Born a Spanish Colonial beauty and later given a streamlined makeover, the historic Tucson depot is home to a museum, restaurant and offices.
400 North Toole Avenue Tucson, AZ 85701
- Annual Station Revenue (2013)
- Annual Station Ridership (2013)
|Facility Ownership||City of Tucson|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Tucson|
|Platform Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|Track Ownership||Union Pacific Railroad|
|3 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Payphones||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Restrooms||Accessible Ticket Office||Accessible Waiting Room|
|Accessible Water Fountain||Baggage Storage||Bike Boxes|
|Checked Baggage||Enclosed Waiting Area||Help With Luggage|
|Pay Phones||Quik Trak Kiosk||Restrooms|
|Shipping Boxes||Ticket Office||Wheelchair|
|Wheelchair Lift||no Long Term Parking Spaces|
- Sunset Limited
- Texas Eagle
(202) 906-3918 (ph)
Local Community Links:
The Tucson depot is today the pride of downtown. Originally designed in 1907 by Southern Pacific Railway (SP) staff architect Daniel Patterson and staff engineer J.D. Wallace, the original brick structure was in the Spanish Revival style then so popular throughout the southwest. The building, costing $665,000, featured a center portion with a hipped red tile roof flanked by two end towers that framed the entire composition. The windows of each tower displayed elaborate ornamentation in the Churrigueresque style, marked by expressive, sculptural detailing generally associated with Spanish architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries. A circular drive allowed visitors to pull up to the front entrance to pick up and drop off friends and family who could linger underneath the shade of the front arcade.
In 1941, the SP decided to enlarge and modernize the facility. The renovation increased the square footage by one-third, extending the arcade and allowing passengers to access tracks through tunnels. At this time, the façade received an Art Moderne update, and was accordingly stripped of its Churrigueresque decoration in favor of a more streamlined aesthetic. The main waiting room is decorated with colorful blue and yellow tiles and handsome wooden benches. It was this version of the depot that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor experienced when they visited Tucson in 1959.
Although quite beautiful and impressive, the 1907 depot was actually the second on the site. When the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived from Yuma in 1880, the company built a wooden station with deep eaves and windows featuring colorful awnings; President McKinley stopped here in 1900. This building was replaced because passenger and freight traffic outgrew the space.
The 1907 station complex was sold to the city of Tucson in 1998 by the Union Pacific Railroad for $2.1 million dollars. With the decline of passenger rail travel after World War II, the depot had fallen into poor condition. The Mayor and City Council appointed a task force to develop a master plan for the area; it was decided to renovate the buildings to the 1941 period. Upon completion of the $2.8 million renovation, the depot now offers office, restaurant, and retail space in addition to its rail functions.
In the depot’s former records vault, one may find the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, opened in 2005 with generous funding from city, county, federal, and private funding sources, including a Federal Transportation Enhancement grant. The museum tells the story of Tucson’s fascinating rail heritage. Near the museum one may also admire Southern Pacific Steam Locomotive #1673, which played a starring role in the 1954 film “Oklahoma.” A ten year restoration and fund raising effort finally saw the dedication of the locomotive at the restored depot in 2002.
Located in the Sonoran Desert and surrounded by five mountain ranges, Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona, and home to the University of Arizona, founded in 1885. The city’s name comes from the native O’odham name “Cuk Son” meaning “at the base of the black hill.” Recent archaeological excavations in the area located a village site dating from 4,000 years ago. In 1700, Jesuit Fr. Eusebio Kino founded Mission San Xavier del Bac. It was north of present day Tucson, in the vicinity of downtown. The Spanish constructed a walled fortress in 1775, referring to it as Presidio San Agustin del Tucson. Tucson became part of the United States in 1854 after the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico. From 1867-77, the city served as capital of Arizona Territory.
Tucson and its suburbs are a center for high-tech industry such as optics and optoelectronics, providing the moniker of “Optics Valley.” The University of Arizona and federal installations such as Davis-Monthan Air Force Base constitute a large portion of the employment sector. Tucson is also home to the world famous Gem and Mineral Show, held every February, as well as the Fiesta de los Vaqueros, which marks the beginning of the U.S. rodeo season.
This facility has a waiting room and is staffed by Amtrak employees. Tucson is served by the tri-weekly Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle (Westbound: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday; Eastbound: Monday, Thursday, Saturday).