Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's on the Internet, so it's got to be correct!

We all hopefully know that not everything is true on the Internet. For the Vasona Branch, I've always been a little suspicious of the guess on one of the SP railfan websites that a board and batten building on Railway Ave. in Campbell was actually an old freight house for the South Pacific Coast. I didn't bother actively debunking the details til I saw folks mentioning the building on the Espee mailing list.

Here's a photo, if you're interested, or all the photos of railroad details along the Vasona Branch.

So what's got me debunking this building as ex-SPC?

  • It doesn't look very SPC or like a freight depot - no siding repairs to mark the position of freight doors, lots of windows, doors at inappropriate places, no SPC style roof supports or overhangs, etc.
  • The 1928 Campbell Sanborn map shows no such building south of the later (now gone) Southern Pacific depot.
  • I can't find any historic photos showing that building around. I've seen photos of the original (tiny) SPC depot in South Pacific Coast: A Centennial (p. 143), and that building is (1) much tinier, and (2) had horizontal siding, not the board and batten of the suspect building.
  • I've seen photos of the later depot, and it's not the same building.
  • The suspect building doesn't match the Los Gatos (SPC?) freight depot, a much larger building that I assume was SPC built - see the roof supports in this picture.
  • I saw an article in the local paper describing that building as a former cannery cafeteria, (objection: hearsay!) and the Hyde cannery cafeteria in the foreground of this photo would be the right shape. The Sanborn maps also show the cafeteria building was vacant by 1928; any chance the old cafeteria building was just moved across the tracks when the bypass roads around downtown were built?

I don't know if I'm right, but I'm looking forward to hearing if anyone on the mailing list has got a strong idea that this really was an SPC building.

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