By Susan Motander
The date has been set for the re-dedication of the historic Santa Fe Depot next to the Monrovia Gold Line Metro Station. For more than a year the depot has been under restoration Daylight Limited, a subsidiary of Samuelson & Fettter, the local developers. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, February 25th starting at noon with a light lunch and the dedication at 1p.m. at the depot itself. The monument to former Mayor Robert T. “Bob” Bartlett will be revealed at that time.
The depot was built in 1926 and is actually the third depot at the location. It was designed by well-known railway architect William H. Mohr and was built by the Sumner-Sollett Company. The structure is in the Spanish Colonial Revival style with decorative touching including, arched doorways and windows, tile work and the traditional red tile roof.
It was considered a combination station with both passenger and freight functions in one facility. The east end of the building served as the passenger side with indoor and outdoor waiting areas and ticket counters. The west end held the baggage and freight room that lead to the large open freight platform.
The depot was decommissioned in 1972 and for years remained vacant and slowly became to decay. Vagrants moved in. Thieves stole many of the decorative elements, although Monrovia Police Detectives were able to recover most of these. Eventually in 2013 the city acquired the building from the Gold Line Construction Authority that had obtained it from Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the successor to Santa Fe Railroad.
In assessing the depot in its dilapidated condition, the city realized that no private invested would be willing to undertake the restoration of the building. The city was able to obtain additional funds from the Gold Line for the construction. The work was put out for bids and the contract was awarded to Daylight Limited.
The plan was not a full restoration, but a refurbishment into what is referred to in development circles as a “warm shell,” meaning that the building would be made safe and secure with finished walls and floors but without any interior changes that might be needed later. The ultimate goal is to bring in a restaurant of some sort.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held on February 9, 2017. And now, just over a year later, the building will be re-dedicated. The public is welcome to attend.