A citizens group has formed to bolster efforts by the nonprofit Pacific Railroad Society to relocate and refurbish the century-old Southern Pacific Depot. The Save Our Depot Coalition was established last week and will work with the city and rail society to find a new location for the depot.
Earlier this year, Southern Pacific railroad said the society could have the decaying depot near the corner of Philadelphia Street and Whittier Boulevard if it found a new site. Four sites are under consideration, but city officials estimate that it will cost at least $2 million to acquire adequate space for the depot and a parking lot. The Los Angeles-based society wants to overhaul the two-story building and turn it into a museum.
Marti Ann Draper, president of the society, said Save Our Depot is made up largely of Whittier residents who plan to lobby the city's Centennial Committee to help finance the depot relocation. The depot is the second oldest building in Whittier, and Draper said "there is strong sentiment that it should be one of the committee's top priorities." Although Whittier incorporated in 1898, the first Quaker settlers arrived in 1887.
The coalition's next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 in the Whittier Community Center.