Llano River Railroad group members Chris Slade (left), Steve Roberts, and Frank Rowell broke ground May 4 on a mining exhibit planned at Llano’s historic train depot. Courtesy photo
Groundbreaking ceremonies were May 4 for a new mining exhibit at the historic train depot in downtown Llano. The project is expected to be finished by September 2022 and will highlight the history of mining in Llano County and its significance to the city of Llano’s development.
“Without the mining, there probably would not have been a railroad and development wouldn’t have happened here,” said Frank Rowell, a director for Llano River Railroad, the group spearheading the project. The nonprofit is dedicated to the restoration and preservation of Llano’s railroad heritage.
The mining of gold, silver and iron and the quarrying of granite created an economic boom in the area in the late 1800s. According to the Texas State Historical Association, the population of Llano was 7,301 in 1892, more than double its current population of 3,490.
Visitors to the future exhibit will be able to interact with authentic mining equipment from the 19th and 20th centuries, learn about techniques used in mining during Llano’s boom years, and view artifacts from that era.
The mining exhibit is one part of a larger mission to highlight Llano’s history for visitors and residents.
“We want to keep people’s attention and bring more tourism to Llano,” Rowell said.
Llano River Railroad hopes to ultimately restore the railway and bring in a passenger train such as the Hill Country Flyer, which runs from Cedar Park through Bertram to Burnet, so tourists can have an authentic Llano railroad experience.