Sunday, April 05, 2009

On Foot in San Diego: Union Station

This weekend I decided to check out the old Santa Fe Depot, now called the Union Station, at the recommendation of JoAnne, our medical records librarian. No surprise, I did have my buddy, Jennifer, along for this excursion. I have been trying to imprint the railroad history of San Diego on my brain as the railroad played an important role in the settling and development of the city in the late part of the 1800's and early 1900's. I will let the reader check out those details here.

The morning did not get off to a good start when we found I had forgotten to replace the batteries in Jennifer's camera after recharging. OK, I offered to let her share my SLR if she saw a good shot. Nor did it help that paramedics were working on a young man slumped over at the entrance.

"Did he have a heart attack?", Jennifer wanted to know. No, I told her, more likely drugs.

The interior of the station was beautiful in its grace and simplicity, but it's no Grand Central Station and Jennifer was clearly disappointed. One has to be along in years to appreciate the Mission Revival style, arches, and redwood beams in the ceiling.

On the way around front I found a door I liked. I must say I like these curved arches. Jennifer was thinking out loud, "Not another door".

The original depot, built in 1887 to accommodate the real estate bubble speculating that San Diego would be the terminus of the Atchison,Topeka, and Santa Fe, was Victorian style, red with green trim, complete with a clock tower. With the completion of the Panama Canal and hopes that San Diego would become a thriving port for ships, the Victorian depot was torn down and replaced in 1915 with the Mission Revival style depot in keeping with the architecture of the Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park.

"Next week could we go to the Wild Animal Park to take pictures?" Jennifer asked. That question was not a surprise.


chucker said...

In 2005, shortly after I retired, I bought a North American Rail Pass and traveled "on the rails" for 30 days*.

The rail pass required a leg in Canada so I went across Canada on a 3.5 day trek. Paid extra for a roomette that included all my meals on a fantastic restored 1950s train.

Using Amtrak, I visited all 3 children for what a single airfare would have been.

Find the time and do this!

*Actual time on trains was only 12 days.

Katharine said...

What a footloose and adventurous trip!

Pat said...

It does sound like fun, doesn't it? I love riding on trains. My dream is to take a long enough trip that I eat a meal in the dining car. Hopefully I'll get this done before dining cars go the way of the dinosaurs.

Kappa no He said...

Oh, I love the arches, too. And that color... teal? Sage? There is something magical about trains and seeing the scenery move by at not a bird's eye view.


Katharine said...

Kappa, Thank you. I'm enjoying your book.