Rockport Cultural Arts District Successful In Fund Raising for Rockport Railroad Depot Restoration
May 5, 2021
The Rockport Cultural Arts District (RCAD) is continuing to work towards the restoration of the historic San Antonio – Aransas Pass (SAAP) Rockport Railroad Depot. Thanks to a donation from the Depot’s owner, Mr. Dave Beckham, RCAD plans to take possession of the structure in May. A celebration of the event is being planned for later this spring.
Initial fund-raising for the restoration of the Depot has been successful. H.E.B. has donated $5000, the Summerlee Foundation has donated $5,000, and the Margaret Sue Rust Foundation has donated $25,000. The Texas Commission for the Arts, which designated RCAD as the 39th Texas State Cultural District in 2016, has also awarded a grant for just under $35,000. Many available grants require matching funds so RCAD is working to ensure their availability through diverse funding sources. RCAD recently held a fund-raising event with a visit from the San Antonio Model T organization and is selling signature merchandise with the Depot’s logo. Depot fundraising has also included private donations. Tax exempt donations can be made at www.rockportculturalartsdistrict.com.
Jennifer Day, Executive Director for RCAD, noted, “The Depot is a source of local community pride and an icon for our history and culture, and we’re honored to help preserve it. We’re working on many fronts to repurpose it as a helpful resource for District merchants, Art Center and Civic buildings with surrounding parking areas linked to other mobility options. We have also had tremendous support from statewide transportation and railroad experts, assisting us with research and networking. The RCAD Board anticipates the Depot will also be a tourist destination for history buffs who come to the area to visit sites like the Texas Maritime Museum, Fulton Mansion and History Center for Aransas County. Heritage tourism is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the US.”
A Depot Advisory Group is being formed to help elicit community ideas, collect photographs and artifacts for display, and research exhibits and programs. Members of local, regional and statewide history and railroad associations have been engaged. A children’s book about the SA-AP’s history and impact on the area is also being developed.
More information about this initiative can be found at https://rockportculturalartsdistrict.com/rockport-railroad-depot/ The Depot Facebook page also has more information https://www.facebook.com/RockportRailroadDepot
This 1929 photograph depicts the San Antonio-Aransas Pass Railroad tracks leading from the Rockport Depot out into the Bay.
A 1903 photographs shows sportsmen riding the rails on the San Antonio-Aransas Pass Railroad tracks leading from Portland to Corpus Christi across Nueces Bay.