Historic Structures

Southern Pacific Railroad Station - Springfield Depot, Springfield Oregon

Date added: April 19, 2022 Categories: Oregon Train Station

Establishment of the railroad in Springfield brought new prosperity to the City. The Depot is significant as the historic hub of passenger flow, freight traffic and communications in Springfield from 1891 to the end of the Second World War. Commerce and trade grew with the ability to ship goods in and out. The Springfield Depot was used as both a passenger and freight station. Living quarters were located on the second level for the station master. The Springfield Depot was located adjacent to the downtown area. At one point in its history wooden planks stretched from the building up what is now 7th Street.

Twenty years after Eugene, Springfield finally got a railroad line and the town's isolation ended, Springfield got the railroad because Mr. C.P. Huntington, who ran Southern Pacific, foreclosed on a small, bankrupt company - Oregon Railway Co., Ltd. The small narrow gauge railroad Huntington acquired had been started by a group of Scottish settlers in the Willamette Valley, and ran from Dundee, Oregon south to Coburg, Oregon. After Huntington acquired the line, he made plans to extend the line to terminate in Springfield. The Springfield Investment and Power Company in 1891, donated 50 acres to be used for a depot and shop grounds. The depot was constructed in the same year.

The original plan called for the rail line to continue across the Cascades to eastern connections, making it one of the shortest transcontinental lines. Townsfolk felt assured that with such a plan, the importance of Springfield would be enhanced, and nothing could prevent the town from rising to a position of great commercial and manufacturing importance.

With news of Southern Pacific's plans, C.W. Washburne, a Junction City banker and owner of many flour mills, sensed better days ahead for Springfield Industries. He purchased the aging flour mill from Pengra in 1908, and remodeled it with the finest roller machinery in anticipation of the arrival of the railroad.

The Springfield Depot is a long rectangular building of wood frame and truss construction. The building measures 130'-0" long by 25'-6" wide on the ground level. The second story level on the west end of the structure measures 28'-0" long by 25'-6" wide. The first floor roof consists of two 30.7 degree gabled roofs. The foundation is primarily wood piers on concrete pads, except for the baggage area which is a concrete slab floor. Siding is primarily horizontal shiplap.

The Depot consists of five main areas: the Trainmen's Lobby, Freight Office, Baggage Room and Warehouse. The lobby's exterior dimension are 28'-6" by 25'-4". It is a large room which the restrooms are located in the north west corner. A wall divides the lobby from the Freight Office. This wall is a much later addition to the structure. The framed in opening on this wall indicates it once opened directly to the freight area.

The Freight Office is another large room. It has an interior door opening into the Baggage Room. In the south east corner of this room is a smaller room, at one time the Freight Supervisors Office. The next room is the Baggage Room. Stairs lead up from this ground floor space into the warehouse area. The Warehouse is a large storage facility.

It is the only remaining two story depot in Oregon which had living quarters for the Station Master.