Old train posters between Santa Fe Depot and MCASD.

Old poster highlights points of interest reached by past San Diego streetcar and railroad lines. Depicted are orange groves, Mexican bullfighting, an ocean liner and Balboa Park.
Old poster highlights points of interest reached by past San Diego streetcar and railroad lines. Depicted are orange groves, Mexican bullfighting, an ocean liner and Balboa Park.

When I catch the trolley at downtown San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot, I often walk through an outdoor passageway that separates the hundred year old train station’s enormous waiting room from it’s original baggage terminal. The latter building was converted years ago into an interesting space used by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD).

Recently, while strolling through the passageway, I paused to examine three eye-catching graphics created by the museum to promote one of its current exhibitions. Two of the images incorporate old train posters from San Diego history, which I find to be very cool.  I thought you might enjoy a look!

MCASD’s exhibition titled “John D. Spreckels and The Impossible Railroad” concerns a railway project undertaken a century ago by one of San Diego’s most prominent entrepreneurs and benefactors.  Perhaps Spreckels’ greatest accomplishment was to complete the logistically difficult San Diego & Arizona Railroad, our nation’s southernmost transcontinental railroad route.  I haven’t visited the exhibition, but according to what I’ve read it utilizes interesting visual devices to demonstrate the near impossibility of building Spreckels’ railroad, which had to wind around and over deep mountain gorges.  (Spreckels was also responsible for a large network of electric streetcars which traversed San Diego decades before our modern day trolleys.)

Outdoor passage between the Santa Fe Depot and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) downtown Jacobs Building, which used to be the historic train station's baggage terminal.
Outdoor passage between the Santa Fe Depot and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s downtown Jacobs Building, which years ago was the train station’s baggage terminal.
John D. Spreckels and the Impossible Railroad is one of the current art exhibitions at MCASD.
John D. Spreckels and the Impossible Railroad is one of the current art exhibitions at MCASD.  These interesting promotional graphics also incorporate historical newspaper articles.
Old advertisement for the San Diego and Arizona Railway, the Carriso Gorge Route, which included possible destinations Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City, El Paso, San Diego.
Old advertisement for the San Diego and Arizona Railway, called the Carriso Gorge Route, which included possible destinations Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City, El Paso, San Diego.

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Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

4 thoughts on “Old train posters between Santa Fe Depot and MCASD.”

    1. Spreckels’ railroad project was thought to be an impossible undertaking, because of the mountainous terrain east of San Diego. A really huge and spectacular trestle was completed to traverse Carrizo Gorge, which is in today’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

      Liked by 1 person

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