Dedication 9/22/01 - Benjamin, Margaret Rudder, and TX Governor Perry
The College Station Depot · A Unique Texas Landmark
The main building of the Benjamin Knox Gallery and Art Center is the rebuilt historic College Station train depot designed by Benjamin Knox. He designed the adjoining buildings in the same colorful train depot style combined with Texas vernacular architectural elements. Included on the facility grounds are mature oak trees, antique railroad memorabilia, and a 1905 antique caboose moved from Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA.
Benjamin Knox was drawn to rebuild the College Station train depot because of its historical significance to Texas A&M University and the city of College Station. Texas A&M was established in 1876 in the Brazos Valley mainly because of the existing available train service provided by the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. The original location of the depot marked the initial stop and main entrance to the A&M campus in direct view of the Academic Building. The train conductor would yell “All out for the College- College Station!” Before the city of College Station was even incorporated, the name “College Station” was used on maps dating back to the 1880’s. In 1883 a small Victorian structure was built as a depot. The Southern Pacific Railroad took over the train line and replaced the small structure with a more prominent building in 1900 (which is the depot that the Benjamin Knox Art Gallery is an exact replica of). In 1938 the City of College Station became incorporated and derived its name from the College Station train depot. To add historical significance, the event was held at the depot. The use of the automobile eventually replaced passenger train travel, and by 1958, the College Station Depot was no longer in use. The landmark building sat dormant until it was destroyed in 1966 due to the widening of Wellborn Road.
Benjamin’s vision of bringing back the depot became a reality in 2001 after six years of intensive research, dedication, thorough design, and perseverance. It was dedicated by Texas Governor Rick Perry, State Representative Fred Brown, Texas A&M President Ray Bowen, Mayor Lynn McIlhaney, Margaret Rudder (wife of legend General James Earl Rudder), and other distinguished guests.