The depot was built in 1898, replacing a boxcar that had served as the office for the station agent since the railroad came to Katy in 1895. The depot was typical of early generation construction and was built from a standard plan. Broad overhanging eaves surrounded the stations, large projecting windows allowed the station agent a view of incoming trains, and the exterior was wood with a large loading platform for cargo and passengers. Steam engines required coal, produced soot and dispensed poisonous, dirty and greasy smoke fumes. Flying sparks frequently set fires to the wooden depots so not many of the original structures remain today.
Growth in the area led to an expansion 1919. When the depot was originally constructed, there was one waiting room. The depot was enlarged by cutting it in half, pulling the halves apart and adding an additional waiting room. The Katy MKT Depot building you visit today has not been changed (except for fresh paint, utilities and the addition of a restroom) since that renovation. In 1979, the Depot had deteriorated and was slated to be removed or destroyed and a concerned group of citizens formed an organization to save the historic building. They called themselves The Katy Heritage Society. The city purchased the building for $25.00 and it was moved an area near Katy City Park.
The new group spent many months planning, researching and completing an extensive and historically correct restoration. A few years later, the Katy Heritage Society acquired a Caboose and installed it near the newly restored Depot building.
The caboose was painted to resemble an MKT caboose but is actually retired from the Copper Range RR in Michigan. The caboose was built for the CRRR for $2,177., circa 1910–17. It remained in service for many years on the upper Keweenaw Peninsula. In 1972 the caboose was sold to a private party for use as a guest room. That conversion was never completed and the caboose became the property of the George Foundation until it was acquired by the KHS in 1986. It was identified as a CRRR caboose in 1992 but how and when it made its way to Texas is still uncertain.
In 2005, the city of Katy acquired land near the original depot location, so the MKT Depot and Caboose were moved once again. The present location on First Street has been beautifully landscaped and improved to highlight these important historic landmarks. Today the building houses the Katy Heritage Society Museum of local railroad history and the City of Katy’s Visitors Center.
Visit the Depot Monday - Friday 9AM - 3PM and
Saturday from 10AM - 2PM.