Southern Pacific Depot

Southern Depot
Southern Pacific Depot

Photograph by Judith Silva, courtesy of the City of Santa Clara

Quick Facts

65 Cahill St

The Southern Pacific Depot on Cahill Street in San Jose is a multilevel combination passenger and freight railroad depot constructed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style. Built in 1935, it consists of a three-story central section flanked by two-story wings. The building, a compilation of rectangular sections, is 390 feet long and varies in width from 40 feet to 78 feet. The central section, which contains the passenger waiting room, measures 40 by 80 feet and is 33 feet in height. The high center pavilion housing the waiting room is constructed of steel columns and trusses. The side wings are framed with wood. The exterior walls are clad with tapestry brick or varied colors and arranged in an English bond pattern. The depot is located in an industrial area dominated by warehouses and related commercial businesses. Several vernacular sheds, a water tower, butterfly passenger sheds and the nearby Alameda underpass are all contributing buildings and structures within the railroad station.

The construction of this Southern Pacific Depot in 1935 was the culmination of a 30-year effort to relocate 4.5 miles of the South Pacific Coast line of the Southern Pacific Railroad away from the heavy traffic of the downtown area around the Market Street Depot to the west side of the city, an industrial neighborhood area in the 19th century and the former location of rail facilities belonging to other railroads. The Southern Pacific depot on Cahill Street was designed by Southern Pacific architect, John H. Christie, who had worked on the Southern Pacific remodeling of the Fresno, California, depot in 1915 and later, in 1939, worked on the Los Angeles Union Passenger Station. This depot is one of only four Italian Renaissance Revival style depots in California, and the largest surviving depot of the San Francisco-San Jose line. The only other large depot built in California during the 1930s was the Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal. The Southern Pacific Depot in San Jose retains a high level of integrity.

Last updated: January 24, 2018