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[graphic] Ashland Depot Hotel, South Wing
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[photograph] The Ashland Depot Hotel, South Wing, is all that remains in Ashland of the original Southern Pacific Railroad's presence
Photograph by Terry Skibby

The South Wing of the Ashland Depot Hotel is all that remains of the original Southern Pacific Railroad's presence in the city. While Ashland's 20th-century revival can be attributed to the cultural renaissance brought by the highways that signaled the end of the railroad, the importance of the railroad in Ashland's history cannot be overemphasized. Ashland's late 19th-century prosperity depended upon its rail connections. The driving of the golden spike in 1887 in Ashland was responsible for the success of the local orchard and livestock industries, as well as milling and manufacturing. It also provided the impetus for a major event in Ashland's long involvement with formalized arts and cultural events when in 1892 a proposal was made to bring traveling lectures of the Chautauqua program to Ashland. Ashland's train access and established hotels and restaurants provided the city with a major advantage over its competitors in securing the series.

[rotating photographs] Historic photo of Ashland Depot Hotel, South Wing, date unknown, and young fruit vendors c.1910
Courtesy of The Terry Skibby Collection and National Register collection

The south wing (originally the hotel's kitchen) was constructed as part of the entire Ashland Depot Hotel in October 1888. It is the sole 19th-century wood frame railroad building standing in Jackson County and perhaps the oldest surviving railroad building still standing in southern Oregon. A single story wood-frame building, the Ashland Depot's Queen Anne and vernacular Stick style decorative elements are similar to many of the stations that Southern Pacific built during the rapid expansion of the late 19th century. The days of Ashland's rail boom were numbered from the start because of the costs involved in the steep grade of the Siskiyou summit; this led to the railroad's decision to divert the main Shasta Route line through Klamath Falls in 1927. When the passenger hotel was torn down, elements were used to remodel the South Wing; so it still retains material from the 19th-century Chautauqua era.

The Ashland Depot Hotel, South Wing is located at 624 A St. and currently houses a computer software firm open to the public during normal business hours.

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