Question: “When will the old railroad station be remodeled? The area has become a homeless shelter at nights and a tagger spot (graffiti).” – David A. Mayer
Answer: After receiving this question from David A. Mayer, we set out to find out what the plans are for the old Healdsburg train station on the 300 block of Hudson Street.
We talked with Healdsburg public relations employee Rhea Borja and Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding and discovered that the aging station is under SMART’s jurisdiction and that its future is still unclear.
According to Belding, SMART is unsure if they will use the 128-year-old building as the future Healdsburg station, hence, it is unclear whether or not the site will be remodeled. The last time the building was remodeled was in 1928 when a nearby 24-by-42-foot “waiting room arcade" was constructed.
“The decision on where to put the station hasn’t been made yet. We’ve been focusing on the Larkspur Landing station opening and then we will work on Windsor,” Belding said. She said they hope to open Windsor service by 2021.
“Then we’ll focus on Healdsburg,” Belding said. Whether the station will be used or not, it is clear that the building would need some TLC. In exploring the site and capturing some photos of the station, broken roof tiles and windows and large cracks can been seen throughout its facade.
In regard to the graffiti and encampment concerns, Belding said SMART has a team on it.
“We have a very aggressive graffiti abatement program to try and monitor it (along the line),” Belding said. “We were just out there a few weeks ago removing graffiti. In terms of other activity, we ask that if people see anything suspicious to call their local law enforcement. Safety is very important.”
A little bit of history
Railroad travel and Healdsburg have a long history.
According to Southern Pacific records, the first train arrived in Healdsburg in July 1871. Almost 20 years later a modest, 32-by-100-foot wooden frame freight and passenger station was built.
As reported in a July 1982 article in the Tribune, the train offered service three days a week north and south of Healdsburg after the station was erected.
Toward the end of the 20th century the line was mainly used as a freight line, carrying lumber, grapes and other goods from as far north as Ukiah.
In July 1982 the derelict depot was boarded up and Northwestern Pacific Railroad was forced to bring its sole fright agent to Petaluma due to the recession.
The two depot buildings were put up for lease and freight service continued only six days a week.
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