In the early 1900’s the Santa Fe Railroad was looking for ways to expand their business in California. Seeing the huge potential for tapping into California’s redwood empire in northwestern California, they formed the San Francisco & Northwestern Railway in 1903. The SF&NR built a large and uniquely styled wooden combination headquarters office and depot in Eureka. Its tall tower could be seen for miles.  


    The SF&NW immediately began to purchase several local railroads around Humboldt Bay. The plan was to build north to Oregon and south to Santa Fe’s transcontinental line in Richmond to deliver much needed finished lumber products for California’s exploding population and industrial growth. The Southern Pacific Railroad caught wind of this “invasion” and began to buy railroads south of Eureka in retaliation. Both railroads eventually realized two parallel lines were not economically beneficial for either road and entered into a partnership to form the Northwestern Pacific Railroad in 1907.


     Upon the lease of Santa Fe’s existing lines in Eureka to the NWP, the Santa Fe herald was taken off the depot and replaced by a clock and new sign for the NWP. The following two postcards show the depot first under control of the SF and later the NWP with the new clock having been installed.


Postcard – Santa Fe Depot, Eureka, California


Postcard – NWP Eureka Depot, Eureka, California



Santa Fe Railroad and Northwestern Pacific Railroad’s Eureka Depot