Saturday, March 22, 2014

Freight Depot in Pleasanton California

From: "Pamela A Mays",

We are looking for early photos or drawings of Central Pacific Railroad Passenger and Freight Depot in Pleasanton California before 1894. The ... Museum in Sacramento has photos of SPRR depot not CPRR. ...

—Tom Mays

Spooner CPRR stockton depot
Spooner CPRR stockton depot.

Spooner Train at Stockton Depot
Spooner Train at Stockton Depot.

Spooner CPRR Stockton depot and area
Spooner CPRR Stockton depot and area.
Images courtesy of the Kyle Wyatt collection.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Kyle Wyatt"
Subject: RE: Freight Depot in Pleasanton California

[Above] are photos from my collection of the Stockton depot area, showing both the passenger and the freight stations, taken on wet plate negatives in the 1870s by Stockton photographer John Pitcher Spooner. I suspect these are typical of the structures constructed by/for Central Pacific in the early years.

—Kyle Wyatt

3/23/2014 12:02 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

I do not know the history of the Pleasanton structure. But the development of Central and Southern Pacific depot and freight facilities is one and the same. By the early 1870's structures were centrally designed under the Central Pacific and the Contract & Finance Company's Buildings and Bridges Superintendent Arthur Brown. The materials for these structures was milled in Oakland, and the carpenter force seems to have been Oakland-based. Virtually all the structures were build under Contract during the 1870's and 1880's with the Stanford and associates construction arm – an entity legally distinct from the railroad.

In short, CPRR photos and diagrams such as they are, should be equally valid for SP facilities.

—Larry Mullaly

3/23/2014 12:19 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


There have been three depots in Pleasanton on what is commonly known as the Southern Pacific line, but originally built by the Western Pacific (of 1869), to Central Pacific, to Southern Pacific.

The original Pleasanton depot(s) built by the Western Pacific (of 1862) were described as:

"A Passenger house at Pleasanton, 20 x 32 feet, built of wood, covered with shingle and sided and lined with dressed lumber; also a fright house at Pleasanton, 32 x 100 feet, built with undressed pine lumber and covered with shingles"

(From the Western Pacific R. R., Report of the Commissioners. "On 4th Section 20 16/100 miles. 83rd mile to 103 16/100 mile." Report dated Jan. 6, 1870, President's (of US) acceptance dated Jan. 21, 1870.)

To my knowledge there are no photos known of this depot. It was likely built in Sept. or Oct., 1869, as the railroad was being opened. The use of shingles is interesting. By early 1870 the depot built at Niles has board & batten siding as expected. Based on photos of Stockton and paint work done on the 1870 Niles depot I would expect a building painted a mineral red, likely with white (or cream) sash and possibly with white trim.

Henry Bender (Southern Pacific Lines Standard Depots, Signature Press, Wilton CA, 2013) reports that these buildings were destroyed by fire July 26, 1873. They were replaced by a one story building, (Apparently there is a Sanborn Fire map showing the 2nd building) which in turn was replaced by the current surviving building, a Standard No 22 depot built in November, 1894.

—Randy Hees

3/23/2014 1:40 PM  
Blogger Randolph Ruiz said...

I feel Randy is a greater authority on this than myself, but I feel it is worth noting that the handful of depot buildings constructed when the Western Pacific was built appear to be somewhat unique. CPRR and SPRR structures had not yet been standardized, but shared the common details of other contemporary wood frame structures.

The WPRR depot buildings as illustrated in Kyle's photos are Carpenter Gothic, and featured Label molding over the doors and windows along with curved eave brakets. The Niles depot was built just months later, but was not part of the original construction project. It sports a more stripped-down version of Carpenter Gothic, with no label molding, and straight, crossed eave brackets.

If the original Pleasanton depot was built at the same time as Stockton, Lathrop, and other WPRR structures, then I'd expect it would look just like them. I'd point out that "covered" in the commission report could very easily refer to the roof, and that shingle siding was not common until later in the 19thC.

I'd expect the 2nd depot would have been more like the first Niles depot, with its simpler expression of the Carpenter Gothic.

Just my educated suppositions. I'd love to see some actual evidence.

Randy Ruiz

7/17/2014 1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After much research, we have acquired newspaper articles indicating the 1st WPRR depot in Pleasanton was destroyed by fire in 1873. The 2nd depot was built the same year & remodeled and expanded in 1881. This depot was moved to Second Street and is currently our home. We have contacted Henry Bender and many other...libraries, museums, etc. trying to obtain a photo of the 2nd depot in 1873 and or the 1881 version with no luck.
Thank you for your comments.
-Tom Mays

7/17/2014 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

A follow-up on the original Pleasanton Depot –

One peculiar feature of the original Western Pacific depots is that several of them have the passenger depot and freight depot opposite one another on either side of the tracks, each with its own platform. This arrangement can be seen in the early 1880 Southern Pacific Station Plat books at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

While the original Pleasanton Depot structures had been replaced by this time, similar facilties appear elsewhere on the line, all – if I remember correctly – standardized in size and configuration. Stockton is an example of this.

It is also interesting that there are stylistic similarities in the window moldings between the WP depots and earlier structures on the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad. Such moldings are not common on SP structures [Goshen south] of the 1870s.

—Larry Mullaly

7/21/2014 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Tom Mays said...

Can anyone help...trying to obtain copy of SPRR Annual Report for year ending 12/31/1894.

Tom Mays

11/12/2014 1:10 PM  
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