National Register of Historic Places in Mendocino County

National Register #99001262: Willits Depot
20 November 2005
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National Register #99001262
Willits Depot
East Commercial Street
Built 1915-1916

The Willits Depot, built to serve the Northwestern Pacific Railroad and the California Western Railway, consists of a complex of three wood frame buildings: the depot proper, a restaurant building joined to it by a covered breezeway, and a detached baggage building. All three buildings are of redwood construction throughout. The buildings retain a high degree of integrity.

These buildings represent perhaps the most exuberant expression of the Craftsman style in the north coast region of California, and is unquestionably the finest expression of that style in railroad station architecture in California.

The depot is associated with the final push to completion of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in closing of the gap between Willits and Eureka that finally provided a land link between the north coast area of California and San Francisco Bay Area. It is also closely associated with the growth of tourism in the north coast area of California.

Adapted from the NRHP nomination.

The Willits Depot is the eastern terminus of the California Western Railroad. CWR, popularly called the Skunk Train, is a heritage railroad running from the railroad's headquarters in the coastal town of Fort Bragg, and the interchange with the Northwestern Pacific Railroad at Willits.

The CWR runs steam and diesel-powered trains and rail motor cars forty miles through redwood forests along Pudding Creek and the Noyo River. Along the way, the tracks cross some thirty bridges and trestles and pass through two deep mountain tunnels. The halfway point of Northspur is a popular meals and beverage spot for the railroad's passengers when locomotives turn around before returning trains to their respective terminals.

Source: Wikipedia

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