Fort Stockton Visitor Center

Experience our special heritage!

[column size=”4-6″]

The Fort Stockton Visitor’s Center is located in the original Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad Depot constructed in 1911. The city secured the depot in 1991 and rehabbed the building to become the community’s official “Tourism Center.” The Visitor Center Depot houses information regarding Fort Stockton and other tourism destinations. The center is currently home to the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Stockton Economic Development Corporation and the Fort Stockton Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

The first train arrived in Fort Stockton in 1912 and the rail proved to be successful for many years. The rail changed hands several times before Texas became involved in the preservation and operation of the rail line. In 1989 the Commission provided a $3 million secured grant to the South Orient Rural Rail Transportation District towards the purchase from the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. In return for the grant, TxDOT received the existing right- of-way for the rail line and a security interest in the installed rails and ties. By 1998 the operators of the rail, the South Orient Railroad Company, filed an abandonment application with the STB. In 1999 the Texas legislature appropriated $6 million towards the $9.5 million purchase price of the rail line from SO RC.

The South Orient line is one of only seven rail gateways between the United States and Mexico and has the potential to relieve some of the congestion at other border crossings through the diversion of rail traffic to the gateway at Presidio/Ojinaga. The 391-mile long line is the only significant amount of rail owned by the state of Texas.

The historic South Orient train line

[/column]

Visitor Center Grounds

In 2008 the City of Fort Stockton undertook the rehabilitation and transformation of the grounds surrounding the Depot. Terraced gardens, interpretive sculptures, a water feature and new lighting and signage highlight the communities past and its roots in the energy industry. The new grounds highlight five important pieces of Fort Stockton’s History; The Comanche War Trail and the Comanche People, The Buffalo Soldiers, Comanche Springs, Early Settlers and Vaqueros.

Each area has interpretive signage to give visitors a brief history of the period and the subjects on display. It is the community’s hope, through the experience of the Visitor Center Grounds that each guest will come away with a unique experience and appreciation of our special heritage.

The grounds offer a great opportunity for photo shoots with friends and family. You may even be lucky enough to catch the Monarch Butterfly migration.

 

Fort2011Fort Stockton Visitor Center