Railroads are an integral part of Rosenberg’s history, and will continue to be a very important part of our future.
By 1865, Houston was the leading railroad center in Texas with most of Galveston's business passing through it. Trains in and out of Galveston were sometimes blocked to quarantine goods suspected of spreading yellow fever. Henry von Rosenberg, our city’s namesake, migrated from Switzerland to the United States in 1843 and settled in Galveston in 1873. Rosenberg was the first president of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe Railroad. In 1873, a group led by Rosenberg and the Sealy brothers made plans to build the GCSF railroad to circumvent the Houston route and extend to Temple, Texas. The GCSF turned south around Richmond, and crossed the GHSA at Rosenberg Junction in 1880.
A depot was built and the junction soon grew into a town with many businesses. In 1881, Count Joseph Telfener moved to Rosenberg to begin work on the New York, Texas and Mexican Railway leading to Victoria. In 1882, the NYTM railroad began the "Macaroni Line" making Rosenberg the junction of the Santa Fe, Southern Pacific & Southern Pacific's Victoria Division Railroads.
Rosenberg was founded in 1883, and in 1884, the Wells Fargo Company opened an office, and railroad shipments were expanded to include everything from crates of chickens to huge amounts of gold bullion and silver. Rosenberg boomed with nearby ranches and plantations sending cattle and cotton for shipments daily. Today, three different rail lines still operate through Rosenberg - UP, BNSF and KCS.
Railroad history is inextricably linked to Rosenberg’s history, and this is celebrated by the Rosenberg Railroad Museum (RRM), which is located in the heart of downtown, immediately adjacent to the railroad tracks. The museum’s main building is modeled after Rosenberg’s original Union Depot, which served the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific lines from 1883 to 1917, until it was replaced by a stucco building in 1917. The RRM is also home to Tower 17, the original switching tower on-site that was utilized from 1903 until it was decommissioned in 2004. Tower 17 was authorized by the Texas Railroad Commission in 1903 and controlled the crossing of the GCSF and the GHSA lines. Visitors to the museum can operate the switching mechanisms as they learn about the history of rail through interactive exhibits.
Railroads helped make Rosenberg the "Hub of the Gulf Coast," and will undoubtedly play a key role in its future, with the town's optimal logistic location to the ports of Houston and Freeport, and to the Interstate 10 and US 59 corridors, as well as to UP’s main rail line along US 90, continue to be a driver of development in the area.
Rosenberg is proud of its 129 years of shared history with Union Pacific, and excited about the chapters yet to write together in the future!