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Depot Museum PDF Print E-mail

THE DINUBA SOUTHERN PACIFIC DEPOT

 

The Southern Pacific Railroad Depot in Dinuba was built during the time that the railroad tracks were extended from Fresno through Dinuba to Visalia in 1888.  This construction  was completed on February 27, 1888.  The Depot was built to house the Southern Pacific Office and was used by the depot stationmaster as his home.  The original Depot burned in 1911 and it is possible that the present depot partially burned or that the original Depot only partially burned in 1911.  Pictures of the original Depot and the present Depot are dissimilar, but it is possible that the original Deport was enlarged when it was rebuilt.  The Depot was used by SPR from 1888 to 1978.  In 1895, nine Dinuba women met in the depot, the home of Mrs.  W. J. Dechman whose husband was the stationmaster, in order to organize a social and literary club which became the Dinuba Women’s Club.

 

The Depot can be seen in a photo taken in 1904 of the city of Dinuba and it is visible behind an engine of an undated picture titled “Dinuba’s first regular railroad crew”.

 

The Depot was closed after Mr. Burns, the stationmaster retired in June 1978.  It was at this time that the Southern Pacific Transportation Company offered the Depot for sale.

 

In July 1979 a bill of sale for $100 was issued to the ADHS.  The Railroad Company was eager to have the Depot moved and had stipulated that it be moved within six months of the bill of sale.  However, the ADHS had no place in which to move the building.  There was much discussion about where to move the Depot and several locations were proposed but it was not until January 1984, after the purchase of the property on “K” Street that the Depot was moved to its present location at K and Ventura Street.  It was moved for $10,000 and the next month the foundation was installed for $7,000.  In July of 1984 a new roof was installed for $8,211 and in November electrical wiring was installed by volunteers for over $4,000.  Between 1984 and 1989 the Youth Employment Services worked on the Depot, the “K” Street grounds, and other buildings.  The Depot was painted in 1999.

 

The Rutan Brothers Aviation Exhibit was the first exhibit to be installed in the restored S. P. Depot Museum building in November 1997.  Since then numerous exhibits have been installed to make the museum the show case that it is.  The museum was developed in the Depot from the many items that were donated to the ADHS by members of the community.  Some highlights of displays and improvements in the Depot Museum include: a Veteran’s Display opened on November 11, 1998, a Native American Display which was added in August 1999, the Orosi Room which opened in the upstairs of the Depot on October 8, 2000, and display cases for the Orosi Room which were purchased for $2,100 and donated by the Orosi High School Alumni Association, the Dorothy Frew cabinet, made possible through memorials and a pioneer club donation, was installed in 2005, a replica of a turn of the century kitchen was completed and room dividers were paid through a grant from the Tulare County Historical Society were installed in July 2004, a Woman’s Club Exhibit and a Grange Exhibit were completed in 2005.

 

The museum committee works every Tuesday to improve and maintain the museum in the Depot.  Tours of the Depot can be arranged through the ADHS office, which is open on Tuesday and Wednesday and can be reached at 559-591-2144.