Some Recent Losses: Depots

Last revised: August 21, 2004
Maintained by Evan Werkema.

A list of all the Santa Fe depots that have been torn down, burned, blown away by tornados, washed away by floods, or otherwise destroyed would be a truly gargantuan document. The intention of this page isn't to document all the Santa Fe depots that have vanished, but rather to offer a brief glimpse of some of the more recent losses.

Albuquerque, NM

The Albuquerque depot was built in 1902, as part of a large complex that also included the Alvarado Harvey Hotel. Stucco-on-frame construction gave the buildings a deceptively solid-looking appearance. The depot was destroyed by fire in January of 1993. This view shows the station area as it appeared in 1991. The depot is the building with the red tile roof, tower, and arched breezeway. The unused Western Union Telegraph office is in the foreground on the left, and the gray building with blue trim in the background is a remnant of the Alvarado hotel, which once occupied the parking lot to the right of the depot. The gray building was originally a warehouse, but by the 1970's it had been converted into offices. Santa Fe vacated the structure when a new general office building opened in Albuquerque in 1989. When the passenger depot burned, the vacant offices were quickly converted into a "temporary" station.

Alva, OK

The Santa Fe main line at Alva, OK was located on a high fill around the northern part of town. This brick depot was built on the fill north of the tracks in 1909. It originally had a decorative tower over the bay window, and was similar in style to the depots at Ft. Madison, IA and Bartlesville, OK. Santa Fe vacated the Alva depot in the 1980's and offered it to the city, with the stipulation that the structure be moved. Moving a brick depot across two sets of tracks and down a fill would have been a tricky maneuver at best, and the railroad ended up razing the structure around 1993.

Cimarron, KS

Cimarron was one of a handful of depots built to this plan in the 1930's. Other examples were at Clayton, NM, Spearville and Reading, KS. Cimarron had been closed for years by the time this picture was taken in 1990, but somehow it had managed to escape the wrecking ball. The depot's luck finally ran out a decade later, and it was demolished in August 1999.

Cleburne, TX

Site of the famous Santa Fe shops that turned out such controversial creations as the CF7 and the SF30C, Cleburne, TX once sported a large two-story brick depot. The structure was later reduced to this rather modest, unadorned edifice. The depot was still being used by Amtrak's Texas Eagle when the photo at left was taken in 1992, but was torn down a few years later to make way for a road project. R.J. McKay took an earlier view of the depot in 1974. The T&BV depot in the background of McKay's photo is also now gone.

Emporia, KS

Without a doubt, one of the most attractive structures along the Santa Fe right-of-way was the depot and office building at Emporia, KS. Originally built as a stone structure in 1883-84, it was expanded with the brick wings shown in 1925-26. In 1990 Santa Fe eliminated the crew change at Emporia and vacated the depot. Amtrak, whose Southwest Chief called at Emporia in the wee hours of the morning, moved out in favor of the plexiglas "bus stop" shelter visible to the right of the depot. Sadly, the grand old depot was gutted by fire on August 9, 1999, and the remains were demolished soon thereafter. Additional photos by Hume Kading are available.

Galesburg, IL

Galesburg, IL once had two Amtrak stations: one on the Burlington Northern line to serve the California Zephyr, and this structure on the Santa Fe to serve the Southwest Chief. The structure on the Burlington had been built to replace a grand brick edifice, and likewise this utilitarian building was constructed by the Santa Fe in 1964 to replace an earlier, undoubtedly more aesthetically pleasing station. In 1996, the Southwest Chief was rerouted over the Burlington Northern between Chicago and Galesburg, and the train began using the BN station. Santa Fe's Galesburg depot was torn down in July 2004. A "town" side view of the depot by Maurice Wright from June 28, 2003 is also available.

Kinsley, KS

The ornate architecture of the final depot at Kinsley, KS was certainly not typical of most Santa Fe brick depots. It used to be even more austenatious, as a circa 1907 postcard photo furnished by Eric Miller illustrates. The building to the right of the passenger depot (but not attached) in the photo is the freight house. It apparently started life as a typical frame depot and later received the brick veneer exterior shown. Both structures were demolished in April of 1999.

Merced, CA

This structure was the third depot built by the Santa Fe at Merced. The previous two structures were destroyed by fire. The 1918-built depot became a stop on the route of Amtrak's San Joaquins in the 1970's, but by the mid-1990's the building was showing its age. The carrier and the state (which funds the service) determined that the cost of rehabilitating the structure was too high, and laid plans to demolish the depot and build a similar structure in its place. By early 1998, the old depot had been vacated and in favor of a portable "temporary" depot set up in the parking lot. It was nearly two more years before the old depot was finally levelled, on September 13, 1999.

Oceanside, CA

The final Santa Fe depot at Oceanside was built in 1946, replacing a frame structure built in 1886. Though much larger, Oceanside had some stylistic elements in common with the 1945-vintage depot at Pinole, CA (see below). The Oceanside depot continued to serve as a passenger stop into the Amtrak era, until a new transportation center opened in late 1987. The depot was razed in April 1988. Chris Kinoshita photographed the depot shortly before the end in December 1987.

Pinole, CA

The final Pinole depot, built in 1945, was a rare example of an architectural style developed for Santa Fe depots on the Coast Lines during World War II. Depots with similar architecture were built at Grants, NM and Rialto, CA. By the 1990's, Pinole was boarded up but still in use by Maintenance of Way forces. In this June 1998 view, the defaced and tired-looking depot was missing its roof shingles, a frequent prelude to demolition. The depot met its fate during the first week of August, 1998.

Richmond, CA

The depot at Richmond, CA started out as a fairly standard San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley RR style two story depot, built in 1903. Over the years, the building was expanded and modified, ultimately receiving a coat of stucco. By 1992, Santa Fe had vacated the building, and in 1996, demolition work began with the removal of the stucco exterior and the asbestos insulation inside. The depot sat denuded for nearly a year, and a fire consumed part of the freight section in November 1997. The depot was finally demolished on March 3, 1998.

Riverbank, CA

The Riverbank depot was built in 1897 as a typical San Francisco & San Joaquin Valley standard #2, and was located near the junction of the branch to Oakdale. In 1944, the depot was moved about a mile to the south, and a switchman's shanty was grafted onto the passenger end, which was extensively rebuilt. The station became an Amtrak stop in 1974 when the San Joaquin service was inaugurated, but moved out in 1999 when a new facility closer to Modesto was opened. Santa Fe and later BNSF continued to use parts of the building as a yard office. This view from May 2003 shows the station in its final, post-Amtrak, off-white paint scheme. Less than five months later, on October 5, 2003, the depot burned to the ground. An earlier photo by Chuck Clope is available.

Salome, AZ

One of the few masonry depots on the Santa Fe branch lines in southern Arizona, Salome was in poor shape when it was photographed in 1997. By this time, the tracks and depot were owned by the Arizona and California RR. The depot was leveled in early 1998.

San Francisco, CA

Santa Fe built this functional freight station in San Francisco in 1952. The end of the cross-bay freight ferry service from Richmond in 1984 closed the book on Santa Fe's operations in San Francisco and their need for this structure. Various other businesses occupied it into the late 90's. The building was demolished in mid-2001 to make way for new development.

San Jacinto, CA

The rather uninspired San Jacinto depot actually began life in 1888 as a fairly attractive frame structure. In 1947, it joined Glendora, Azusa, and Cucamonga (but not Anaheim) in receiving substantial "modernization." Unfortunately, unlike the other three, no "Streamline Moderne" touches were lavished on San Jacinto, and except for the freight doors, virtually no trace of the original frame depot remained either. The "block of concrete" continued to serve the Santa Fe until 1978. Nearby Agri-Empire subsequently leased the building for storage, but when Paul Krot took these pictures in April 2000, the structure has been abandoned. Additional views are available. The structure was bulldozed on July 30, 2002.

Satanta, KS

Satanta was the only depot remaining along the C.V. Subdivision between Boise City, OK and Dodge City, KS when the photo at left was taken in 1991. The depot was a fairly faithful rendition of the "1910" Standard #4 for branchlines before it was rebuilt with metal siding in the 1980's. The depot passed to the Cimarron Valley RR when Santa Fe sold the line and the Manter Sub (which left the Satanta) in the mid-90's. It was destroyed by fire in October 1997.

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