STOCKTON — After hearing that even a strong gust of wind could cause Stockton’s century-old Western Pacific Railroad depot to collapse, officials agreed Friday to demolish what’s left of the building while attempting to salvage some of its historic features.
The unanimous vote by the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission came after two large fires within the past 18 months charred major portions of the depot on East Main Street.
“I think it’s obvious from the presentation that the building is in bad shape and does represent a threat,” Commissioner Leo Zuber said before the vote.
Several downtown preservationists urged the commission to preserve a portion of the building, or at least save items like the ornamental mantle that adorned the massive fireplace.
Kandie Wolfe has a personal connection to that fireplace and to the entire building. She was married there in 1988.
Wolfe learned Thursday night from a report on television that officials might demolish the depot. She got up early Friday and drove more than an hour from her home in Mather so she could attend an 8 a.m. meeting and share her thoughts with commissioners.
Wolfe brought a handful of photos from her wedding, including the very moment when the couple exchanged vows before the fireplace, whose colorful mantle was inscribed “1909,” the year the depot was built.
Fittingly, a train rumbled by just before the couple said “I do,” Wolfe recalled Friday.
She believes she is the only person to ever have been married there. Her father, Dennis Mathes, helped restore the building when it was owned by the Stockton Police Activities League…
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