Old train Station in Nevada

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada
Date added: March 16, 2023 Categories: Nevada Train Station
North and west elevations (1984)

The depot is among the last surviving railroad stations associated with the Hazen to Mina branch of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Of the seven stations constructed to serve the line in the early twentieth century, only the Wabuska and Mina Freight stations survive.

During the early 1900s, the Wabuska region served as the principal supplier of agricultural products for the mining camps of Tonopah and Goldfield. Wabuska also served as the transfer point for the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad, a major carrier of copper ore that operated between 1910 and 1947.

The Southern Pacific Railroad Station was the second depot constructed in Wabuska. The first facility was built by the Carson and Colorado Railroad Company; a narrow gauge railroad that operated between Mound House, Nevada and Keeler, California. A modest board and batten Carson and Colorado Station was erected four months after service was established through Wabuska in February 1881. Although settlement in the Wabuska area can be traced to 1874, development was sporadic until the Carson and Colorado Railroad provided easy access to the region.

Wabuska was an agricultural community until the turn of the century. Initial development was confined to the depot and a hotel complex incorporating a hotel, general store, post office, saloon, and Wells, Fargo and Co express office.

In 1900 the Southern Pacific Railroad purchased the Carson and Colorado Railroad Company. Increased freight traffic between Wabuska and neighboring mining camps coupled with the discovery of copper ore in the Mason Valley prompted The Southern Pacific Railroad to improve their Wabuska facilities in early 1900. On August 2, 1906, a crew of eight Southern Pacific carpenters began work on a new Wabuska station. The "Lyon County Times" documented the progress of the depot, noting on August 18th that the structure was "of modern design" and nearly complete by September 8th. The new depot was in use by October 6th of 1906.

The Carson and Colorado station was dismantled shortly after the Southern Pacific depot was put in service. The C&C depot was subsequently moved to Churchill, Nevada, where it was reconstructed. The C&C station has not survived.

The Southern Pacific continued to ship agricultural products to the neighboring mining camps through Wabuska during the first years of depot operation. Shipments of agricultural products were supplemented by copper ore by 1910.

In that year the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad was operating between Wabuska and the mining camp of Ludwig. The Nevada Copper Belt linked the Nevada Douglas, Mason Valley and Bluestone mines with the Southern Pacific Railroad until 1947. Declining freight and passenger traffic forced the Wabuska station to close on September 1st, 1979.

Building Description

The Wabuska Railroad Station was erected in 1906 by the Southern Pacific Railroad as a freight and passenger facility serving the Mason Valley region of Lyon County, Nevada. The single-story, wood-frame depot was constructed by company carpenters and remained in active service until 1979. The intact station is representative of early twentieth-century Nevada depot architecture, few examples of which survive in the state today.

In 1982 the Southern Pacific Transportation Company donated the vacant depot to the Nevada State Museum with the understanding that the station would become part of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Museum in Carson City. The alternative to moving the depot to Carson City was the demolition of the building. On July 22nd, 1983, the station was moved to the museum site where it is undergoing restoration for use as an interpretative center which will house the museum's collection of period railroad furnishings.

The Wabuska Railroad Station was originally located in the SE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Section 21, Township 15N, Range, 25E, M.D.B.&M., east of US 95 Alternate. The structure was sited south and parallel to the Southern Pacific branch line which ran between Hazen and Mina. The twenty-four by eighty-foot building was oriented to the north amid a sagebrush-covered plain in the northern portion of Mason Valley. The Wabuska Hotel and Bar (c. 1883) was located to the west of the station. A small, plastic manufacturing complex was situated across the tracks to the northeast. This industrial complex was composed of a contemporary metal building constructed c. 1980. Structures in the vicinity of the station included several shacks, a mobile home and the remnants of buildings associated with the modest farming and transportation center of Wabuska.

The Wabuska Railroad Station was moved to the Virginia & Truckee Railroad Museum in Carson City, Nevada, in July of 1983. The museum site encompasses eighteen acres located at the southern end of Carson City and is bounded by South Carson Street/US 395 and South Curry Street. The Wabuska station, which is visible from the highway, is oriented to the north and adjoins the Museum's proposed track bed. The topography and vegetation of the museum site are similar to those of the depot's original site. Other facilities found at the museum are a railroad restoration shop/museum building, a storage yard and a turntable. These facilities are located southwest of the depot and do not affect the immediate depot site.

The Station is a one-story, wood-frame building supported by a series of twenty-six inch wood piers. The twenty-four by eighty-foot depot terminates in a gable roof sheathed in wood shingles. The roof design includes extended eaves that project approximately four feet from the structure's exterior wall planes. The resulting overhang is supported by brackets located at eight-foot intervals. The depot's roof employs a common rafter system incorporating collar ties, purlins, and vertical braces. The structure's roof was originally punctuated by a brick stove chimney. This element was later replaced by a metal stove pipe vent.

Exterior walls combine four-foot, vertical tongue and groove wainscotting with five-inch, rustic channel siding. The east elevation includes a three by ten foot bay window which originally housed the station ticket office. The east elevation bay is defined by double-hung windows similar to those found on the body of the building.

Wooden, four-panel, sliding freight doors are located on the south, east, and west building elevations and provide access to the depot's freight room. Above these doors are found eight-light transoms. Door units are enframed by simple board surrounds. East and west passenger and freight entrances originally included poured concrete platforms. These slabs were not moved to the Carson City site; however, similar platforms will be reproduced during the restoration.

Eight-foot station signs, reading "Wabuska" were originally fixed to the building's gable ends. These signs included the distance to San Francisco and Keeler, California; stations located along the Southern Pacific line. These original station signs were later replaced by smaller fixtures, one of which survives in the museum's collection.

The interior of the depot is divided into three major service areas by twelve-foot interior partitions. These areas were designed to accommodate freight, the depot ticket office, and passenger facilities. The southern half of the building is occupied by the freight section which adjoins the freight agent's office. The northern end of the structure includes the passenger waiting room, restrooms and storage areas.

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada North and west elevations (1984)
North and west elevations (1984)

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada North and east elevations (1984)
North and east elevations (1984)

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada South and east elevations (1984)
South and east elevations (1984)

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada South and west elevations (1984)
South and west elevations (1984)

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada Long shot from the West (1984)
Long shot from the West (1984)

Wabuska Railroad Station, Carson City Nevada Long shot from the north west (1984)
Long shot from the north west (1984)