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Union Pacific's Parkinson and Underwood Depots

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This page was last updated on May 2, 2013.

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Parkinson Depots

The Parkinson depots are best known for their distinctive Mission style. Here is a partial list of the Union Pacific depots designed by John and Donald Parkinson.

Parkinson depots in Utah include the depots at Milford (1923) and Ogden (1924).

Depot Location Date Completed Notes
Anaheim, California 1923 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 93)
Fullerton, California 1923 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 92)
Glendale, California 1923  
La Habra, California 1923 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 91)
Whittier, California   (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 91)
Pomona, California   (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 123)
San Pedro, California 1923 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 120)
Ontario, California 1923 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 98)
Las Vegas, Nevada   (photos, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California, Volume II, by David F. Myrick, page 665-667)
Caliente, Nevada 1923

(photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 99)

Adjacent clubhouse completed in 1928.

Depot donated to City of Caliente in 1970-1971; still in place as of mid 2009; used as city offices.

Constructed as a Union Pacific Railroad depot in 1923, this mission revival structure was designed by well-known Los Angeles architects, John and Donald Parkinson. The depot represents an imposing example of Mission Revival design. Much of its interior was made of solid oak, and the total cost was $83,600.,000. This newer facility included a restaurant and a fifty-room hotel. For some years the old depot has served Caliente as a civic center and is the location of city government offices. (Historical Markers Batabase; includes photos)

Milford, Utah 1923

(photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 99)

Removed in 1979-1980; replaced in 1982; John Bromley wrote in March 2008:

The old depot was torn down in 1980 and replaced with a new "Spanish style" depot amid great ceremony. The towns people had raised hell about their beloved station being razed and the railroad went to extensive effort to smooth feathers with a modern replacement. I think it was the last "new" depot for UP, although basically it was a yard office. I was there as the regional PR representative for UP the ribbon-cutting on October 1, 1982.

Kelso, California 1924

(photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 99)

Closed by UP in 1985; transferred to BLM ownership in 1992; renovation began in 2002; reopened to the public in 2005 as the Kelso Visitor Center for the National Park Service's Mojave National Preserve

Yermo, California March 1924 Removed in 1979-1980 to make way for new classification yard that opened in 1981; replaced by modern yard office that was removed in January 2007 (photos, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 100)
Ogden, Utah November 1924 Now used as Utah State Railroad Museum

Wikipedia article about John and Donald Parkinson

Mark Hemphill wrote about the Parkinson depots in his book, "Union Pacific Salt Lake Route":

Page 24: [Yermo] The SPLA&SL went a few miles past Daggett to Otis to build a division point. In 1908 Otis became Yermo, a Spanish word that translates as desert or deserted. On July 17, 1971, a westbound waits for a fresh crew at Yermo's stucco-over-masonry depot, built in 1922. The depot housed a cafeteria until the mid-1960s; the house specialty was a prime-rib dinner every Sunday for $3.50. The depot was the work of Los Angeles architects John and Donald Parkinson. Here they attempted to update the aging Mission style with elements from the new Spanish Eclectic style. It was not their best effort, and on subsequent LA&SL depots they reverted to pure Mission style. The UP replaced it in 1981 with a bland steel bungalow.

Page 74: [Kelso] Because Kelso was about as far from civilization as one could go without coming out the other side, the SPLA&SL had to build Kelso from scratch: a roundhouse for a half-dozen helper engines; dwellings for engine crews, blacksmiths, boiler makers, machinists, section men, and their families; fuel tanks, sand towers, tool sheds, etc.; a store, schoolhouse, and post office; and, most important, wells, a softening plant, and storage tanks to dispense the water essential for making steam, boiling coffee, taking baths, and watering the depot lawn.

Kelso's centerpiece was the Kelso Club, built in 1923 to replace an earlier depot. It was a paradigm of Mission-style depot architecture, carefully proportioned and conservatively embellished. While its white stucco walls, red clay tile roof, and dark-green trim were typical for the LA&SL's depots, here, in the midst of an endless desert, it was a brilliant splash of color in a canvas of khaki and olivine.

Inside was a lunchroom, open around the clock, and a waiting room that doubled as Kelso's social center. Upstairs there were bedrooms lining a corridor, each just big enough to hold two narrow iron beds. An arcade along the depot's track side provided a shady place to sit on benches and watch the comings and goings of trains, helpers, and people. Around the depot grew a lush oasis: a lawn, palm trees, cottonwoods, hedges, and flower beds. But where the watering stopped, the desert began, as sharply as if the sod had been cut with a knife.

Page 97: [Caliente, Nevada] To replace a frame depot which burned on September 9, 1921, Caliente received a new Mission-style depot in 1922, a 58-foot-by-207-foot combination station/hotel. Architects John and Donald Parkinson of Los Angeles set the pattern at Caliente for most of the LA&SL's modern depots, with the Mission style. A clubhouse built in 1928 provided additional rooms. The UP gave the depot to the town in 1971; it is now the town hall, police station, and library.

Page 111: [Milford, Utah] In 1923 Milford received its third depot (the first burned down on July 7, 1890), a 30-foot-by-197-foot depot/hotel that was the largest of the classic LA&SL Mission-style depots. This was not the easternmost example of this style on a Harriman railroad: the Utah Light & Railway Co., Salt Lake City's streetcar line (purchased by Harriman in 1906), built a Mission-style shop complex in Salt Lake City in 1908 in red brick instead of white stucco. Sometimes the Mission-style is erroneously called "Mission Revival"; Taco Bells are "Mission Revival," not the LA&SL's depots. The Mission style, a free adaptation of the Southwest's Franciscan missions, was California's counterpart to the Colonial Revival architecture which was then all the rage in the East. The UP tore down Milford's Mission-style depot in 1979, replacing it with a glass, steel, and concrete office building.

(Read Thornton Waite's October 2009 article about the Parkinsons.)

Underwood Depots

Here is a partial list of the Union Pacific depots designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood.

Underwood depots in Utah include the depots at Black Rock (1925), Lund (1927), and Morgan (1926).

Depot Location Date Completed Notes
East San Pedro, California 1924  
Nampa, Idaho 1924 Removed in about 1985-1986
North Bend, Nebraska 1924  
Parco (Sinclair), Wyoming 1924 Station name changed from Parco to Sinclair in late 1942
American Falls, Idaho 1925 Still there in August 1984 (email from Norm Metcalf)
Black Rock, Utah 1925 Gone by 1974 (email from Norm Metcalf)
Cozad, Nebraska 1925  
Topeka, Kansas 1925  
Morgan, Utah (?) 1926  
Lund, Utah 1927  
South Torrington, Wyoming 1927  
Abilene, Kansas 1928  
East Los Angeles, California 1928 (photo, The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad Company, by John R. Signor, page 112)
Gering, Nebraska 1928  
Greeley, Colorado 1929  
Fairbury, Nebraska 1929  
Shoshone, Idaho 1929  
LaGrande, Oregon 1930  
Marysville, Kansas 1930  
Omaha, Nebraska 1930  
Pullman, Washington (not completed)  

Wikipedia article about Gilbert Stanley Underwood

See also: "Gilbert Stanley Underwood, Architect For The Union Pacific Railroad" in The Streamliner, Volume 12, Number 3, Summer 1998, Union Pacific Historical Society, page 33

In addition to designing the lodge for Union Pacific at Sun Valley, Idaho, Underwood also designed many of the buildings for Union Pacific's Utah Parks Company, as mentioned in the above article.

More Information

Salt Lake City Depot

Depots in Utah, Common Standard and non-CS

Brigham City Depot

Ogden Depot

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