Butte County Railroad Depot (No. 575 Historic Point of Interest)
California Points of Historical Interest
California Points of Historical Interest are sites, buildings, features, or events that are of local (city or county) significance and have anthropological, cultural, military, political, architectural, economic, scientific or technical, religious, experimental, or other value.
Points of Historical Interest designated after 1997 are recommended by the State Historical Resources Commission, and are also listed on the California Register.
Historical resources that are designated as Points of Historical Interest are not designated as Landmarks. Points of Interest are of local significance, while Landmarks are of statewide significance. Points that are granted Landmark status are retired from their Points of Interest designation.
To be designated as a Point of Historical Interest, a resource must meet at least one of the following criteria:
1) Is the first, last, only, or most significant of its type within the local geographic region (City or County)
2) Is associated with an individual or group having a profound influence on the history of the local area
3) A prototype of, or an outstanding example of, a period, style, architectural movement, or construction or is one of the more notable works or the best surviving work in the local region of a pioneer architect, designer, or master builder.
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Also known as the Magalia Depot and Butte County Railroad, the Butte County Railroad Depot was built in 1903 in Magalia. It is one of three along the Butte County Railroad that runs from Chico to Sterling City. The railroad was built by the Diamond Match Company in 1902, and purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1915. The Chico-Sterling City rail line operated until 1974, and the rails were removed in 1979.
The Butte County Railroad Depot was nominated a state Historic Point of Interest in 1981. In 1993, the Pair-O-Dice chapter of E. Clampus Vitus erected a plaque at the Depot. The plaque reads: "In 1902, Diamond Match Co. established the Butte Co. Railroad. The So PAC tracks ran between Chico, Durham, and Stirling City. Regular train service between Chico and Magalia began Nov. 2, 1903. Magalia depot was completed soon thereafter. April 9, 1904 lumber and passengers were being transported to Stirling City. Due to financial setbacks, Diamond Match in 1915 turned the line over to Southern Pacific. Stirling City sawmill closed on Jan. 31, 1958 & the last train ran on Feb. 5, 1958. Train operations were irregular until the Stirling City stud mill reopened in Feb. 1964. Trains ran regularly until May 1974, when the mill closed permanently. The tracks lay abandoned until they were turned up in 1979."
The Butte County Railroad Depot has been restored and features the yellow paint and green trim used for all the railroad depots in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The depots represent a time in California history when railroads were the dominant form of transportation and product delivery until cars and freeways became the main mode of transportation.
The Butte County Railroad Depot is located at 6818 Skyway Road in Magalia.
Highlights of Butte County history include John Bidwell’s establishment of Rancho Chico and Bidwell Bar, and the discovery of Ishi, the last Yahi Indian. This county progressed swiftly from a collection of mining towns into a trendsetter for California agriculture.
Time Period Represented