The Rockport Cultural Arts District (RCAD) Announces Receipt of Donation Letter for the Rockport San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad Depot


Rockport, Texas – (November 23, 2020) The Rockport Cultural Arts District (RCAD) is moving forward with its plans to restore and repurpose the historic Rockport San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad Depot building.   Dave Beckham, the owner, donated the Depot to RCAD, located in the center of the District at 106 S. Magnolia Street,  including an 18’ footprint on the north, west, south side, and eastward frontage to Magnolia Street.


RCAD has received initial funding to stabilize the building and begin restoration, including a Cultural District Project Grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA).  The opportunity to apply for this grant was made possible by the establishment of the Rockport Cultural Arts District in 2016.     Additionally, RCAD received a generous grant from the Margaret Sue Rust Foundation for additional restoration.   Executive Director, Jennifer Day, notes, “It is a privilege to receive awards from these two organizations that have championed the arts and historic preservation.   Locals and visitors appreciate the value of the Depot as a symbol of Rockport’s cultural heritage, and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”   Additional fund-raising is planned, including the sale of merchandising with a distinctive Rockport Railroad Depot logo, which can be found on RCAD’s website.


RCAD’s visionary goal is to restore and utilize the historic  Depot as a main transportation hub for the Heritage and Cultural Arts District, as well as provide District parking, including the required parking for the new Center for the Arts Complex.       The vision includes mobility options such as Bicycle Rentals, Trolley Stop, Parking for Foot Traffic, Public Bathrooms, serving Merchants, Art Galleries, Restaurants, Festival Ground, Civic Core Building, Museum, Education Centers, Marina, Harbor and Beach areas of the District.    RCAD’s vision mirrors the growth and positive role of the railroad in Rockport in the 1890s, bringing business and tourists to downtown hotels, restaurants and merchants, for hunting and fishing, and musical and theatrical events.   The town’s population grew from 600 in 1888 to 2,500 by 1890.   Restoration will attract cultural and heritage tourists, including significant existing network of railroad enthusiasts, museum and history buffs, families and students.


Plans are in process to hold a showcase event of RCAD’s acquisition of the Railroad Depot in the coming months.   Hugh Hemphill, past director of the State Transportation Museum for 17 years, will be the key event speaker.      Branding and merchandising have been completed to highlight one of Rockport’s most impacting historic attractions.


RCAD received its designation as a Texas Cultural District by the Texas Commission on the Arts in September of 2016.    RCAD is the first designated Cultural Arts District in the Coastal Bend, one of only 48 in the State, and   RCAD as an economic development asset for Rockport, to preserve and build the cultural, culinary and visual arts which attract visitors and entrepreneurs to this small and distinct community.  For more information on the district or the grants, visit



Rockport Rail Road Depot Logo