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From Kansas to Mexico: The story of Arthur Stilwell comes to life in San Angelo

“Arthur Stilwell’s Dream of Steam” returns this spring to the San Angelo Railroad Museum.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Arthur Stilwell is best known for building railroads in the western United States during his adult life in the early 1900s.

His influence can also be seen in San Angelo, where he was determined to create a railroad that would travel from Kansas through Texas and into Mexico.

From 23 to 25 March, a show entitled “Arthur Stilwell’s dream of steam” returns to the San Angelo Railway Museum, 703 S. Chadbourne Street, to tell the story of the historic figure for the second consecutive year.

Playwright and Railway Museum Board Volunteer Linda Bond explains Stilwell’s impact on the Concho Valley and how his legacy lives on today.

“He was a big railroader and felt he could help farmers by getting a long, inexpensive route across America,” he said.

The show itself focuses on the opening of the railway center as narrated by the mayor, Stilwell and his wife, and Chihuahua governor Pancho Villa.

“Once we start this kind of game, they will [attendees] go from room to room with the different guides,” said Bond.

“And the guides are also people who lived in 1910 San Angelo,” he added.

The show starts at 7pm March 23-25 ​​and there is an afternoon show at 2.30pm March 26.

To write the play, Bond spent a lot of time researching the books available in the museum.

She was inspired by Stilwell’s ambition and his persistence in following through on his goals, saying, “He was a man with a huge dream … and he didn’t just dream dreams, he heard voices.”

According to Bonds’ research, Stilwell often listened to voices telling him where to go, which influenced his decision to build in San Angelo.

Bond also recently wrote a book called San Angelo and Arthur Stilwell’s Dream of Steam, which is available in local bookstores and can also be found online.

What was once a functioning railway station now comes to life through Stilwell’s story and his ability to dream.

“Part of what I think is important is acknowledging the dream that people have,” said Bond. “…This is a man who said, ‘I will,’ and I admire that.”

Tickets are $25 each or $20 for groups of eight or more and can be found online at sanangelorailway.

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