Vintage Station Building Facade Photos
Southern Pacific constructed its Third and Townsend Streets depot as a "temporary" structure to serve the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It was SP's intention to eventually build a permanent "downtown depot" at the foot of Market Street, but this never came about.

By the 1970's the station building was so dilapidated that SP was finally forced to replace it - with a structure one block further away from the city center. The new depot at Fourth and Townsend (which began to be called Fourth and King with the coming of Pac Bell Park) opened on June 21, 1975, and today serves Caltrain.

For the last decade, the current depot has been regarded as temporary or permanent, depending upon the political /economic winds of the moment. As of 10:59 pm, 10-05-03, the Fourth Street facility is temporary, in favor of a downtown terminus at the Mission Street site of the Transbay Terminal bus depot.

Interestingly, Southern Pacific once actually had a downtown terminous, at Market and Valencia Streets, but that San Francisco and San Jose structure only served until about 1872, when operations moved to..4th. St. Shortly, Wx4 will present a history of SP's early San Francisco operations, Stay tuned.

(above) about 1950; (below) circa 1930; Southern Pacific Photos courtesy of the Doomster.

(left) postcard view, circa 1920

(below) postcard view, circa 1950

The nice folks at SFPL have a huge online collection of historical San Francisco photographs - well worth checking out.

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