The Case for Preservation of the Santa Fe Reading Room
In October 1948, as part of a larger work, the Railroad issued an existing conditionsurvey of the “Old Reading Room.” It recorded the alterations resulting from the 1944relocation. The document shows new concrete foundations, new stucco cladding, and theelimination of several original doors that were turned into windows. Internal changesinclude the addition of both men’s and women’s toilets, new 1"x4" fir floors laid over theoriginal, and a new asbestos shingle roof. By 1992 the operations housed in theTrainmaster’s Office moved to a new location within the Rail Yard. The building hasbeen unused and unoccupied since that time.
The Santa Fe Reading Room is a 101-year old building that is the oldest extantcomponent of the original Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe rail yards that, along with whatis now the ChevronTexaco Refinery, was the reason for the founding of the City of Richmond.The City’s own consultant, Carey & Co., concluded that the building “is likely eligiblefor inclusion on the California Register of Historic Resources at the local level of significance.”
The Trainmaster’s Office is listed on the Contra Costa County HistoricResources Inventory. The listing occurred in 1976, under the name: Santa FeRailroad Depot, Garrard Boulevard. The evaluation category is “Structure of Historic Significance.” The Trainmaster’s Office was included as part of theDepot complex in the original listing. In our opinion, the Trainmaster’s Office islikely eligible for inclusion on the California Register of Historic Resources atthe local level of significance. The four criteria for inclusion are as follows:An historical resource must be significant at the local, state or national levelunder one or more of the following four criteria:1. It is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to thebroad patterns of local or regional history, or the cultural heritage of California orthe United States; or 2. It is associated with the lives of persons important tolocal, California, or national history; or 3. It embodies the distinctivecharacteristics of a type, period, region, or method or construction, or representsthe work of a master, or possesses high artistic values; or 4. It has yielded, or hasthe potential to yield, information important to the prehistory or history of thelocal area, California, or the nation.Inclusion of the Trainmaster’s Office on the California Register would be basedon Criteria One and Three. Criteria One: The City of Richmond was essentiallyfounded as a result of the arrival of two industries. The Santa Fe Railroad andyard facility was established in 1900, and the Standard Oil refinery (now theChevron Texaco refinery) was established in 1901. The Trainmaster’s Office isthe only known surviving yard building associated with the railroad from theearliest days of the Santa Fe facility. Contemporary newspaper accounts clearly
Relocation Study, Santa Fe Trainmaster’s Office Located on Garrard Boulevard, Richmond, California
.(San Francisco: Carey & Co., January 15, 1999, Revised December 24, 2003) 3-4