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To learn more about the depot and the history of the Cotton Belt in Tyler, we recommend a visit to
Cotton Belt Depot Museum
210 East Oakwood Street in downtown Tyler, staffed by volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society, Tyler Tap Chapter

Tyler Texas museums ... historic homes, aviation museum, Rose Museum and more ... click to learn more

Planes of the Past ... a tribute to great military and commercial aircraft ... click to visit now

Cotton Belt Depot and Rail Yard in Tyler

Historic postcard of the Cotton Belt Depot, Tyler, TexasHistoric postcard: Cotton Belt Depot, Tyler, Texas

The Cotton Belt railroad depot in Tyler, Texas, opened on June 2, 1905 in downtown just west of the Cotton Belt rail yard.

The last passenger train in Tyler was in April, 1956, and afterwards the depot was used for railway offices and storage until it was abandoned in 1977.

On November 6, 1988 the Southern Pacific Railroad deeded the depot to the City of Tyler. The City used federal transportation grants, half-cent sales tax funds, and a grant from the Vaughn Foundation to restore the depot, reopening it in the summer of 2003.

The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, Texas (photograph by the author)

Today, the depot is the home of the Cotton Belt Depot Museum, and the Tyler Transit System offices.

Included in the museum's collection are four large model train layouts, photographs, uniforms, hats, etc. that have been donated by former employees of the railroad, rail fans, and friends of the depot.

Tyler Transit System, offices in the old Cotton Belt Depot,  210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasTyler Transit System, offices in the old Cotton Belt Depot, Tyler, Texas
(photograph by the author)

The museum has received visitors from all 50 states and 38 foreign counties, and is staffed by volunteers from the Cotton Belt Rail Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Historical Photographs of the Tyler Cotton Belt Rail Yard & Depot

Restored Cotton Belt Engine #819 visits Tyler, Texas in 1988Restored Cotton Belt Engine #819 visits Tyler, Texas in 1988. More than 1,000 Tyler residents greeted the historic steam engine. The arrival of this special nine-car train in Tyler coincided with ceremonies donating the depot to the City of Tyler. For the first time in more than 33 years, the 4-8-4 Northern-style oil burner made the trip from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Tyler, the two traditional capitals of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway. The round-trip spanned 560 miles.
Passenger train at Tyler, Texas Cotton Belt depot being pulled by steam engine #107Passenger train at Tyler, Texas Cotton Belt depot being pulled by steam engine #107
Construction at the Cotton Belt shops in Tyler, Texas, about 1898, showing horse-drawn plows and gradersConstruction at the Cotton Belt shops in Tyler, Texas, about 1898, showing horse-drawn plows and graders
Flag raising ceremonies at the opening of the new Cotton Belt shops in Tyler, Texas, in 1898Flag raising ceremonies at the opening of the new
Cotton Belt shops in Tyler, Texas, in 1898

The Cotton Belt rail yards remain in Tyler, but have changed even since 1995

The Cotton Belt yards, Tyler, Texas, aerial view, 1995 (Google Maps) The Cotton Belt yards, Tyler, Texas, aerial view, 1995 (Google Maps)

Recent Photographs of the Cotton Belt Depot in Tyler

The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasThe Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)
The Cotton Belt Depot Museum, 210 East Oakwood Street, Tyler, TexasTrain Bulletin at the Cotton Belt Depot Museum
(photograph by the author)

Sign at the Cotton Belt Depot Museum, Tyler Texas

Wrought ironwork at the Cotton Belt Museum in Tyler Texas

Plaque on the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, the Cotton Belt, passenger depot in Tyler Texas ... on the National Register of Historic Places

 

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