Preservationist: We can fix old depot


The century-old Western Pacific railroad depot was damaged again by fire in June. The depot is located on Union and Main Streets in Stockton.

Alex Thompson, best known as the guy who bought the historic Henery Apartments and started a DIY restoration project, called to say the old Western Pacific Depot, scheduled for demolition after two heartbreaking fires, can be saved.

“The cheap part is what burned,” said Thompson, who sized up the cost of a budget remodel, his speciality.

“Sixty-two roof frames: less than $700 for the framing. Not including the tile, I realize,” Thompson said.

I’ve never known entirely what to make of Thompson, but he knows his stuff. And, unlike the Philistines who swung the wrecking ball at some of Stockton’s architectural gens, he values historic buildings.

“That property has  a lot of potential for helping restore downtown Stockton,” Thompson said. “The things that former station could do. Think of the Stockton Transportation Museum. Old rail cars. We could open that up as a number of different possibilities.”

A restored depot could be the gateway for Bay Area tourists, Thompson said. “A place to go if they take the train for the Central Valley.”

As it stands, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission has voted to demolish the building pending salvage of some of its architectural features. So I doubt the building will escape its fate. Still, I wish there were more Alex Thompsons out there. This town was created by people with his can-do.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Author

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • RSS Related Content