Grand Stations

Historic depots of the West.
Historic depots of the West.

Railroad depots need their own Ada Louise Huxtable, even though the woman at the forefront of the historic preservation movement, and a Pulitzer-prize winning architecture critic, said in 1972, “Nothing was more up-to-date when it was built, or is more obsolete today, than the railroad station.”

We’re not so sure the “age of jetliners” that Huxtable said made depots so passé should have produced such an effect; for too many grand stations, the popularity of air travel made them worse than obsolete-demolished.

With the vision that railroads, and thus their depots, have an untapped social function left to serve the public, we pay tribute to some of the West’s historic depots that have conquered the ravages of time and modern impulses. For perspective, we also feature a few stations that are, unfortunately, lost to us forever.

Legislators and city planners and transportation engineers seem to be slowly realizing that the railroad that provided such a vital connection for the East and West Coasts from the 1800s into the early 1950s is a network that needs to be revived.

Perhaps these depots will once again see a nation crowding its pews and benches, awaiting the chug chug approach of their trains.

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