National Register of Historic Places in Sacramento County
The Southern Pacific Depot was built on the site of China Slough, a large body of water which was a breeding place for mosquitoes. Southern Pacific had been filling the slough slowly as it needed more land, with the last part filled in 1919.
This passenger station was the fourth built by Southern Pacific. The first was a small wood building built in 1864 by the Central Pacific Railroad Company on Front Street. The second and third depots were built in 1868 and 1879 in the same location as the first. The third depot served until this station was built in 1925.
The San Francisco architectural firm Bliss & Faville designed the building. It is Romanesque in proportion and Renaissance in detail. The arches are Renaissance as are the corbel tables and keystones, which are not functional but purely decorative. The tile roof is Mediterranean.
The depot was a major transportation center for both passengers and freight. In 1926, 86 trains passed through daily - 64 passenger trains and 22 freight trains. This traffic was surpassed only by New York, Chicago, Omaha, Kansas City, New Orleans and San Francisco.
Sacramento was one of the principal railroad equipment building cities in the United States. By 1926 the Southern Pacific shops in Sacramento had turned out 142 locomotives since the first one, #173 was built in 1872. Every train part was manufactured in Sacramento by a work force of 3,100.
Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1975.
The highrise building east of the depot is the United States Courthouse designed by Nacht & Lewis Architects which was founded in 1922 by Leonard F. Starks who designed several notable Sacramanto building including the Elks Building, C.K. McClatchy High School and the Post Office on I Street.