Friday, August 22, 2008

Common standards for SP Depots

From: "Barbara Toppings"

Where can I find information about the "common standards" for SP Depots? I've roamed through the entire Q & A section without seeing a single word on this. I'm looking for who designed the plans, and which plans were used for each station, and how they were assembled on site. A local newspaper (Ventura, CA) in 1887 when the train tracks arrived in town says they were prefabricated in the Sacramento shops, but there isn't a hint in the CPRR page on that topic.


Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


Bruce Petty, Southern Pacific Lines, Common Standard Plans

Centerville Depot - Nearby Southern Pacific Depots

Southern Pacific Railroad depots and freight-houses

SP Depot, Structure and Lineside Equipment

8/22/2008 12:35 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

Index of Published Southern Pacific Structure Plans

8/22/2008 6:22 AM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Randy Hees"

The best thing I have found on the Standard depots and sheds was a series of articles by Henry Bender in the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society's magazine, Trainline. The articles are more a description of the various styles and where they were found rather than a description of the process of construction.

The specific articles are:

Southern Pacific Lines Standard Design Depots Part 1, issue no. 57 Fall 1998

Southern Pacific Lines Standard Design Depots Part 2, issue no. 57, Winter 1998

Southern Pacific Lines Telegraph Offices, issue no 65, Fall 2000

Southern Pacific Lines Passenger Shelter Sheds, issue no. 70, Winter 2002

Southern Pacific Lines Passenger Shelter Shed-Storerooms, issue no. Winter 2004

Also possibly of interest would be issue 53, Fall 1997 which includes articles on; Operations out of Santa Barbara in the 1940's, Ventura Subdivision Stations (mostly photos), and Eucalyptus.

Back issues are available from the Society's web page ...

—Randy Hees

8/22/2008 1:45 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Larry Mullaly"

The references provided by Randy Hees pretty much sum up the topic. I might add that the depots were designed "under" Arthur Brown, but most likely by architects on his staff. I have copies of the floor plans for the common standard depots and could provide you with one for a specific depot.

Much of the depots were prefabricated at the company's mill in Oakland. This is frequently mentioned in the 1870s literature.

Below is additional information on Arthur Brown (his son designed the Market Street Ferry Building in San Francisco].

—Larry Mullaly

Arthur Brown

From a biography found in MS 486 Box 1 of 2 Folder 1 [California State Railroad Museum Library].

Arthur Brown was born near Aberdeen Scotland and raised by a widowed mother in Ottawa Canada. He went to work with an uncle, Alexander Christie, in constructing railroad bridges and culverts. They went to the Fraser River country in British Columbia and in 1864 Brown went to California and got a job with the CPRR under Stowbridge. In one month he had been put in charge of bridges and buildings.

Accomplishments: Rebuilding the American River Bridge 40 hours after it burned; designing and building the snowsheds over the Sierra, building mansions for Stanford and Crocker and the Del Monte Hotel; designing the "Solano"; supervising the building of the bridges and buildings for the entire Southern Pacific, through San Joaquin Valley and north of Redding into Calif.

Known for having bridges built in such a timely fashion as to never delay the grading and track laying work of the road. Pp. 86, 90-91 of John D. Galloway’s The First Transcontinental Railroad
Found Hopkins body on company train in Yuma early in March, 1878

8/22/2008 1:51 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...

From: "Don Snoddy"

From the UP side plans for CS depots contained a bill of materials, which I'm sure were shipped from central stores though not likely listed as CS depot 1 each. I'm sure B&B guys were sent out to do the construction. I'd be curious to know just how quickly B&B could put up a depot, which I know would depend on the size of the structure.

There are common standard depots plans going back to the construction era, they just weren't called "common standard."

Don Snoddy

8/22/2008 1:56 PM  
Blogger CPRR Discussion Group said...


I suspect that The Daily Free Press (Ventura) of February 26, 1887 was in error in stating that the Ventura depot was "framed at Sacramento." Most likely, this work was done in Oakland, as Larry Mullaly has indicated.

—John Sweetser

8/22/2008 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SP Depot in question is Ventura, California. Assembled in 1887, Demolished in May 1973. I think it was a #13 or #19 standard plan. Almost Identical to Hayward's in the 1912 photo on the Centerville Depot site. I have found listings for Sanger, CA and Montague, CA. But no photos that would allow me to confirm these are identical depots. The basic information we are looking for revolves around: when was this depot style being built? 1877 through 18?? How many of these identical plans were built and how many remain in 2008. The Oakland info is exactly the information that I'm looking for, because I know railroad experts will not accept that these buildings were pre-fabricated in Sacramento when that didn't happen. What was the facility in Oakland officially called? Did these buildings generally arrive on the first train to be assembled? Or were they shipped in and assembled before the tracks so they would be ready? Any help and information is greatly appreciated in the name of accuracy.
-Stephen schafer
Publisher Ventura Then & Now calendar

8/28/2008 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've answered my own question with a look at the Free Press newspapers from 1887. April 28 "The railroad is through town now" - April 29 " First train of cars" - May 9 "(Ventura) Depot to be erected as soon as Saticoy Depot finished" - May 27 "S.P. orders work stopped on Ventura Depot..."

So I guess the pre-fab parts came in on one of the first trains and was assembled within several weeks.


8/28/2008 4:11 PM  
Blogger 'Round the Chuckbox said...

I'm looking for any info about the SP depot at El Dorado on the Placerville Branch. Can anyone help?

11/28/2008 9:08 PM  

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