Anaheim is a train town. It always has been. Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Pacific Electric, Amtrak, and Metrolink have all serviced the city at one point. Disneyland alone has three train-based attractions, soon to be four in 2023. This is not even counting rollercoaster trains, streetcars, or Monorails. More recently came the development of the ARTIC station, a state-of-the-art facility built in anticipation of a trans-California high-speed rail system.
The ARTIC, is perhaps surprisingly not the only train station in Anaheim. Disneyland, is not the oldest train station in Anaheim. There is another train station that is hidden in a residential neighborhood that is of note. The Union Pacific station has not only survived, been repurposed, but is arguably in as great of shape as it ever had been.
The station was originally built in 1923. The building was designed in a Mission Revival style. At this time, the original designer is unknown. The style was very popular in the era, with railroad companies, most famously the Santa Fe Railroad, employing the architectural style on all of their then-new facilities. Union Pacific clearly followed suit with not only the Anaheim station, but also the next stop on the line, Fullerton. It continued a gorgeous trend of Spanish and Mission revival stations in Southern California, from San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot to Los Angeles’ Union Station.
Most of the quintessential features of the Mission Revival style are present. The station features a rectangular building, with a loggia hugging the northern and western side of the building. The stucco arches of the loggia support a simple red tile roof. The primary portion of the building, beyond the loggia, is a simple rectangular shape. Flanking the roof on the north and south ends is an arched parapet, hearkening back to the designs of genuine Spanish missions. A similar parapet frames the main entrance to the building, off of the loggia. Here a station identifier is illuminated by simple wrought-iron down-lights.
Originally, the station sat a few hundred yards north of where it does not. When the expansion of Lincoln Avenue was slated to demolish the building, it was instead saved, and relocated to where it stands now. The train station has been lovingly restored, kept up, and repurposed since then. The building is now a child daycare facility. Luckily, expansions of the buildings, while in a more post-modern style, keep the same rhythm as the original building, and complement its design. The new location of the building, in a park, also features landscaping which highlights the building well. This is yet another example of preservation and adaptive reuse of buildings contributing to overall design goals, and not being just another layer of red tape.
Other features of the train station have been restored, even as it entered its new life as a daycare facility. This includes the original ticket window under the loggia, and the Union Pacific plaster relief on the northern end of the building. It is the little details, after all, that help relay a building’s history to the next generation.