Perris Depot - Perris, California
Posted by: brwhiz
N 33° 46.962 W 117° 13.758
11S E 478770 N 3738086
Quick Description: The Perris Santa Fe Railway Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places on August 5, 1994.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 1/21/2011 4:20:40 AM
Waymark Code: WMAJET
"Built of red brick, the 1892 Santa Fe Railway depot in Perris is a classic example of High Victorian style. Built in the Queen Anne architectural style, the depot is still on its original site, substantially unchanged from its original design and construction.
The property now occupied by the depot was deeded to the California Southern Railroad (predecessor to the Santa Fe Railway) on February 12, 1886 by T.J. Fording, one of the the group of San Bernardino businessmen who financed the founding of the town of Perris. It took another six years before the new depot was completed and presented to the railroad company in 1892. Originally intended to be an important stop on a major transcontinental line, this changed before its completion. Floods had several times washed out many miles of line southward toward San Diego. With the elimination of service to Elsinore and Temecula through Railroad Canyon, the distinction of Perris as a junction point also ended.
However, a branch line to Hemet opened in 1888, and the depot served as a transfer facility. In 1910, underground water was discovered and developed. Cultivation of alfalfa became a major commodity of the valley, and the depot and railroad became the focus of intense activity. World War II also saw more railroad activity at the depot. But, after the war, in 1947 passenger service ended. The coming of imported Colorado River water in 1953 and the introduction of White Rose potatoes revived railroad traffic once again.
As water for irrigation became increasingly more expensive, the cultivation of potatoes declined. This contributed to the closing of the Perris Depot as the Santa Fe freight agency in 1969. The depot structure was given to the Orange Empire Railway Museum for historic preservation. It continues to serve the City of Perris as a cultural center, serving not only as a functional railway station for trains to the OERM museum site, but also housing the Perris Valley Historical and Museum Association (PVH&MA) and its collection of local history artifacts.
Surviving the unpredictable changes during the depot's 100-year history are the names of the leading mercantile houses which existed in the early days of Perris. Written in lampblack, these pioneer family names can still be seen on the freight house walls, indicating the location where all freight for that business was to be left."
The Perris Valley Historical Museum in the Depot is open Thursday to Sunday, 12:00N to 4:00PM.