By October 30, 2019 0 Comments Read More →

Save The Depot

Save the Depot!
By Bob Barzan

If the current plan is accepted by the city council, our 114-year-old depot will lose much of its historic and architectural integrity. The plan is to remove most of the interior waiting room walls including the historic women’s waiting room, creating one large open space. The exterior wall on the track side, considered the front of the depot, would also be removed extending the waiting room to the arches that would be filled in with store front windows and doors.

Though done in the name of safety, security, and to meet the needs of ACE Train passengers, these goals can be met, and the building’s historic integrity preserved and restored. Over the decades our depot has been altered to fit the needs of the times but overall the building has maintained its character defining Mission Revival features inside and out. With this major alteration, the historic feel of the building and its value as an economic and tourist asset for the city will be lost forever.

This should be a prime opportunity to adapt the depot to a new life, to preserve as much as possible of the historic building, to restore many original details lost over the years, and to provide the security we all desire. If this is done right, we will have a safe, comfortable, beautiful depot that is an icon for the city; a tourist attraction especially for architecture, history, and railroad enthusiasts; a beautiful building that will be a gateway to our city; and a building we will be proud of as we celebrate in 2020 the 150th anniversary of the founding of our city by the railroad.

I think we deserve better. If you think the same, I encourage you to write to your city council member, the mayor, and the city manager expressing your desire that they provide a transparent review process with public input, and ask them to come up with a new plan that provides security, safety, efficiency, and preserves and restores the historic interior and exterior of the depot.

Email addresses for the mayor and city council are found here:

The address for Joe Lopez is<>.

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Email Addresses

Mayor Ted Brandvold,<>
City Council:
Mani Grewal,<>
Tony Madrigal,<>
Kristi Ah You,<>
Bill Zoslocki,<>
Jenny Kenoyer,<>
Doug Ridenour,<>
City Manager, Joe Lopez,<>

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Modesto’s 1915 Southern Pacific Depot

After a many year struggle with the Southern Pacific Railroad, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce successfully sued the railroad in 1914 winning a new depot for the city.

The railroad relied on its own architect and assistant chief engineer John Quincy Barlow and his team to design the Mission Revival style depot. The contract price was $9,720. Construction began Monday, July 12, 1915, and the depot opened at 4 pm, December 11, 1915.

The depot was used by the railroad until 1971. It was Modesto’s third depot. The first depot, built in 1870, burned in a spectacular fire on August 23, 1884. The second depot opened in November 1884 and was used until December 1915. It burned in 1982. The first two depots were at 9th and I Street.



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