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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Los Altos in Santa Clara County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Southern Pacific Railroad Station

 
 
Southern Pacific Railroad Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 7, 2016
1. Southern Pacific Railroad Station Marker
Inscription. The town of Los Altos as we know it owes its existence to the Southern Pacific Railroad. Needing a shortcut between Palo Alto and Los Gatos, the Southern Pacific Railroad acquired the downtown "triangle" in 1907 from Sarah Winchester, who refused to sell only the five acres they needed. They laid out the rest of her ranch as Los Altos, with the depot as the gateway to the new town.
The Los Altos depot is highly unusual for a small town on the railroad and trolley lines. It was designed by Southern Pacific architect D.J. Patterson, and not from their standard plan book. Begun in 1912 and estimated at $7,000, the Craftsman-style depot was finished six months late in 1913 and was over budget at $12,000.
After the railroad ceased operating, the building was used as a restaurant, for which the arbors were enclosed. In 1975, it was converted into a bank after substantial changes, including building a new porch, moving the original front door and windows, and building a bay window and a large bracketed gable on the new "front" side of the building on First Street (these changes reflected the fact that town was now accessed by cars, not trains). Much of the original train track-side facade was completely removed, and the brick reused on the new bay window and columns was built to match. The freight door to the left, however, remained
Southern Pacific Railroad Station and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 7, 2016
2. Southern Pacific Railroad Station and Marker
original.
 
Erected by City of Los Altos.
 
Location. 37° 22.634′ N, 122° 7.056′ W. Marker is in Los Altos, California, in Santa Clara County. Marker is on First Street near Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 288 First Street, Los Altos CA 94022, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 395/397 Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); 398 and 388 Main Street (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 316 Main Street (about 400 feet away); 306 Main Street (about 500 feet away); Los Altos Elementary School (about 500 feet away); Site of Juana Briones de Miranda Home on Rancho La Purisima Concepcion (approx. 1.6 miles away); Mayfield Fire Bell (approx. 2.1 miles away); Mariano Castro Adobe (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Altos.
 
Regarding Southern Pacific Railroad Station. This correspondent grew up in Los Altos. As a teen he remembers eating at the Old Station House, as the restaurant was called. Great burgers cooked on a briquet-fired grill.
He also recalls walking along the old railroad grade after the tracks were removed in 1962. The tracks had been laid on a landfill of
Southern Pacific Railroad Station image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 7, 2016
3. Southern Pacific Railroad Station
rubble from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. There was always something interesting to find. Fond memories!
 
Also see . . .  Historic Train Station Continues Its Travels Through Time - Robin Chapman News. Completed in 1913, the Los Altos depot of the Southern Pacific was always a beauty. On its debut, the Palo Alto Times reported that the Craftsman style structure was one of the prettiest on the peninsula and had “... all conveniences, including the latest in drinking fountains.” At the peak of rail service, twelve steam trains a day called at this little stop. (Submitted on December 8, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
Southern Pacific Railroad Station just after the rails were being removed. image. Click for full size.
By Unknown
4. Southern Pacific Railroad Station just after the rails were being removed.
Souvenir from the old railroad grade. image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, December 8, 2016
5. Souvenir from the old railroad grade.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 8, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 152 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 8, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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