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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Southern Pacific Water Tower

Historic Restoration Project

 
 
Southern Pacific Water Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
1. Southern Pacific Water Tower Marker
Inscription. The historic Southern Pacific Water Tower is located directly across the tracks from where you are standing. It looks much as it did when built in 1940 at a cost of $2,130. The Water Tower is located in it original position, across from the City’s “new” Mission-style railroad depot built during World War II. The Water Tower was built to save time during train stops in San Luis Obispo. At that time, up to 10 passenger trains per day stopped in San Luis Obispo, and steam locomotives has to stop twice: once at the roundhouse to take on water and again at the depot to load and unload passengers. The 65,000 gallon steel tank allowed locomotives to take on water while stopped at the depot. The Water Tower was in service until 1956 when Southern Pacific retired the last of the steal locomotive on the coast line.

Over the years, weathering and lack of maintenance had taken a toll on the tank, and support structure. In the 1980’s, Southern Pacific Railroad planned to demolish the old structure. The City purchased the Water Tower from the Railroad to ensure its long term preservation. In 1989, the City began a phased restoration to return the historic structure to its original appearance. Restoration work included concrete foundation repairs, asbestos removal, strengthening of the timber tower supports, architectural restoration
Southern Pacific Water Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
2. Southern Pacific Water Tower Marker
of the water tank, replacement of the roof, and repair of the “indicator panel” which once showed the water level inside the tank. Restoration was completed in 1998, preserving the water tower for future generations as an historic landmark and tribute to the Age of Steam.
 
Erected by City of San Luis Obispo.
 
Location. 35° 16.571′ N, 120° 39.29′ W. Marker is in San Luis Obispo, California, in San Luis Obispo County. Marker can be reached from Railroad Avenue south of Santa Rosa Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1001 Railroad Avenue, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dallidet Adobe (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Ramona Hotel Depot (approx. 0.3 miles away); San Luis Obispo Creek (approx. 0.4 miles away); Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pacific Coast Railway (approx. half a mile away); J. P. Andrews Building (approx. half a mile away); Site of First County Court House (approx. 0.6 miles away); Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in San Luis Obispo.
 
More about this marker. This marker is located in the
Southern Pacific Water Tower image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
3. Southern Pacific Water Tower
Historic Railroad District, near to and south of the San Luis Obispo Depot.
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
San Luis Obispo Depot image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
4. San Luis Obispo Depot
San Luis Obispo Depot image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
5. San Luis Obispo Depot
The Iron Pioneers Monument image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
6. The Iron Pioneers Monument
Located in the Historic Railroad District.
The Iron Pioneers Monument image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
7. The Iron Pioneers Monument
The Iron Road Pioneers Monument image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, October 5, 2013
8. The Iron Road Pioneers Monument
By
Artist Elizabeth MacQueen

This Sculpture commemorates and honors the enormous contribution of the Chinese Immigrants who helped build the early railroads of the Central Coast and across our nation. Their laborious efforts helped to lay the early foundation for San Luis Obispo to become the premier model urban community that we enjoy today. The first narrow gauge rail line in the region was completed in 1876. It enabled San Luis Obispo’s agricultural areas to send their products worldwide via Port Harford (now Port San Luis). Thousand of Chinese laborers graded the roadbeds, built trestles, cut major access roads, and risked their lives in the process. Many died and were laid to rest in unmarked graves. This sculpture is an everlasting monument in recognition of the Iron Road Pioneers.

Bronze – Silver – Gold Spike Donor
In Recognition
Click on image to enlarge it and read the list of donors
We wish to acknowledge the hundreds of individual contributions from near and far, that made the Iron Road Pioneers Project a reality.
Additionally, we wish to thank the Citizens Committee, the Chinese Professional Association, the City of San Luis Obispo, and the San Luis Obispo Historical Society for their fund-raising support.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 331 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. • Al Wolf was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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