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
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
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
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.’