Historic Railroad Depot Moves to Willow Springs Park

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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 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

*** Updated on Jan. 29 – The planned move has been postponed, and is tentatively scheduled for overnight on Wednesday, February 4.  Additional information will be provided shortly. ***

Overnight, January 28, 2015, the City of Long Beach moved the historic 107-year-old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot from the Public Service Yard on San Francisco Avenue to a new site at Willow Springs Park, where it is expected to serve as an interpretive center after being renovated.

“We’re all very excited to see this nearly forgotten Long Beach landmark get a new life at Willow Springs Park,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This project is a great example of the historic preservation and adaptive reuse that is happening all over Long Beach.” 

At approximately 10:00 pm, the Depot began moving along a designated oversize vehicle route south on Magnolia Avenue, east on Ocean Boulevard, north on Atlantic Avenue, east on Willow Street and north on California Avenue to 27th Street. The move was escorted by the California Highway Patrol which controlled traffic at intersections as the Depot moved through them. The 5.5 mile move was expected to take approximately five hours to complete.

“The Depot will bring an added element of excitement and history to Willow Springs Park,” said Councilmember Roberto Uranga. “From its careful breakdown to tonight’s relocation, much buzz has been created amongst the Long Beach community and the Seventh District welcomes what will surely be another great Long Beach landmark!”

The Depot, originally built in 1907 near Broadway and Pacific Avenue, is 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 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 is 66 feet long and 30 feet, and was built in the Mission Revival style. Partial deconstruction of the Depot is necessary to reduce its overall height in order to fit under overhead wires and traffic signals. Once at Willow Springs Park, the Depot will be reassembled and then begin a multi-year restoration process prior to being re-opened to the public.

The first phase of Willow Springs Park, bordered by Orange and California Avenues and Willow and Spring Streets, opened in November 2012. The park features an ADA accessible path and parking stalls, fencing, native shrubs and trees, seating, and a plaza with an integrated map depicting the Los Angeles basin watershed. The park will ultimately consist of 47 acres of developed parkland.

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One Response to “Historic Railroad Depot Moves to Willow Springs Park”
  1. Because of CHP and County concerns about the building’s height, those agencies, our construction management team, and the City of Long Beach made the hard decision not to take off last night and to adjust some things this morning. The building did not move, and is currently located in front of its former address on San Francisco Avenue. The move will repeat tonight at 10:00pm. I will be posting live updates confirming the schedule on our Facebook page at Facebook.com/wearethenext . Please feel free to follow along for real time updates or to call us and confirm at (562) 546-3784.

    Katie Rispoli
    Executive Director
    We Are the Next