The Depot: White Elephant Bazaar
In mid January, 1977, the Texas Railroad Commission granted the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company’s request to close the Kilgore Station. In the Spring of 1979, a committee from KIBA , Mayor Foster Bean, Mrs. C. B. Perkins, Charles Devall and Tom Dunwoody met with the railroad representatives in Houston and requested to buy the Depot.
On August 14, 1980, KIBA got the deed for the Depot Station and work began to restore and use the beautiful old depot for the White Elephant Bazaar. Wanda Bittick was president of KIBA at that time.
It is a wonderful fund raiser for the organization. Many hours of volunteer work by Pudge Griffin and her committee and the leadership of contractor Bill Bass, had the Depot looking great in a few months. The back of the building had to be secured and a fence installed to protect people from getting onto the railroad tracks. The interior was air conditioned and heated, shelves, clothes racks and fixtures were installed.
The North section, used formerly by the Railway Express Agency remained in its original state, with narrow beaded wall paneling, lattice partitions and wood flooring.
The Depot was awarded a site Historical Marker which was dedicated in February 1982.
The Depot was an important part of Kilgore’s history and now continues to be a vital part of the World’s Richest Acre Park and the downtown area. A part of history restored, used and making money for KIBA’s many projects.
The White Elephant Bazaar (Store) is open every Tuesday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is always busy. Many volunteers spent many hours to cleaning, stocking supplies and clothes, selling and having a great time together. Chris Barr is now the manager with, Lavada Thomas, Dorothy Mitchell, Genelle Olson and Patsy Field volunteering at this time. Sometimes ex manager, Betty Renshaw will show up from out of town just to be a part of the team again. The Depot and the White Elephant Store is a valuable part of Kilgore Improvement and Beautification Association and their many projects.
Those wishing to donation items can contact the ladies at the store every Tuesday.
July 2000, Betty Renshaw, accepted the Keep Texas Beautiful O. P. Schnabel Senior Citizens award for the White Elephant Volunteer Ladies. Great job.