Last Update:  March 2, 2005
The Southern Pacific Perrydale Depot is the last of its kind.  A truly abandoned railroad depot that
appears to date to the 19th century.    But it's end is near.   A valiant effort was made by Don Kirk of
the Oregon State Railroad Museum to save and relocate it, but it appears not to be.

The history of the Perrydale depot, located in Perrydale, Oregon, has been difficult to obtain.   Several
inquires to local historical societies and the local county, have yielded no responses.  This is what I know for
sure.   The line on which it sits, was completed in 1881 by the Oregonian Railway Limited as a narrow gauge.
This was the branch between Broadmead and Airlie, Oregon that was originally started in 1878 by the Dayton,
Sheridan and Grand Ronde Railroad.    Southern Pacific took control of the line by 1890 and converted it over
to standard gauge by 1893.

The line through Perrydale was completed sometime prior 1879.   That means that this depot could possibly
be that old.    Traffic was never heavy on this line and by late 1927, the branch was abandoned from Perrydale
south to Dallas.   The line from Perrydale, north to Broadmead still remained and it's possible that the depot
remained in operation for a while after 1927.

Some sources indicate that the depot was used until 1945 and then abandoned.   The book, "Southern Pacific
in Oregon" has a photo of the depot, taken in 1955.  That photo shows the depot abandoned and in very poor
shape by that time.  Not much different than it appears today, except it wasn't leaning.  By 1955, most of the  
paint had fallen off and most of the windows were gone.  The picture shows the building in such shape, that
it's quite amazing that it's survived another 50 years.

The line from Perrydale to Broadmead existed as a short spur for 58 more years, serving the local agriculture
community.   By 1985, it too was abandoned and torn up shortly there after.   A bridge existed over Salt Creek
between Perrydale and Broadmead, but that was also was removed.  Today, there is virtually no trace of the
spur.  A short rise does exist out in a farmer's field, but there's not even a hint of the connection to the
ex-Southern Pacific line in Broadmead (now operated by the
Portland & Western).

In recent years, the depot building appears to have been owned by Polk County, but the land by a private
developer that wants to be rid of the depot.   Don Kirk, of the
Oregon State Railroad Museum made an effort
to secure ownership of the depot and relocate it.  But unfortunately, the depot is in such poor condition that
it is not economically feasible to move it, if feasible at all.   At this point, it's fate appears to be sealed.   The
only question is likely, when it will be torn down.

If anyone can add to the history of the depot and/or provide any historical photos that they own or
have the rights too, please
Email me, as I'd like to add it to this article.
Map of the last section of the Broadmead to
Airlie Branch to be abandoned and the
Perrydale depot.
Map date: 1992
Exterior views of the depot.  Southern Pacific was never known for preserving buildings on it's property it no longer used..  
In fact, I've been repeatedly frustrated in my search for historical structures to find that they were almost always torn
down, regardless of how remotely they were located.  And since this building was located in middle of a town, it would even
more likely to have been torn down, had it been under Southern Pacific ownership when it was abandoned.  That's why I
believe Southern Pacific gave up ownership of the building and property before it was abandoned.  Even though tracks
existed and were used nearby until 1985.   It's been said that as of now, the building is owned by the County and the land by
a private developer.  
January, 2005
The northeast facing wall of the building still appears to show what's left of the paint.   It appears to be Southern Pacific
yellow.  From the black and white photo from "Southern Pacific in Oregon" taken in 1955, showing the southwest wall, the
paint was all but gone on that side, by that time, 50 years ago.   Photo on the right, shows the ground were the depot tracks
were once laid, but long gone now.  
January, 2005
Two left photos:  The signature feature on many railroad depots is the bay window where employees and passengers could
look out and see if the train was coming, without having to step out into the weather.   Middle photo:  The chimney appears
to be half false work as a hole on upper wall behind this chimney indicated a stove pipe once existed.   Or perhaps was
added in later years.    To the right:  Another view of the northeast side, clearly showing the surviving paint.  Could this paint
be more than 60 or 70 years old?  
January, 2005
Photo on the left, shows a recent County Condemnation notice posted on the building.  Photo in the middle shows a larger
size hole in floor at the southwest entrance.  The two right photos show the benches still in place.  Could railroad
passengers have sat on these very benches 127 years ago?  
January, 2005
Photos of the interior show it to be in just as poor condition as the outside.   Note the several layers of paint that are
showing, having worn through in the decades since this building has been abandoned.   Yellow appears to have been the
last color used, but prior to that, light blue and possibly others.   Does anyone know if light blue is a common color for older
Southern Pacific depot interiors?   
January, 2005
Note the two holes in the upper walls.  I believe these were for the stove and leads me to assume that the stove was located
in the middle of the floor of the passenger area, while the smoke pipe ran through the half wall and then exited the north wall
and up the chimney.  
January, 2005
A shot of the general area.  
I believe the land owner is
attempting to locate more
mobile homes on the
property and wants the
depot moved or destroyed.
Not the railroad ties
discarded by the road.
January, 2005
The depot with my truck
parked nearby.
January, 2005
Not far from the depot are
these stacks of heavy
wood beams.  I believe
these are from the Salt
Creek RR Bridge, located
nearby and torn up
sometime after 1985.
January, 2005
These historical photos show the early years of the depot's abandonment.    The left photo was taken in 1955,
the middle in 1961, and the right in 1964.     By the mid 1950s, the depot had already been abandoned for at least
a decade and probably longer.    
Courtesy of the Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections
Used under permitted conditions - Ben Maxwell photos
Special Thanks to Alan Bittel of Perrydale, for pointing these photos out to me.
One last look out the window,
down the tracks, for a train that
will never come.

This view has become an
increasingly rare one.

We should make every effort to
preserve the few historical
depots that we have left.
If anyone has any further information, corrections or pictures about the Perrydale depot or Southern
Pacific Broadmead branch, please let me know.    You can
Email me anytime.  Thanks.
Copyright © 2005 Brian McCamish,  All Rights Reserved

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