We’re enjoying perfect Easter weather in Santa Rosa, and yesterday afternoon I visited Railroad Square, where the trees are blossoming. I took several photos, including this one of the former Petaluma & Santa Rosa Railroad depot (which is now Chevy’s restaurant).
As you can see, the depot’s name is still visible (although usually unnoticed by passers-by) in the wrought ironwork of the balcony, which is above what was the main entrance of the Spanish-Colonial-style depot when it was built in 1927. Its survival is quite remarkable, given that passenger services on the P&SRRR ceased in 1932. The building’s appearance has recently been improved by new paintwork. The photo below shows the full façade of the building. On the other side of the blocked door is the restaurant’s bar.
Those familiar with Railroad Square may be surprised that I didn’t start with a photo of the more familiar North Western Pacific railroad depot. That building also is currently surrounded by blossoming trees, as shown below:
The reason that I didn’t choose that as my header picture was because, as you can see, it’s impossible to get a composition without its being spoiled by all the cars parked around it!
This railroad depot achieved fame by being featured in the 1943 Alfred Hitchcock movie, Shadow of a Doubt. There’s a well-known photo of the entire cast and crew in front of the depot. Perhaps the building’s more impressive achievement, prior to that, was that, along with most of the other stone buildings in Railroad Square, it survived the 1906 earthquake, which did far more damage per capita in Santa Rosa than it did in San Francisco.
It’s heartening to be able to report that passenger trains are once again stopping at this depot, for the first time since 1958. Yesterday, as I arrived at Railroad Square, a northbound train was paused at the station, as shown below.
The Snoopy statue on the right in the photo above, which stands in front of the former Railroad Express Agency building (now a coffee/ice-cream shop), is painted as a SMART conductor, shown in close-up below.
Immediately beyond the railroad depot stands the La Rose Hotel, which is visible in the photo below, behind the huge monkey puzzle tree.
The Real Significance of Easter
In my Easter-time post of last year, I mentioned that I’m very glad to be free of the macabre, ignorant religious nonsense that afflicted this time of year during my youth, in nominally-Christian Britain.
Instead, I’m now able to enjoy the real significance of Easter, which is the seasonal regrowth of life in Northern climes.
Of course, I’m aware that the festival occurs at this time of year because it originated in cultures of the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it makes no sense at all, a simple fact that seems to have been completely unknown to the supposedly-omniscient gods!