Medford’s first train depot was moved to Talent in 1900 and survived until 1935. It was replaced with a replica in 2003.

Down by the station: the shifting depot

Once upon a time, there was a little railroad depot that stood right in the middle of the street.

"It blocks our view," the people said. "It isn't fair. It isn't right. If this keeps up, we'll have to fight."

"Now, now," said the friendly railroad man. "Don't be angry. Don't be mad. When you complain, it makes me sad.

"In '84 when it was new, you loved the depot, and loved me, too."

The people shook their heads and sighed, such an insult to their pride.

"Your long, long trains, they block our street, a brand-new depot would be a treat."

Southern Pacific Railroad officials agreed. Finally, in 1900, Medford got its new depot, and Main Street was open to traffic from end to end.

"It will be a treat to be able to look the full length of Main Street," said Albert Bliton, owner of the Medford Mail newspaper. "Think of standing on the Bear Creek Bridge and gazing upon our magnificent school building, 10 blocks away." (Washington School once stood where the County Courthouse now stands.)

They jacked up the little railroad depot, put it on three railroad flatcars, and without shedding a tear sent it off to Talent.

"The improvement which its removal makes in the appearance of our principal street is decidedly noticeable," said Bliton.

It had taken only four months to build the new depot just south of Main Street between the railroad tracks and Front Street. One hundred seventy feet long and 26 feet wide, with a large waiting room, office and the largest freight room Medford had ever seen, surely this was "the very best depot on the line."

Less than nine years later, there was trouble. Freight business had grown to such an extent that the wood floor in the freight room of the station was wearing out and had to be replaced. There were so many trains backed up to load and unload freight that the Main Street crossing — and every other east-west crossing between Third and 10th streets — was once again blocked, sometimes for hours.

"There is a need for at least a freight depot separate and apart from the passenger depot," Bliton said. If only "the Southern Pacific will give us but one crossing in eight blocks."

"I've got the money," said the railroad man. "They'll send it from 'Frisco, I'll have it in hand."

Not only would a new brick depot be built two blocks north in 1910, the ugly shacks and stinky stockyards would be moved farther south. The railroad would give the new depot and surrounding property to the city and ask the ladies of the Greater Medford club to plant flowers and trees on the grounds.

A separate freight depot, four times larger, was also built, two blocks south of the old one between Eighth and 10th streets. The second depot was cut in half, jacked up and moved south, where it was attached to the new freight depot.

The people they were happy, big smiles on their faces.

Isn't this town of Medford, the most wonderful of places?

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at

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