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Friday, May 29, 2015

Bardin

Bardin Station shown on a slightly incorrect 1913 USGS Map.
Despite there being a number of stops associated with the Bardin family on the Pajaro Valley Consolidated Railroad line, there was only one such stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad, located midway between Lapis and Marina under the name "Bardin's".

James Bardin was a North Carolinian farmer who crossed the plains in 1855 to settle in the Salinas Valley. Soon after his arrival, he purchased 1,220 acres of Rancho Ríncon de las Salinas from Rafael Estrada. From there, Bardin began his local property empire, especially turning the town of Blanco from a small hamlet into a town peopled primarily by his own descendants. In 1858, his holdings had expanded to 5,000 acres. In addition to his property holdings and his farm, Bardin operated a ferry across the Salinas at a place called Anton's Crossing. Bardin's son, James Alfred, became a superior court judge and was prominent in Salinas area politics.

Closer to the beach near the mouth of the Salinas River, Bardin sold a stretch of land to the Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad Company, which became the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1879. Bardin was one of the original financiers of this route, which linked his properties to both the port of Monterey and the markets of Salinas. In fact, Bardin's ranch was located at the bend in the railroad—the place where it turned sharply southwest from its otherwise westerly direction. He grew primarily barley and potatoes on his land using Chinese labor. Once Claus Spreckles began investing in the area, Bardin switch to growing sugar beets on his property. All of these were probably shipped via his various freight stations such as that at Bardin's.

James Bardin himself died in 1888, but his seven sons continued to own the land well into the 1930s. The death of James Alfred Bardin in 1932 may have marked an end to freight shipments out of Bardin station. Except for a short siding at the stop, shown on the USGS map above in 1913, no structures or facilities were ever associated with the stop. Indeed, by the 1930s it seems the siding had been reduced to a simple spur, possibly only a remnant of the longer siding. The stop was removed from timetables entirely in the 1940s, after which service was probably replaced by truck. James Bardin's descendants still run some farms in the Salinas Valley, primarily at Rancho Cienega del Gabilan, but the area around Bardin station is now undeveloped city land.

Official Railroad Information:
Bardin's appeared in agency books before 1899. It was a class-A station and included a freight platform. It lost the "s" in its name around 1907. The station was included on employee timetables from at least 1909, located 115.4 miles from San Francisco via Castroville, Gilroy, and San José. It was 12.9 miles from the Monterey Branch end-of-track at Lake Majella. By 1937, the station permitted both passenger and freight service and included an 8-carlength spur (~400 feet), although the freight service there had been reduced to a class-C station. No other services were provided at the stop. The station was downgraded to an "Additional Station" in 1940 and disappeared entirely from timetables at some point before 1951.

Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
36.706˚N, 121.79˚W

The site of Bardin is located near the southern junction of Del Monte Boulevard and Lapis Road. No remnant of this spur remains today and the land beside it is undeveloped Monterey city land.

Citations & Credits:

  • Anderson, Burton. America's Salad Bowl: An Agricultural History of the Salinas Valley. Salinas, CA: Monterey County Historical Society, 2000.
  • Clark, Donald Thomas. Monterey County Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Scotts Valley, CA: Kestrel Press, 1991).

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