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Steilacoom Train Depot

Status: Most Endangered Places

Year Listed: 2018

Location: Pierce County

Location: Steilacoom, Pierce County

Built of clay tile with stucco and brick veneer, the 1914 Steilacoom Depot was designed by noted local architect, Arthur Potter Merrill. The construction of the railroad connected Steilacoom to Olympia and Portland to the south, and Tacoma and Seattle to the north, making it a travel destination. The depot closed to passenger service in the 1960s, and freight service to the depot ended in 1972. The property was purchased by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad in 1970, after which it was mainly used for storage. In recent years, the building has been unused and unmaintained but remains in relatively good condition.

Due to the addition of a second track along the waterfront and modern regulations, the depot is currently too close to the railroad tracks to be safely utilized. Local advocates would like to see the depot moved approximately 80 feet to the southeast onto a parcel currently owned by the Town of Steilacoom. The Town is supportive of the plan, if the local partners can generate enough funding and support for the move and rehabilitation. The leading voice for the project, the Steilacoom Historical Museum, successfully rehabilitated the Nathaniel Orr House in 2002 and manages several other historic buildings in town.

The relocation of the depot would keep the building within its historic context while giving enough clearance from the railroad tracks to allow for rehabilitation and ultimately public access. Due to its proximity to the waterfront, the adaptive use potential for the depot is high. Local advocates envision the rehabilitation of the depot as the first step toward a larger reclamation and beautification of the Steilacoom waterfront.