Location: 407 4th Ave E

Union Pacific Depot, 1925, courtesy of Washington State Historical Society Union Pacific Depot building today (2013), photo by Deb Ross

The Union Pacific Depot building was built in 1916 when a 7 mile UP spur was brought to downtown Olympia. Although it carried some passengers, its primary cargo was bound for the factories and ports of the newly created port area of Olympia. In 1959 a train was left without its brakes on in Tumwater, and slowly gathered speed, reaching speeds over 60 miles per hour when it crashed into and through the depot and finally came to rest 300 feet to the north. One man was killed and the entire area around the depot was destroyed. The portion of the current building to the north is new, but remnants of the old brick depot remain in the long brick structure to the south.

Additional resources:

Washington State Historical Society photographs (enter the following catalog numbers in Collections Search box), 2009.34.57

Historylink article on train wreck

Olympia Heritage inventory

Video on train wreck, available on Youtube

Copyright © 2022 Deborah Ross