National Register of Historic Places in Sonoma County

National Register #76000536: Cloverdale Railroad Station 1975
National Register #76000536: Cloverdale Railroad Station  in Early 1920s Early 1920s
National Register #76000536: Cloverdale Railroad Station c1900 c1900
Cloverdale c1900 c1900
(Click Photos to Zoom)
National Register #76000536
Cloverdale Railroad Station
Railroad Avenue

Rural railroad stations were never numerous. They were the focal point of the life of the citizens they served. They were the link to the outside and the corridor of commerce through which the carrier took local products to market and to which it returned the manufactures upon which the community relied.

The rural railroad station maintained its importance for the better part of a century until the private automobile and alternate means of freight transport forced it into obsolescence. With the dwindling of rail service, these stations have been abandoned and destroyed without thought for posterity.

The Cloverdale station is one of the few depots of vertical board and batten construction remaining in California. It reflects an architectural expression, always functional, which was a part of life and which richly deserves preservation.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination approved 12 December 1976.

All the old stations are being torn down
And the high flying trains no longer roar
The floors are all sagging with boards that are suffering
From not being used anymore
Things are all changing, the world's rearranging
A time that will soon be no more
Where has a slow movin', once quick-draw outlaw got to go....

The land where I traveled once fashioned with beauty
Now stands with scars on her face
The wide open spaces are closing in quickly
From the weight of the whole human race
And it's not that I blame them for claiming her bounty
I just wish they'd takin' it slow
'Cause where has a slow movin', once quick-draw outlaw got to go

From the lament, Slow Movin' Outlaw, by Dee Moeller
Memorably recorded by Willie Nelson & Lacy J. Dalton in 1985

We couldn't find the Cloverdale Railroad Station.

The National Register of Historic Places lists the address only as Railroad Avenue, but Railroad Avenue is bisected by the landfill of Highway 101 with no depot in evidence on either side of the highway.

We stopped at a small pub near the Highway 101 embankment where several neighborhood women were taking their afternoon refreshment. They told us that the station used to stand a few feet away but that it burned down. One of them recalled being awakened by the fire trucks and going outdoors to watch the unsuccessful effort to save the building.

The neighbors couldn't remember exactly when the fire happened, but they agreed that it was long ago and that it was caused by vagrants spending the night in the abandoned building.

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