National Register of Historic Places in Sonoma County

National Register #96000109: Sebastopol Depot in Sonoma County, California 14 August 2004
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National Register #96000109
Sebastopol Depot
Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway
AKA West County Museum
261 South Main Street
Built 1917

The Sebastopol Depot, designed by Brainerd Jones, is a cross between Mission Revival and Bungalow-Craftsman architectural styles.

The Mission Revival movement, which emerged in the 1890s, was widely adopted by the railroads for both large and small depots. Indeed, the nearby P&SR depot in Santa Rosa and the Northwestern Pacific depot in Petaluma were both excellent examples of Mission Revival architecture.

While the Sebastopol Depot clearly has some elements of Mission Revival architecture - the terra cotta tiles, the stucco exterior, and the large, arched veranda - other essential elements are missing. It never had the tile roof or shaped parapets that characterized the other depots and the style as a whole. Meanwhile, some features of the Sebastopol Depot suggest the influence of the Bungalow or Craftsman movement. Most noteworthy are the stone bases of the veranda's stucco piers.

The Sebastopol Depot is a rare reminder of the Petaluma and Santa Rosa Railway (the P&SR), the only electric interurban rail line to operate in Sonoma County.

A national phenomenon, the interurban railroad first appeared in the late 1890s, following the development of steam railroads and electric streetcars. The interurban's main contribution was in providing transportation to suburban and rural populations beyond the reach of city streetcars and steam railroads. By filling a vital need for more efficient local transport, the interurban railroads enjoyed rapid growth and prosperity from the turn of the century through World War I.

After World War I a slow decline began, and by the middle of the 1930s the interurban had disappeared almost entirely, eclipsed by the increased popularity of the automobile.

Excerpted from the NRHP nomination.

The building now houses the West County Museum. Sections of the old right of way have been conerted to trails for hiking and cycling.

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