Courtesy of Tommy Tompkins, Route 1, Box 11A, Alamo, Texas 78516. A view of the Museum showing several of the engines on display.
Rt. 1, Box 11A, Alamo, Texas 78516
The Engine Room at Alamo, Texas, is an unusual hobby which has developed into one of the main tourist attraction in the Rio Grande Valley. Tommy Tompkins, who is in the Aerial Application business, is completing a full display of the steam machinery of the late 1800's and early 1900's and is putting them in top condition and running order. This museum is located 1 Mile North Alamo Road (Farm Rd. 907), Alamo, Texas.
Here a visitor can enter a world their grandfather once knew. He can see many stationary type engines on display and in actual operation. The museum contains several different types of stationary engines, steam pumps and a steam tractor such as a 1911 Case.
One of the many engines is a two-cylinder engine which was obtained from the old No. 1 oil rig, which was owned by the Fitzpatrick Drilling Company. Center attraction is a big Corliss type engine with a 9,000 pound flywheel, and standing nearly fifteen feet high, which makes one gasp just to look at it. This Goliath of an engine was contributed by Max & Edwin Smith of San Marcus, Texas. They contributed this beautiful engine to the museum rather than have it go to the junk yard to be cut up for scrap. Other engines range in size from this giant Corliss, 125-horse-power engine, with its 16-inch bore and 36-inch stroke, down to miniature steam engines from Japan one can hold in the palm of their hand. There is a replica of an old telegrapher in his office, with key and sounder by his side.
The museum is open every day from 9 until 5 but Sunday is the best day because that is the day that Tommy 'fires 'em up.' No admission is charged. But Sunday is 'Live Steam Day' at The Engine Room.
Old and young alike will be fascinated by these old fashion steam driven engines, for it is the only museum of its kind in the world, and is listed in the Historical Directory for the State of Texas.
The museum is proving extremely popular to further the education of our young people as schools and colleges make appointments to study and see the process of steam in operation.
Visitors to the Engine Room have the opportunity to treat themselves to orange and grapefruit juice that is freshly squeezed before their very own eyes. Under construction is a semi-tropical garden with a babbling brook and many tropical plants.
Tommy being an old OX-5 pilot, also has a lot of pictures of old airplanes lining the walls.
The museum also has a gift packing department which ships fruit anywhere in the U.S. The Famous Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit that is shipped from the The Engine Room is picked on orders so that one can get freshly picked and tree-ripened fruit. People wanting to pick and pack fruit themselves and send it to their friends are welcomed to do so. There is also a gift bar which contains, among other things, miniature Case steam tractors with water wagons and thrashers. There are beautiful articles that are imported from the interior of Mexico.
Financial support of The Engine Room comes from the sale of their Famous Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit from appreciative people, and also the sale of their delicious orange and grapefruit juice.
Collecting parts and entire steam engines from junk yards and companies no longer using them, Tommy has built, in six years, a truly 'LIVE, STEAM MUSEUM.'