in the 1960s, local historians, led by Llewellyn Notley, retired Teague school superintendent, and P. F. Thomas, retired railroad superintendent, acquired the building for the city of Teague from the Fort Worth and Denver Railway and the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad for one dollar. The Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum Association of Teague was organized and incorporated by the Texas secretary of state in 1969. The museum opened on October 4, 1970, with United States congressman Olin E. Teague delivering the dedicatory address. Two state historical markers were unveiled at the program.

The exhibits in the museum include a 1925 Baldwin locomotive donated by W. T. Carter and Brother of Camden, a railroad motor car, a baggage wagon, photographs, timetables, and other memorabilia. Other artifacts of local history are also preserved in the museum, including items pertaining to churches, schools, doctors and hospitals, merchants and business firms, clubs and organizations (including a Boy Scout room), civic leaders, and city officials. The Teague Volunteer Fire Department, which dates back to 1907, developed its own exhibit, which includes the department's first motorized pumper engine, a 1920s Seagraves with dual ignition. The local newspaper, the Teague Chronicle, published since 1906, has its own display, which features the Cottrell printing press used by the paper from 1906 to 1976, in addition to a copy of its first issue, dated July 27, 1906, which contains a report on the arrival of Teague's first passenger train. A Veterans' Room displays exhibits of all wars; special memorial cases honor those killed in action. The museum also serves as a permanent depository for the Teague Family Genealogical Research Center, founded by Carroll Hudgens Teague of Oklawaha, Florida. Exhibited on the museum grounds is a two-room log house, dog-trot style, built in the early 1850s for Col. B. A. Philpott near Dew and moved to Teague and restored as a United States Bicentennial project in 1976; the house was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Dale McCeig.

On March 21, 1979, the Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum building qualified for listing on the National Register of Historic Places by the Texas Historical Commission and the United States Department of the Interior. It is the only building in Freestone County so honored.

James Wright Steely, comp., A Catalog of Texas Properties in the National Register of Historic Places (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1984). Teague Chronicle, May 10, 1979. Paula and Ron Tyler, Texas Museums: A Guidebook (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).

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

Dorothy McVey, “Burlington-Rock Island Railroad Museum,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/burlington-rock-island-railroad-museum.

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November 1, 1994
April 27, 2016