1986 Fallbrook Train Depot


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SKU: 1986 Category:


“Sante Fe Depot, Fallbrook, California”
1932 Packard Eight Deluxe Touring
Fallbrook , California


This painting, which was created to be the poster for the 1986 21st Annual Fallbrook Vintage Car Show, features a 1932 Packard Eight Deluxe Touring. Other vehicles in the painting include a 1929 Ford Closed Cab Pick-Up and a 1920 White Flat Bed Stake Truck. All three of the vehicles were painted from cars that were restored and are owned by people in the Fallbrook area.

The Packard Eight Deluxe Touring was a mid-level Packard, flanked by the Light Eight at the lower price ranges and the Twin Six or V-12 at the higher price ranges. The Eight Deluxe had most of the features of the V-12, except it had an 8-cylinder engine.

This particular car features the most famous hood ornament that Packard used, called the Packard Deluxe Emblem [nicknamed the “Flying Lady”]. It represents the trinity of perfect motion – speed, grace, and power.

The cars are shown around the Santa Fe Railroad Depot in Fallbrook, which was located until recently on Alvarado Street. The two palm trees shown in the painting still exist, but of course are quite a bit taller than portrayed in the painting, which is supposed to represent, with artistic license, the 1930’s era.

All agriculture, business, and travel were so dependent on the railroad in the closing years of the last century that the coming of transportation to Fallbrook was a major event. However, the railroad was beset with troubles almost from the first run.

The California Southern Railroad was an independent line – one of many started near the end of the 1800’s.  As part of a line between San Bernardino and San Diego, the railroad was built along the steep banks of Temecula Canyon, following the Santa Margarita River, to within two miles of Fallbrook. Eastern engineers, unfamiliar with California weather, set the grade stakes in Temecula Canyon just a few feet above the river bed, in spite of repeated warnings by locals.

The first natural disaster was a washout of eight miles of track between Temecula and DeLuz in 1885. The repairs cost $4,500,000.00 and took ten months to complete.

In 1885, the Santa Fe Railroad purchased the California Southern, probably saving the future of Fallbrook. The rebuilt track survived until 1891, when a series of heavy winter storms sent the river racing through the valley and removed several miles of track. After that a new “Surf Line” was built between Oceanside and Santa Ana, and the old line to Temecula was never rebuilt.

The next big flood in 1916 poured torrents through Temecula Canyon that cut the river bed down about 20 feet. Most of the Santa Fe property was washed away. Once more the branch line was rebuilt, but this time in a new location and with heavier rails.

In the 1960’s an effort was made to have the old Fallbrook Railroad Station preserved, perhaps as a community center, but the railroad decided to remove the station, and later removed the tracks that crossed Main Street and Mission Road. Recently the land was sold.

  • Source — Fallbrook Historical Society