The Depot remained shuttered for nearly 40 years, being used as feed storage and even surviving a fire, until the Rockdale Historical Society purchased the Depot on Dec. 1, 1999, from Adolf McVoy Jr, and began a decade-long project which restored the building to its Victorian Era glory, including restoration of the cupola.
The Rockdale I&GN Depot reopened June 7, 2008, and beat out two other finalists for the Texas Downtown Association’s cherished award of "Best Restored Building in Texas" in 2009. Competition was intense. The other projects were the Whitmire & Whitmire Insurance Building in Wichita Falls and the Hepker Building in Bastrop. "When we got to the gathering and saw photos of that insurance building we were just blown away," Rockdale Historical Society member Joy Graham said. But a blue-ribbon jury panel composed of architects, historians and writers selected Rockdale’s I&GN Depot as the overall winner. Judges termed the Depot project "a great anchor recaptured for the community" and praised "attention to architectural details and lighting".