Mission Revival Meets Train Station


California doesn’t just boast warm climes, it offers warm architecture to match. The Mission Revival train station in Davis has everything you’d hope for in a Californian building: warm stucco walls, arcades along three sides, and accompanying palm trees.

But why Mission Revival? At the end of the nineteenth century, California architects began to look locally for inspiration rather than abroad or to the East Coast. The Spanish Colonial mission heritage of the Southwest was revived in the Mission Revival style, which mimicked the historic missions in the use of stucco walls, towers, and deep window and door openings. The Santa Fe Railway took on the Mission Revival style for their railway buildings and hotels, and the Southern Pacific followed suit. It was the Southern Pacific Architectural Bureau that designed the Davis train station and accompanying control tower in 1913.

Today the Davis station is still on an important route, sitting between San Francisco and Sacramento. It is a welcome sight coming out of the snowy Sierras to see the warm stucco building framed by palm trees, and its location in Davis’s walkable downtown is small town perfection.








Sources and Further Reading:

Interested in train stations? I previously wrote about the Reno train station here. I’ve also written about Pullman, a rail company town, here, here, and here (what can I say? I love Pullman!).

The Davis train station on The Great American Stations.

There is a nice summary (with examples) of the Mission Revival style on the National Park Service website for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Visiting Davis? I recommend this compilation of historic buildings in the downtown area.

Check out the Davis station on Amtrak’s route map.




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