Framework

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June, 1915: The new Southern Pacific Central Station at Central Avenue and 5th Street in Los Angeles. The building was dedicated on June 12, 1915. This photo was published in the June 13, 1915, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Photo by Bach

June, 1915: The new Southern Pacific Central Station at Central Avenue and 5th Street in Los Angeles. The building was dedicated on June 12, 1915.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Photo by Bach

Oct. 1914: The new Southern Pacific Railroad station during construction. This station became known as Central Station - located at Central Av. and Fifth in Los Angeles. This photo was published in the Oct. 15, 1914 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

July 22, 1937: Crowds at Central Station in downtown Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

July 3, 1937: Crowds of outbound travelers at Central Station in Los Angeles at the start of the July 4th weekend. This photo was published in the July 4, 1937, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

July 1937: Passengers detrain from a San Francisco Daylight Limited at Central Station in Los Angeles. This photo was published in the July 25, 1937, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times

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Southern Pacific Railroad’s Central Station

In 1914, Southern Pacific began construction of Central Station – located at 5th Street and Central Avenue – to replace the neighboring Arcade Station. The uncompleted Central Station opened to passengers on Dec. 1, 1914.

Central Station was dedicated on June 12, 1915. The next morning’s Los Angeles Times reported:

Another milestone was turned last evening on the trail of the city’s progress when the Southern Pacific’s new $750,000 passenger terminal was formally dedicated to the use of the public.

The exercises were held, with 1000 people participating in the commodious concourse of the new station, which had been turned into a bower of flowers and potted plants for the occasion. …

The new station is the most expensive west of Kansas City, and for the number of persons handled, the most expensive in the United States. It adjoins the site of the old Arcade, which was opened February 25, 1889 and was operated until November 30, 1914, when the ticket office was moved from it into the baggage room of the new station, pending its completion. Previous to the occupancy of the Arcade station, Southern Pacific trains were run into the River Station, which is still in existence.

Embodying many novel time-saving details, the new station is 572 feet long, facing Central Avenue, with the main entrance almost exactly on the line of Fifth Street. The concourse is 280 feet long by eighty wide and about fifty feet in height. One wing of the station houses the baggage-room; the other a restaurant that is as fine as any in the West. The second story of one wing is occupied by the division offices; the other is unoccupied.

Everything about the new station, from the steel used in the frame of the concourse to the one-ton chandeliers, fourteen in number, that light it, was fabricated in Los Angeles. Ground for the new station was broken March 28, 1914, and the station was pronounced finished yesterday.

The ten passenger tracks, which are protected by four concrete umbrella sheds, each 780 feet long, are reached by subway from the passenger concourse, while egress is also through a subway. In this way, no passenger is forced to cross a track in getting either to or from a train. By an arrangement of passageways, two or three trains may be served at once, without confusion to passengers.

Among the outside details is parking space that will accommodate 250 automobiles, special trackage for fourteen private cars, with steam heat and telephone connections, and restricted loading space for baggage and express. …

Following a 1924 fire that destroyed their Los Angeles depot, Union Pacific moved its passenger operations into Central Station. In 1939, Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Santa Fe railroads all moved their passenger service to the new Union Station. Central Station was torn down in 1956.

For more, check out this previous From the Archives post: Union Station at 75.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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