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Historic Train Depot in Watts Set For $310,000 Restoration

November 09, 1986

The 82-year-old Watts train station, once a major railroad depot and a stop on the Pacific Electric "Red Car" line, will be restored and used as a small museum and office.

The restoration, expected to begin this month, will be financed through a $100,000 grant from the state Office of Historical Preservation and $210,000 in matching funds from the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, the CRA said.

The restoration is planned in conjunction with the construction of the Long Beach-to-Los Angeles light-rail system. The station won't serve any major railway, but will be adjacent to a parking area and boarding platform for the light-rail line, the CRA said.

The depot, located at 1690 E. 103rd St. in the Watts Redevelopment Project, was designated as a Los Angeles Cultural Monument in 1965 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It is vacant and needs extensive repairs.

"The focus of the (restoration) plan is to restore, not replace," said James Wood, board chairman of the redevelopment agency. "When the station is brought back to life, its historical significance will play an important role in increasing community pride."

The restoration will not affect the design of the single-story, wood-frame building that served as a model for the La Habra, Covina and Glendora stations, the CRA said.

The 2,200-square-foot building is divided into three rooms. After restoration is completed next May, the former passenger waiting room will serve as a small museum, complete with historical data and photographs of the station in its heyday. The other two rooms will be leased as office space.

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