Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Santa Rosa, California - Train Depot Film Locations

Santa Rosa Visitors Center inside the old Train Depot.

With as much of a hassle it has become to travel anywhere these days, with long lines, tough security, and fewer and fewer amenities, I always enjoy watching classic movies and seeing how simple travel used to be, particularly train travel. This is just my romantic notion of train travel. I'm sure in reality I would probably be frustrated for different reasons - no smart phone and taking days to get to my destination - but, nevertheless, I fancy the idea of sitting in a train car, lazily watching the scenery pass by as I'm rocked into a nap. Continuing with highlights from my Fourth of July weekend Northern California trip, this post features our visit to the historic Santa Rosa Train Depot which has been featured in a few films.

The Santa Rosa Train Depot is located in the city's Railroad Square Historic District or the community's "Old Town." In the early 1900s, this depot served travelers going between San Francisco and Eureka, but with the development of highways and rising car ownership fewer people took the train. Today the train depot is used as the city's visitors center.

My main reason for going to the train depot was to walk in the steps of Joseph Cotten, Don Ameche and Steve Martin. The depot appears in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). It's where Teresa Wright's character and her family meet Joseph Cotten when he arrives in Santa Rosa by train. It is also where Don Ameche and Richard Crane see Frances Dee off in the film Happy Land (1943). And it is at this train depot that Steve Martin and one of his sons in Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) are reunited with the rest of the family after the son ran away.

Below are some screenshots from these films and some snapshots I took comparing how the train depot appears today.

Click images to see larger.

The Train Depot as seen in Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

The same view of the train depot as it appears today.

Santa Rosa Train Depot as seen in the film Happy Land (1943)

Santa Rosa Train Depot

Steve Martin walks along the train depot in Cheaper by the Dozen (2003).

Santa Rosa Train Depot

Teresa Wright runs past the depot in Shadow of a Doubt.

Santa Rosa Train Depot

Don Ameche, Frances Dee, Richard Crane at the depot in Happy Land.

The same building in the background is still standing.

Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen.

Santa Rosa Convention and Visitors Bureau.

If you plan to visit Santa Rosa the train depot is a great starting point. Inside are a few Santa Rosa themed souvenirs and literature on things to see not only in Santa Rosa but the surrounding area as well. For someone traveling with a baby it was also great to have a place with a clean bathroom, a changing table and bottled water for sale. There is a metered parking lot out front and if you park here it is easy to walk to all the historic downtown locations.

To read more about our NoCal trip check out:


Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

This was fun. Thanks for the tour.

Raquel Stecher said...

great post! I love that you took pictures of the station from different angles.

RJD said...

Very enjoyable!


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