Depot Restoration Wins Award
Depot restoration project manager Dave Stuart and architect John Loomis at this week’s award ceremony in Riverside. Perris was honored for its historical preservation efforts in renovating the historic Depot.
The restoration of the Perris train depot continues earning accolades.
The project, which cost about $1.8 million to complete, was honored this week by the Old Riverside Foundation as an example of a community effort to keep alive Riverside County’s past. The Depot restoration received the foundation’s annual award in the “restoration and craftsmanship” category.
A contingent led by Mayor Daryl Busch, architect John Loomis and project manager Dave Stuart accepted the award on behalf of the City.
Foundation president Dave Leonard and awards chairperson Joanne Pease-Simpson heaped praise on the City for its restoration efforts, which included gutting the interior, replacing large portions of the roof and installing new air conditioning.
Mayor Daryl Busch accepts the award from David Leonard (right) president of the Old Riverside Foundation.
The building, at 120 West Fourth Street, also now includes the Perris Valley Historic Museum, a tribute to the area’s early days and the pioneer families who settled the City. PBS host Huell Howser paid a visit to Perris when the Depot and historic museum opened to the public in January. Howser’s report will be aired on the KCET-TV program, “California’s Gold,” at 7 p.m. on April 6 and April 28
“If we destroy the past, we destroy a part of what made us unique in the first place,” Pease- Simpson said in remarks to about 80 people who attended Sunday’s ceremony. “You all did such a fine job on this wonderful old structure.”
Leonard said simply: “Preservation is alive and well in Riverside County.”
Busch said the award acknowledges what Perris residents and officials have known for a long time: the City offers one-of-a-kind attractions.
City Councilwoman Joanne Evans in front of the newly restored Depot when it opened to the public in January.
“We know that we are a special place,” Busch said. “It’s nice to realize that other people recognize we are special too. It’s nice to get that word out.”
Loomis, who is based in Manhattan Beach, said he has worked on a lot of railroad depots over the years. None, he said, possesses the charm that Perris’ does. The Depot, built in 1892 and possessing a cupola in its tower, is an icon of Victorian-era construction. Originally built for the California Southern Railroad, the Depot building fell into disrepair until the City and the Orange Empire Railway Museum stepped up to renovate it.
“It’s a storybook kind of depot,” Loomis said. “It’s what everyone’s image of a depot should be.”
Loomis said the City took great care in restoring its Depot. That, he said, shows Perris officials and staff members have great reverence for the past, even while looking ahead to the future.
“This is a city that respects its past,” Loomis said. “It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever been involved with.
This is one of the cornerstones of the Downtown area. The restoration project shows that Perris is looking to the future while looking to save the best of its past. The City did a great job.”