Point of Interest in Sutter County

California & Oregon Railroad Depot in Live Oak

28 October 2011
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California & Oregon Railroad Depot
Live Oak Boulevard at Elm Street
Live Oak
Built 1876

The newly restored depot was built in 1876 as part of the original California & Oregon Railroad which ran from Marysville to Portland, Oregon. Until recently, the building was in an advanced state of disrepair owing to neglect by the Union Pacific Railroad.

The following is excerpted from a March 2003 article by Bill Blackwell II in the Marysville Appeal-Democrat as reported on railfan.net.

The building hasn't been used in 15 years and is currently in disrepair.

It was bought by Union Pacific Railroad in 1996, said company spokesman Mike Furteny.

The depot is one of nine buildings in the Live Oak Commercial District, 21 acres of land along Broadway between Elm Street and Pennington Road. It was listed in the National Registry of Historic Places on Jan. 23, 1998, according to Paul Lusignan, a historian with the Department of the Interior.

According to Furteny, Union Pacific doesn't know anything about the depot being listed on the national register. The company has an agreement with the city stating if they find a buyer for the property who is not interested in the depot, it's the city's responsibility to move it or tear it down.

"If it were up to the railroad, we would just tear the place down," Furteny said. "While of course, we would like the town to have its say, the final decision must be financial."

The railroad often acquires properties that have buildings on them which are the oldest in town, Furteny said. The buildings are often in disrepair, but people don't want the buildings torn down because they remember going there as children, Furteny said.

"If it weren't a financial decision, we'd have little run-down buildings all over the place," Furteny said.

The majority of those buildings aren't registered as historic places, Furteny said.

Union Pacific's arrogance seems little changed since the railroad's early days as depicted in Hell on Wheels.

But a tip of the hat to Union Pacific spokesman Mike Furteny. Without hard-headed businessmen like him, our landscape would be so filled with little run-down buildings that we wouldn't be able to move.

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