Project update! Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

By Katie Rispoli, Executive Director

Our team has been working diligently with the City of Long Beach and other partners to carry out the relocation of the historic Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in Long Beach....and the day is nearly upon us! The depot will make the journey to its final destination the night of Wednesday, January 28th.

In the meantime, those who have been keeping an eye on the place may have noticed some serious goings-on. We're happy to say everything has been going as-planned, with few surprises. 

Foundations have been poured at the new home, lead and asbestos have been removed, and the building has been prepped to make the journey!

When I found out about the depot project and began this insane journey, I imagined a glorious event in which a pristine, 1907 railroad depot would be driven in its entirety on wheels and boards through the streets of Long Beach. Something along the lines of this:

Man, was I wrong. Don't you worry - our move is still going to be glorious, but it definitely won't look like that. See, it turns out there's a reason we don't move buildings as often these days. Though some cities were laid out with extra wide roads here and there if buildings did need to be moved (thank you, Long Beach) modern-day telephone lines, permits, traffic control agencies, and public inconvenience have not been nearly as accommodating. 

The telephone lines are the real challenge. We had the option of fitting our building under them, or hiring crews to travel along with it and stop at every light to lift the lines. Not only would hiring crews be expensive, but it would cause a major inconvenience for those on the roads, even in the evening, and would require a lot more traffic intervention. So we opted to make the building shorter...by cutting off the roof. 

Yep, as of today the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot no longer has a roof. Oh, and the side walls. No side walls either. Now they'll all be reunited at the new home, and we've removed them with the guidance of engineers and architects to ensure structural integrity is preserved in the process, but this baby is loosing its roof rafters one by one. 

Following the building's move on January 28th, the main body of the depot and its parts (the tower, roof, and side walls) will sit on site at Willow Springs Park near the new foundation for a short while. The process of putting the depot down takes a little time, followed by a period of reassembly and preparation for the next phase.

Most likely, adaptive reuse will begin in April. And after this is all through, we'll be back with another update to fill you in on the next steps in creating Long Beach's newest community center!

Katie RispoliComment