Friday-Morning Blaze Destroys Historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

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The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot from the Public Service Yard on San Francisco Avenue to a new site at Willow Springs Park where it will be renovated. Inset: Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, circa 1910, at 225 W. Broadway, just west of Pacific Avenue, in Downtown Long Beach. Photo courtesy of Long Beach Public Library Digital Archive

The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot was moved from the Public Service Yard on San Francisco Avenue to a new site at Willow Springs Park where it was to be renovated. Inset: Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, circa 1910, at 225 W. Broadway, just west of Pacific Avenue, in Downtown Long Beach. Photo courtesy of Long Beach Public Library Digital Archive

On Friday September 16, 2016 at 2:37 AM, the Long Beach Fire Department responded to reports of an unknown fire in the area of 27th Street and Atlantic Avenue. Based on numerous reports received with differing locations, the Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatched Engine 60 which is assigned to the fire station in Signal Hill. As Engine 7 investigated, it was determined that the fire was located at California Avenue and 27th Street in Willow Springs Park. Engine 7 arrived at 2:44 AM and their initial report on conditions indicated a single stand-alone structure fully involved with fire. Based on the size of the fire additional Fire Department resources were requested. Los Angeles County Engine 60 arrived shortly thereafter and provided additional support. Defensive operations were initiated and knockdown of the fire occurred at 3:24 AM. As additional details about the fire became available it was determined that the building destroyed by the blaze was the historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot. There were no injuries associated with the fire, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Depot, originally built in 1907 near Broadway and Pacific Avenue, was the sole survivor of the three railroad stations that once served Downtown Long Beach around the turn of the last century. It was relocated once before, in 1936, to the Public Service Yard on San Francisco Avenue near West Anaheim Street, where it served for many years as the City’s Material and Chemical Testing Laboratory before being used for storage.

The Depot was moved to the southwest corner of Willow Springs Park, near the site of former railroad tracks that had been used by the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad.

The Depot was 66 feet long and 30 feet wide, and was built in the Mission Revival style.

The Depot was undergoing a multi-year restoration process prior to being re-opened to the public where it was intended to serve as a visitor center for Willow Springs Park.

This is a tragic loss for our City.

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One Response to “Friday-Morning Blaze Destroys Historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot”
  1. Onyx says:

    So…they moved it from a place where the general public couldn’t reach it, to a placed where they could. And then didn’t hire adequate security?
    Did they want this building torched for the insurance or something?