|Map of the Monterey station and yard, 1913. (USGS)|
Unlike many other places in California, Monterey actually lost some of its prominence post-annexation. The city ceased to be the capital of California, replaced in quick succession by San José and Benicia before finally settling permanently at Sacramento. The town remained relatively small and isolated, with its fishing industry providing its primary income. Numerous piers and wharves pierced the adjacent Monterey Bay, supplying shipping and fishing services. It was beside these that the railroad first established itself in Monterey.
The narrow-gauged Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad first entered the scene in 1874, cruising in a fairly direct path from Salinas. It allowed local farmers, fishermen, whalers, and other merchants to finally get their products quickly to market via the Southern Pacific Railroad mainline in Salinas. Conveniently, the arrangement worked so well that the Southern Pacific purchased a bankrupted Monterey & Salinas Valley Railroad in 1880, soon realigning the branch line from Salinas to a junction at Castroville.
|The original Monterey Station depot building with adjacent freight warehouse, c. 1890.|
|Men returning home from World War I, c. 1919. (The Wharf Marketplace)|
|Monterey Depot on a busy day in April 1940. (Wilbur C. Whittaker)|
|A passenger train waiting outside Monterey Depot, c. 1950s. (Dave Hambleton)|
|Monterey Depot, much reduced in importance exactly a decade later, April 1950. (Wilbur C. Whittaker)|
Official Railroad Information:
|Monterey Station beside the mainline and a spur in 1974. (Dick Leonhardt)|
Geo-Coordinates & Access Rights:
Monterey Depot still stands today at the base of Monterey Municipal Wharf #2 (with Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse at its base) and beside the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail. It serves as the home of The Wharf Marketplace and is accessible during normal business hours.
Citations & Credits:
• "The Wharf Marketplace".