Historic Sealy


Sealy's Railroad Heritage

It was 1879 when George Sealy, president of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad, purchased land originally granted to the township of San Felipe de Austin, for the purpose of establishing both railroad lines and a depot.  Sealy became a main division point between Galveston and Temple. 

The railroad became the town's principal employer. With the arrival of the German and Czech settlers farming and ranching became part of the economy.

The Missouri Kansas & Texas line from Austin to Houston was built in the 1880's and early 1890's - reaching Houston in 1893. The MK&T Sealy Depot image on the right above is from a postcard postmarked 1908.

Approximately 10 years ago when acquiring land for the I-10 expansion, the State of Texas bought the railroad right-of-way from Union Pacific, successor to MK&T, so the former MK&T tracks now end just east of Sealy.

The joint passenger depot in the photo above left, was at the southwest corner intersection of the former Santa Fe tracks (BNSF today) and the former MK&T tracks. The view from this image is looking northbound along the Santa Fe tracks. Two of the vehicles in the photo are 1928-1931 Model A Fords.


Santa Fe Park Museum
Many artifacts from the early days of Sealy and Austin County are displayed, including a caboose and early maintainer.

Open 2nd Saturdays


Sealy Historical Park
at East Main and Silliman Street


Santa Fe Railroad Museum


Sante Fe Museum     


1927 Way Car (caboose)

The caboose was manufactured in 1927 and is one of the first 150 steel cabooses manufactured for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. Railroad companies refer to a caboose as a "way car."

The interior and exterior of the caboose are nearly original. We even have the original window shades. The only additions and changes to the caboose are the addition of a toilet and electricity and replacement of the wooden tool/storage box beneath the caboose and replacement of the top rails on the cupola. These changes were made by the railroad company.

​In 2011, the exterior and interior of the caboose were restored to their original appearance, down to repainting the number “1605” and “AT&SF” on the sides in the original size and font. Documentation of the original colors for the interior and exterior were obtained, allowing the Sealy Area Historical Society to turn back the clock for the caboose.

Much of the funding for restoration of the caboose was provided by the Abe and Irene Levine Trust.


Sealy Santa Fe Museum Piano

This piano was used in Sealy’s first movie theatre. 
It was a silent movie theatre owned by the Krampitz family and was located on Fowlkes Street immediately east of Main Street.

Come see many other various arifacts of great interest.


Hackbarth House exterior

Sante Fe Museum Hackbarth House


The Hackbarth House

John and Louise Hackbarth were two of Sealy's very earliest residents. The Hackbarths were born in Texas in the mid-1800s. Their parents were from Germany. John and Louise built a two-story brick mercantile store on the northwest corner of Main and Front Streets in 1880.

The Hackbarths built the small house that is currently located within the Sealy Historical Park and placed it behind their store. This is where they lived for the first few years they resided in Sealy. In the early 1900s the Hackbarths tore down their two-story brick grocery store and built a new store in the same location. In the 1930s that store was torn down and a new building was constructed to the house the U.S. Post Office. That building still stands.

In the late 1800s the Hackbarths built a Victorian style house at the corner of 5th Street and Eagle Lake Road. They moved their small house and attached it to the rear of their new, much larger house. In 1924, the Hackbarths tore down their Victorian style house to build a new Craftsman style home. Their small house was placed in the back yard behind their new house. The 1924 Craftsman still stands in its original location. In 1989, their daughter, Mrs. Irma Hackbarth Datweiler, donated their small house to the Sealy Area Historical Society.

Arched Stone and Brick Santa Fe Railroad Bridges
Arched railroad bridges made of stone and brick were constructed in the area for the Gulf Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad in 1880.

The railroad reached Sealy by December of 1879 and expanded towards Bellville and Brenham in the early 1880's. Area bridges include a two-arch bridge located at Dead man's Creek in Peters and a three-arch bridge located at Bollinger's Creek just outside Sealy, which was a popular spot for picnics in the early 1900's.

Train Arched Bridge

Train Bridge Brazos River


The Texas Western Railway Company built this steel trestle bridge over the Brazos River into Austin County in 1882, and completed a ten-mile extension to Sealy to make a connection with the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company.

However, due to the difference between their narrow gauge track and the standard gauge used by others, they were unable to interchange their cars with the other lines, so loads had to be transferred from one car to the other.

In 1893 the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway Company of Texas (Katy) built a standard gauge line connecting Sealy to Houston three miles to the south.

The Texas Western Railroad Company ceased operation in 1896 and abandoned in 1899.


Sealy Cemetery
In 1879, the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company agent, George Sealy, purchased 11,635 acres at the location of the current Sealy cemetery from the Township of San Felipe de Austin for the purpose of establishing a railroad depot. The village of Sealy soon developed around the depot and on July 5, 1883, the cemetery recorded its first burial here-that of Annie Fowlkes.

Families that settled in Sealy purchased cemetery plots directly from the railroad until the company donated the land to cemetery trustees, C. H. Ruff, R. P. Josey and John Hackbarth in 1887.

The Sealy cemetery association was founded sometime prior to 1898 and officially chartered in 1924.  The ladies of the cemetery society, organized in 1904, helped the association cultivate community support to upgrade and maintain the cemetery.


Call us at 979-885-3222 for more detailed information about our area history.


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