Jan 22

The Oceano Southern Pacific Depot restoration and Harold Guiton

Harold Guiton would be happy to see the depot in use today. He and other volunteers saved what is now the only remaining Southern Pacific Depot in the county. Paso Robles modernized and remodeled their depot after a fire so it is little like the original structure. San Luis Obispo bulldozed their wood frame depot.
The Oceano depot was moved off of railroad land to the museum location it occupies today and the building hosts events like the upcoming model railroad display.
This just arrived from Curtis Reinhardt, Publicist San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association:

Harold Guiton stands in front of the Southern Pacific, Oceano Depot, ready to continue with the restoration.
©Doug Parker/The Tribune

The San Luis Obispo Model Railroad Association (SLOMRA) and the Oceano Depot Association will be co-hosting their 6th Annual “Model Railroad Days” on Saturday and Sunday, January 26th & 27th. This popular free community event will run from 10:00am until 4:00pm daily at the historic Oceano Depot.

This story is from August 1, 1984 by Sherman Turntine:

Next stop, Oceano
Oceano’s 80-year old railroad depot is getting a facelift, courtesy of the Oceano Improvement Association.
Harold Guiton, former president of the association and now on the board of directors, is supervising the depot committee that was formed to organize the project.
Guiton said the committee plans to repair the building and turn it into a community hall and museum.
“Right now we’re working on the exterior and hope to have that done by this year,” he said.
The depot was build in 1896, when the Southern Pacific’s track was first extended from San Luis Obispo. On March 31, 1901 the Southern Pacific line was completed from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
In 1903 the station burned down. It was replaced the following year by George Fornum who brought another building from Oceano from San Francisco.
During this time it was used as a focal point for the Arroyo Grande Valley and was an important depot at the turn of the century; said Guiton who’s lived in Oceano most of his life.
The railroad agency at Oceano was discontinued Aug. 8, 1973. But it has been nearly 45 years since the last train family lived there, Guiton said.
Community contributions have been good but even more workers are needed, he said. “Volunteers are our primary work force.”
In June, county supervisors turned down a request for $20,000 in federal revenue sharing money to help with the restoration and to buy more land.
“But overall I’m very pleased with the turnout for the restoration project,” said Guiton.
Although, the progress has been slow, he expects the depot to be ready for visitors this time next year.

Harold Guiton died in Feb. 2001 at the age of 71.
One of his daughters, Linda Austin, is a Oceano history author and is also active with the Oceano Depot Association.

Related posts:

  1. Southern Pacific Railroad Depot Destroyed
  2. Oceano, Atlantic City of the West, Gateway to the Dunes
  3. Reflections on Southern Pacific Engine 4449, star of the Pacific Daylight route
  4. Save a life with a knife, New Southern Pacific station, World War II week by week
  5. Begging for the Southern Pacific railroad