Decker Park: A Gateway to Preserving the History of Richmond

The Kochan-Reed home with “Gingerbread”
wood trim.


Historical landmarks are a reminder of the layers of imbedded stories of people and events that shaped the future. Triumphs and tragedies, each incident chronicles the steps residents took to thrive and survive in difficult times. The City of Richmond has preserved these valuable memories through the Fort Bend County Museum Association and The George Foundation.

Decker Park, in historical downtown Richmond, is home to several buildings that have survived over 100 years. Located on Preston Street, this section of land was donated to the Museum Association by the George Foundation in June 1977. Named in memory of Stanley Decker, a George Foundation Board Trustee and prominent Richmond business man and civic leader, the park was designated to relocate historical structures to preserve their heritage. This lot is home to the Richmond Railroad Depot, the McNabb House and the Kochan-Reed House, along with a charming gazebo and a carriage house.

The Richmond Railroad Depot, the hub of Richmond commerce.

As a dependable mode of transportation, the railroad enabled people to transport items and to commute to other cities. The 1901 Richmond Railroad Depot, originally located on the southwest corner of 7th and Calhoun, was moved to Decker Park in 1977.  This depot was the center of activity for the early residents of the city and captures the textures and lifestyle of early Fort Bend County. This well-built, red and white building is a tribute to the past and the impact the railroad made to the growth of Richmond.

Originally located at 202 Jackson Street, the McNabb House was built in the 1850’s by Phillip Vogel. A.D. McNabb, a saddlery shop owner married Charlien Gloyd, whose mother, Carrie Nation, operated a boarding house in Richmond in the 1880s. They purchased the simple Greek revival style home in 1887 and it remained in the McNabb family until it was bought and moved to Decker Park in 1977. Popular at the time, this solid wood, modest, pier and beam home is simplistic in design. The house is well-built with white-washed wood siding and an inviting porch designed for maximum air flow during the hot days of the Texas summer.

The McNabb house, a popular, simple and sturdy structure.

The Kochan-Reed home was originally located at the corner of Liberty and Third behind the Travis Courthouse. Minnie Priester married Dick Reading in 1886, but he died in 1891. Her dad, Ed Priester, a grocer and baker, built this home in 1896 for his widowed daughter. She married Albert Kochan in 1897, who owned a blacksmith shop, and Minnie ran an ice cream parlor in Richmond. Jane Rogers and Philip Sanderfur Reed bought the house in 1960, just after Minnie died. After the Reeds passed away in 1997, Fort Bend County donated the house to the George Foundation. The Foundation in turn authorized the Museum Association to move the home to Decker Park in 2003. Built with large windows for ventilation, the two-story house boasts “gingerbread” wood work on the spacious porch. The carriage house was moved to the property with the home. The gazebo in the center of the park was built on the property for use during festivals.

Decker Park is open two to three times per year for city and museum celebrations. The Museum Association is currently working to upgrade the buildings with electricity and plumbing so that the property can be used for rental events. In the coming months, a picket fence will replace the metal one to preserve the authentic character of the park. There is something intriguing and exciting about walking into the past. Decker Park is a tribute to the places that residents lived and to the history of Richmond.