HomeAbout WCHSGet InvolvedSpecial EventsKell House



The destruction of the Union Train Station passenger depot in 1968 marked the final blow in the hearts and minds of a handful of men and women committed to stopping the loss of historical landmarks that uniquely define Wichita Falls and Wichita County.

  • 1974 WCHS was established by William Donnell, Christi Dotter, Nelma Estes, Larry

    Francell, Charles Harper, Kenneth Hendrickson, Lou Kadane, Robin King and Lana McDonald. The first year the Society had 300 members.
  • 1978 Drafted and lobbied for passage of a local Landmark Ordinance (revised in 1981)
    Designation of Depot Square Historic District

  • 1980 Raised funds, purchased and paid in full for Kell House and its furnishings
    Established Annual Preservation Awards

  • 1981 Lobbied and achieved publication of the General Development Plan for the Depot Square Historic District

  • 1982 Instigated the preparation and adoption by the City of Wichita Falls
    of Ellen Beasley's Historic Preservation Survey and Plan
    Restoration of the Kell House Museum
    Moved and restored the Burkburnett MKT depot building and utilized it for a summer lunchroom project. Later returned it to it's original home

  • 1984 Drafted and lobbied for passage of a Tax Incentive Ordinance for local Landmarks
    Created a Kell House Museum Endowment fund (with additional contributions from 2000 drive, fund now exceeds $1 million)

  • 1985 Funding of a Main Street program in joint sponsorship with the City of Wichita Falls and Midtown, Inc. (now North Texas Visions).

  • 1986 Acquired the Littlest Skyscraper complex from the City of Wichita Falls and supervised stabilization

  • 1990 Published first Wichita Heritage Magazine

  • 1991 Restoration of the Kell House Carriage House

  • 1992 Construction of permanent home for the Wichita Falls Railroad Museum Purchase and stabilization of the Kemp-Kell Depot

  • 1996 Addition of Pergola to Kell House Gardens

  • 2000 Restoration of Kemp-Kell Depot, Restoration of Kell House Gardens
    Kemp-Kell Depot parking lot and pocket park built, Opened Depot Square Visitor's Center, Sold Littlest Skyscraper

    complex for renovation, Started Trade Days in the downtown Farmer's Market
  • 2001 Began Provenance Historic Homes Tours, Monthly WCHS column in the Times Record News, Began Historic Building Tour.

  • 2005 The fully renovated Holt hotel opens as a luxury apartment building with 41 units.

  • 2006 WCHS Decides on its Next Major Restoration Project

  • 2007 Sale of the Historic Kemp-Kell Depot Visitors Center. WCHS moves its offices back to the Carriage House at the Kell House Museum. Acquisition of the Peterson Building (Old Post Office)

With over 450 members, the Wichita County Heritage Society is celebrating its 35th year as a non-profit organization serving the residents of Wichita County, the North Texas Region and tourists from across the globe.

Through the Society's influence in our community and county over the last three decades many strides have been made in the name of historic preservation. The Society saved the Burkburnett Depot, the Kemp-Kell Depot and the Littlest Skyscraper.

Members researched, wrote and lobbied for the passage of legislation establishing the Wichita Falls Landmark Commission and the Depot Square Historic District, the only such district in the city. The Society purchased the Frank Kell Home and today operates it as one of the finest historic site museums in the North Texas region. Major renovations to the Kell House Museum have just been completed through proceeds from an endowment started in the 1980s to ensure the Museum stands proud for many decades to come.

The Society led a successful campaign to relocate the Railroad Museum to its current Eighth Street location, and recently completed renovations on the Kemp-Kell Depot. The Depot is now owned by Whitmire & Whitmire Insurance, adding a viable business to The Depot Sqaure Historic District.

The Society hosts annual preservation awards to applaud those in our county who are preserving and restoring historical structures. School tours of the Kell House and Visitor's Center are provided for all Wichita Falls third grade students to increase their appreciation for history and the individuals who have shaped our community. The Society hosts seminars and exhibits that educate, inform and enrich our lives by keeping our history and our landmarks alive.













Home   |    About    |    Get Involved

Events    |    Kell House


Design by C&C Web Designs


 900 Bluff   -  Wichita Falls, Texas  -  76301  -  (940) 723-0623