The Rockport Cultural Arts District is a non-profit organization that seeks to preserve the city’s historic past and its reputation as an arts and cultural magnet. Our most recent effort to restore and repurpose the historic San Antonio and Aransas Pass Depot (SAAP) into the District’s main visitor center is another great example of what creative minds can accomplish together.
A Hub for Cultural Expression
Our vision is to once again turn this Depot into a hub for transportation and activity in the heart of our community. With mobility options such as bicycle rentals, a trolley stop, parking for foot traffic, and public restrooms the revitalized Rockport Railroad Depot will serve downtown merchants, art galleries, restaurants, and festival grounds as well as civic core buildings, the museum, education centers, marina, harbor and beach areas of the District. The Depot will become a center for displaying performance and historical educational events, exhibits, Farmer’s Markets, unique community meeting space options, and office space.
Other Ways To Help
Funds to Restore Exterior and Interior of The Depot • Loan of Period Furnishings • Historical Pictures of The Depot • Historic Railroad Artifacts – Maps, Memorabilia, Stories • Sponsorships for Special Events • Public Relations Coordination • Volunteers
The History of The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad Depot
During its early years, Rockport relied on Gulf shipping for goods and services. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad was extended in 1888 as far as Rockport; two years after it had begun service between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, its effect on the town was immediate. Rockport’s economic focus changed to include rail shipping and the growing tourism industry. The town’s population grew from 600 in 1888 to 2,500 by 1890. Businesses and hotels were built to serve the new tourism trade, four trains arrived at the Rockport Depot daily serving the burgeoning port, allowing for the swift movement of fish and turtle in one direction and tourists in the other. By the 1940s passenger rail service to Rockport ended. Freight service continued until 1985 when highway trucking replaced railroad service.
For more historical information on the Rockport Railroad, visit the Texas Transportation Museum website.