Once home to the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, the now remodeled train station houses a restaurant, a market, the railway transportation museum and a couple of other little shops.
Amtrak still runs through Tucson so the station continues to bustle with travelers.
The history of Tucson would be very different without the railroad culture. The railroad further opened the west and brought people with new ideas to this area.
The Southern Pacific Railroad arrived from Yuma in 1880. The first station on the site was built of wood. There were colorful awnings on the windows. President McKinley visited in 1900. He would have experienced that first wooden station with the deep eaves.
SPR staff architect Daniel Patterson and staff engineer J.D. Wallace designed the next building in 1907. It was in the Spanish Revival style which was popular in the southwest.
According to the Amtrak site, the building cost $665,000, and featured a center portion with a hipped red tile roof that was flanked by two end towers. The windows in the towers were ornamented in the Churrigueresque style with lots of sculptural detailing. The drive was circular to facilitate pick ups and drop offs. The trees offered shade from the heat of the oppressive summer sun.
The year 1941 brought changes which included modernizing the building. The style now was Art Moderne and the extensive decoration and ornamentation was removed. Things were stripped down and simplified. Colorful blue and yellow tiles decorate a main waiting room and there are warm wooden benches inside.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor visited Tucson in 1959, and that’s the building as they would have experienced it.
The City of Tucson purchased the complex in 1998 and after developing a master plan for the area, the decision was made to renovate to the 1941 period.
The former records vault holds the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum. It’s is free to the public though donations are gladly accepted. One can learn more about the importance of the railroad and its continuing influence on this area. You can also check out the Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive #1673. It had a starring role in the 1954 film “Oklahoma.”
Maynards has completely revamped its market with fresh offerings daily. Wine and beer are also available.
Give yourself at least a half an hour for the museum. Be sure to wander to the back of the historic train depot to see the locomotive and to see the statues of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.