Salem, OR (SLM)
The 1918 Beaux-Arts station creates a grand entryway to the "Cherry City." Restored in 1999, the building features tall columns, decorative plasterwork and terrazzo and marble floors.
500 13th Street SE
Salem, OR 97301
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 61,226
- Facility Ownership: State of Oregon
- Parking Lot Ownership: State of Oregon
- Platform Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
- Track Ownership: Union Pacific Railroad
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
Salem’s station was built for the Southern Pacific Railroad and opened in 1918 as a replacement for the depot which had burned in 1914. Southern Pacific architect J.H. Christie designed the station and Steinberger Brothers of Portland built it for $25,000. The current station, a masonry Beaux Arts structure, conveys the idea of a “gateway to the city” with its large portal columns encompassed by large, arched Roman windows. The central pavilion dominates, with its 1500 square-foot main waiting room. Smaller wings to both side house ticketing, baggage, and the (former) women’s waiting room. Decorative plasterwork, coved corner entries, period radiators, and terrazzo marble floor patterns add to the elegance of the structure.
The 1999 Salem Depot Project—managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation—fully rehabilitated the 1918 depot. Ceilings and architectural features were restored. A black marble ticket counter was added and two 30-inch globe lights were recreated from drawings of the originals. More modern features were also added, including improvement of parking facilities, rail-side pedestrian shelters, and lighting and landscaping for both rail systems and park-and-ride operations. The $2.6 million renovation project was paid for by federal and state grants.
Salem, the “cherry city,” is also the state capital and county seat of Marion County, and sits along the banks of the Willamette River in the midst of the Willamette Valley. The native Kalapuyans called the area Chemeketa, “meeting or resting place.” When a Methodist Mission moved to the plain by the river in 1840, the new establishment was called Chemeketa. There, the Oregon Institute was formed in 1842 and the community was just known as “the Institute.” However, the Institute dissolved within two years, and in 1844 the trustees decided to lay out a town site on Institute lands. It is thought that either trustee David Leslie, from Salem, Massachusetts, or William H. Willson, who filed the plats in 1850-51, suggested that the name be changed to Salem. The name, Salem, derives from a Hebrew word, “shalom,” for peace.
Salem became territorial capital in 1851 after it was moved from Oregon City. Salem incorporated as a city in 1857, and when statehood came in 1859, remained the capital. However, government aside, agriculture was important to the city, and was celebrated yearly in a Cherry Festival since 1903 until World War I, though briefly revived in the 1940s. Today, the state government is the city’s largest employer, but it remains a hub for agricultural food processing.
While the maraschino cherry was invented in Europe, it is agreed that Salem is the birthplace of the modern maraschino cherry industry. An Oregon State University professor, Ernest H. Wiegand perfected the art of preserving the cherry. Today, two of the leading maraschino cherry producers call Oregon home, and one of them, the Oregon Cherry Growers, is in Salem. Together, Oregon Cherry Growers and Gray & Co. are responsible for most of those famous neon-red garnishes used in the United States.
Amtrak provides both ticketing and baggage services at this facility.
Salem is served by six daily trains. The Amtrak Cascades are primarily financed through funds made available by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation.
- 25 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Shipping Boxes
- Short Term Parking Spaces
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift