The Railway Museum of San Angelo is celebrating the rich colorful heritage and traditions of the Hobo culture and its relationship to the rail history with the 4th Annual Hobo Day this Saturday, August 8th, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Saturday Event Schedule: 

  • 10:00AM - Festival and the Railway Museum of San Angelo opens
  • 10AM: live saxophonist Kevin Brown
  • 10:30AM - the adult and youth division of the International Hobo Washer Pitching Competition will be held.
  • 11:30AM: Hobo Stew Sampling
  • 1:30PM - Hobo Costume Contest will be judged by a panel of secret Judges as people dressed as hobos mix with the crowd
  • 2:30PM - Frying an egg on the try tracks

Vendors will be offering a variety of crafts on the East side of the depot. All events outdoors are free to the public. The air conditioned Railway Museum will be open during the event with regular admission and a special exhibit about Hobos.

Hobos were considered the top class of the unemployed as they would travel from town to town by freight train looking for work. Many would settle down when they found a town and job they liked. But for most it was the adventure of traveling the rails that kept drawing them back into the hobo life.

After the Civil War, many men headed west in search of work. Many carried a hoe with them. These “hoe boys” eventually became known as “hobos.” Hobos were not “bums” or “tramps”; they were men seeking work wherever they could find it. They lived out of doors in camps known as “jungles.” The dangers of travel by hopping trains crippled many.

During the period of the Great Depression between 1930 and 1942 the American hobo ranks swelled. Estimated of more than one million men, women and children were riding the rails on any given day in search of work. Given the broad spectrum of people in the mass migration of skilled and unskilled workers- the hobo culture reached unprecedented levels of sophistication. Contact with wandering hobos was a common experience and they infused the American language with a wealth of popular lingo that is still in use today.

Modern day hobos are an eclectic mix of subcultures seeking adventure. Freight hopping remains one of the last true red blooded adventures in a post frontier America.