The City of Kilgore was platted by the International Railroad company after it purchased land for a townsite from C.B. "Buck" Kilgore, who had donated a 200-foot railroad right of way in 1871.
Kilgore, a resident of Danville, four miles east, recognizing the economic opportunities afforded by the railroad, soon built a new home near the station. Many other Danville citizens followed Kilgore’s lead, and a community was established and named for him.
The City of Kilgore now maintains a historic railroad station that was completed in 1872 to provide passenger and freight service and to serve as a communications center for this agricultural and lumbering area. In 1931, oil was discovered in what became known as the East Texas Oil Field and the volume of shipments from the Kilgore station increased dramatically. Later, World War II provided the depot with a steady stream of troop trains.
The rail line became known as the Missouri Pacific in 1956. As automobile, bus and air travel became more popular, rail traffic decreased, and in 1977 the Kilgore station was closed. The depot stands today as a reminder of the significant role rail transportation played in the growth and development of Kilgore in East Texas.
Today, the Union Pacific Railroad passes through the heart of Kilgore 35 times per day. Each whistle is a reminder of the importance of the railroad to our city both now and 140 years ago. We are proud of our railroad heritage and our partnership with Union Pacific, and are honored to be designated as a Train Town, USA!