Southern Pacific Railroad Depot - Monroe, Oregon
N 44° 19.175 W 123° 17.910
10T E 476196 N 4907412
Quick Description: According to a Benton County Context statement written in 1985, the Monroe Station may be significant as the only remaining example of a railroad station in Benton County outside of Corvallis.
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 2/14/2009 8:29:11 PM
Waymark Code: WM5V5Y
Published By: PFF
In about 1963, the passenger section of the building was demolished, leaving the freight section standing. The station was moved on March 11, 2007 from the property of the agricultural chemical company Wilbur-Ellis. The facility was once owned by the Willamette Seed & Grain Company. It is now about ¼ mile north along the same southern Pacific branch line railroad to a position at the intersection of North 5th Street (SR 99W) at Ash Street; see this video clip of the move - (visit link
) From the web site of Historic Preservation Northwest (visit link
) is derived this excerpt from a condition assessment report they prepared in 2006 - (visit link
The history we have comes from three major sources: The Historic Context Statement for Benton County written in 1985 by Mary Weber and Kathy Schutt, The Southern Pacific in Oregon written by Ed Austin and Tom Dill in 1987, and Stations West, The Story of Oregon Railways, by Edwin Culp in 1982. In 1908, Stephen Carver’s Corvallis & Alsea River Railroad Company extended railroad tracks thirty miles south from Corvallis to Monroe, Alpine and Glenbrook. Originally he intended the railroad to continue to Alsea and on to the Pacific Coast; however, the Panic of 1909 prevented Carver from securing adequate credit to complete the railroad in this way. In 1911, Alvadore Welch purchased the line from Carver and renamed it the Portland, Eugene & Eastern Railroad Company. Welch also procured the streetcar systems of Salem, Albany, West Linn and Eugene with the bold idea of using these lines as the nucleus for an electric railroad between Portland and San Francisco. This plan, however, never came to fruition, and in 1912, Welch sold the line to the Southern Pacific.
Southern Pacific’s acquisition likely led to the construction of the current station around 1912, though Stations West notes that the station was used as a “train order station” from 1915 to 1960. The station is a standard Southern Pacific general issue design. Identical stations were constructed along the route. The station originally consisted of a passenger station, restrooms, and a ticket agent’s counter in the southern third of the building and a baggage room in the northern two-thirds of the building. According to The Southern Pacific in Oregon, with the absence of the expected Red Electric traffic, on the route from Corvallis to Transfer (near Eugene), the Monroe Station “was never particularly busy.” Initially passenger service was offered daily between Corvallis and Eugene (via Transfer and Blair). Furthermore, a “way-freight” took three trips weekly over the line. By 1924, service on the line from Corvallis to Transfer had been reduced to one tri-weekly mixed (passenger and freight) train.
In 1932, following the demise of the Red Electric service to Corvallis, the SP abandoned all service between Cheshire and Transfer (both south of Monroe) and the rails were removed in 1936. Traffic continued to decline, and in 1958, the SP abandoned the track south from Monroe to Cheshire, leaving only the line from Corvallis to Monroe and Alpine Junction to Dawson in service. Shortly after 1963, Southern Pacific tore down the dilapidated passenger third of the station leaving the baggage portion of the building intact. By 1980, the Monroe-Dawson local, running out of Corvallis, made three trips per week to the mill in Dawson, while Monroe had seen the last of its regular shippers. Today, the remaining portion of the Monroe Station is used as a warehouse for fertilizer by Wilbur-Ellis, an international marketer and distributor of agricultural and industrial products. According to a Benton County Context statement written in 1985, the Monroe Station may be significant as the only remaining example of a railroad station in Benton County outside of Corvallis.