Santa Fe Railroad Depot (1899)
2650 Tulare Street
W. B. Story, Builder
The Santa Fe Railroad Depot, located at Tulare and Santa Fe Streets in downtown Fresno, is constructed in a simple Mission Revival style. Arches and tile roofs comprise the general architectural features. Many of the windows are framed with segmental arched openings. The roofs are of medium pitch and nearly all are hipped. There is a single tower and several turrets, all capped with pyramidal tiled roofs. There are a few shaped gable ends of curvilinear outline. Only a few sculptural ornaments appear, with the most prominent one located at the tower on the west elevation. Otherwise, the building is almost completely free of any sculptural ornamentaation.
The Santa Fe Railroad Depot was completed in 1899 as a station for the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad (later the Santa Fe Raiload). The San Francisco and San Joaquin reached Fresno in 1896, breaking the monopoly of the Southern Pacific on Fresno's railroad traffic. Enthusiasm for the new railroad in Fresno was high. The Fresno Morning Republican of October 6, 1896, stated, "the celebration yesterday of the arrival of the first passenger train over the San Francisco and San Joaquin Valley Railroad marked the beginning of an era of development and prosperity for the San Joaquin Valley in general and Fresno County in particular. The 'octopus' [as the Southern Pacific Railroad was known], whose tentacles have strangled commerce, industry and agriculture in this great basin, has been deprived of its power to do any further harm to these great interests."
Alterations and additions were made to the south end of the building in 1909, and an office unit was added in 1912. Additional alterations and additions were made in 1917. The waiting room, ticket office and baggage room were completely remodeled in 1940. In 1966 the station was abandoned for passenger use and the waiting room was converted into a communications center for the railroad. The entire second floor was converted into electronic and computer control areas along with related offices. The railroad later completely abandoned the building and it stood vacant for many years. In 2005 the building was renovated for use as the Fresno Amtrak Station.
Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places nomination, originally prepared by Dianne E. Seeger.