B-RI Railroad Holds Teague History

THE B-RI RAILROAD AND HISTORICAL Museum is the jewel of Teague and the keeper of Teague’s history. Come visit and see the wonderful displays and learn about the great City of Teague.

Teague's oldest landmark, the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railway Depot, which now houses the Burlington - Rock Island Railroad and Historical Museum, is a wonderful source of history for the City of Teague. There are rooms containing history, pictures and memorabilia of almost every aspect of Teague in its 106-year history.

The beautiful rotunda houses the rich history of the railroad. There is so much to see. In the beginning, the first floor of the building contained the ticket office, one waiting room for white women, one waiting room for white men, a Negro waiting room and ticket office, a baggage room, a dining room for the Vannoy Restaurant, a kitchen and three restrooms. The second floor was used for the general railroad offices for the superintendent, the roadmaster, the trainmaster, division engineer, dispatchers and clerks.

In the B-RI Railroad Museum there are pictures from the first passenger train that came to the depot, in Teague, on July 23, 1906, to the last one to come in 1966. There are old tickets and railroad passes and much of the paperwork that contains many names of the people who first ran the Trinity & Brazos Valley Railroad that put Teague on the map. There are many of the tools on display used by the railroad men.

Also on the first floor is the first printing press used by the Teague Chronicle. It was that press that printed the first edition of The Teague Chronicle dated July 27, 1906.

There are sections that feature prominent families through the years who contributed to the early success of Teague and pictures of the different businesses that flooded Teague during its boom time.

There is a school section depicting school life in Teague, an Early Texas Life display, Veterans Room including the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict and Vietnam, doctors and medical care, churches, Boy Scouts, and a Teague family Genealogical Research Department.

The history of the building itself is very interesting as it all led to the famous Teague Barbecue and Lot Sale. One of the grandest days in the history of Teague.

The Teague T&BV Railroad Depot was built in 1906 at a cost of $14,776. Architect for the depot was C.H. Page, Jr. of Austin whose father had immigrated from Scotland as a stone mason to work on the state capitol building in Austin.

The buff pressed brick used in the construction of the depot were made at Elgin, Texas. A little six-year old boy, Master Jack Plummer, the son of a Teague railroad engineer, laid the first brick in the construction of the building.

Teague's depot was recognized as one of the most beautiful passenger stations in Texas when it was first built. One of the most valuable acquisitions now on display in the museum is a sterling silver teaspoon which was made to commemorate the construction of the building. An engraving of the depot is in the bottom of the spoon with "T. & B.V. Railroad Depot, Teague, Texas," engrossed around its edges. An engraving of the State Seal of Texas decorates the front end of the spoon handle while engravings of the state capitol building, the Alamo, and the Mission San Francisco of San Antonio decorate the backside of the handle.

After passenger train service was discontinued and a new railroad office was built in Teague, the depot was sold for $1 on December 12, 1968, to the City of Teague by its owners, the Fort Worth & Denver Railway Company and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, for the purpose of establishing the B-RI Railroad Museum.

The museum was officially opened on October 4, 1970, with the late Congressman Olin E. Teague delivering the dedicatory address.

On March 21, 1979, the depot building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the Texas Historical Commission and the United States Department of Interior.

As well as all of the wonderful things to see and learn about at the B-RI Museum, there is "Big Mike," a Baldwin Steam Locomotive from 1926. Its great not only because it is wonderful to see an old steam locomotive up close but also because the children are allowed to climb up into it and really get a feel of it. There is also the old caboose that they can go through. The best part is when they get to ring the bell on the front of Big Mikes engine!

The B-RI Museum has the 1926 Seagraves Fire Truck. It was the early fire trucks purchased in Teague and served the Teague Volunteer Fire Department for many years. The children are also allowed to sit on the fire truck and have their picture taken! What a fun learning experience.

On the museum yard is an old city jail cell, moonshine equipment and the Philpott Log Home.

The Col. B.A. Philpott log home was reconstructed behind the B-RI Railroad Museum and contains furnishing from local families. This 1850 structure was moved from Dew. It contains a bedroom and a kitchen, each with fireplaces and a "dog trot" between. It was donated to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. Dale McCeig who owned the land where it was originally built. It's moving and furnishing was a "Heritage Project" of the Bicentennial. Col. Philpott was a veteran of the Civil War.

The B-RI Railroad Museum is open on weekends from 1 - 5 p.m. and closed on the weekends before Christmas and New Years. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Special tours are available and it is a wonderful place for special events. Call Benny Walker at 254-739-2153 for more information.

The volunteers for the B-RI Museum are: Jeannie and Edgar Bowers, Charles Hull, Dickey Moore, Charles Day, Fred Epps, Libby Epps, Sally Gregory, Charles Steen, Terry Sartor, Gaylon Hall, Evaughn Cox, Betty French, Marilyn Michaud, and Billy McSpadden. The Board of Trustees include: president, Benny Walker; treasurer, Gaylon Hall; secretary, Libby Eppes and Curator of the museum is Ginny Folsom and Terry Sartor takes care of maintenance for the museum.

It has taken many years and a tremendous effort from people who love Teague to put this magnificent museum together for our town and all of the future citizens of Teague to enjoy and learn from. If you haven't visited the B-RI Railroad Museum lately, come and see what's new. Don't forget the children! It's an amazing learning experience for them and a lot of fun.

(museum history taken from the files of Miss Dorothy McVey)

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