The Shafter Depot Museum is a 1917 Santa Fe passenger rail depot that now serves as a museum. It was opened for use in October 11, 1917, and served as Shafter's gateway to the world, transporting mail, Western Union telegrams, and express, freight, and rail passengers. The building was donated by the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway Co. to the Shafter Historical Society in 1980. It was moved to its current site (four blocks northwest of its original site) and dedicated as a museum on October 9, 1982.


  • The Shafter Depot Museum and Gift Shop
    The Shafter Depot Museum and Gift Shop
  • Entering the Shafter Depot Museum
    Entering the Shafter Depot Museum
  • The 2010 California Center of Population Marker is located on the grounds of the depot
    The 2010 California Center of Population Marker is located on the grounds of the depot
  • A brief history of the Shafter Depot
    A brief history of the Shafter Depot
  • Informational plaque on the 2010 California Center of Population designation
    Informational plaque on the 2010 California Center of Population designation

In the late 1800s, the farmers flocked to the southern San Joaquin Valley to plant cotton and potato crops. The Shafter Railroad Depot opened on October 11, 1917, to provide rail transportation and shipping for Shafter's growing population and business needs. The Depot was used by farmers, travelers, and the local community from 1917-1978. In the twenty-first century, potatoes and cotton continue to be the main staples of the Shafter community. In addition to potatoes and cotton, almonds and grapes are grown on the local farms of the Shafter community today. 

The Shafter Depot Museum was created to preserve local history and to share the importance of the preservation with others. More importantly, the Depot serves as a depository for historical artifacts that tell the history of the Shafter community. The artifacts are carefully preserved and placed on display throughout the property. There are many interesting features to this community museum, including indoor and outdoor exhibits that bring Shafter's history to life. Some exhibits are featured in a number Santa Fe rail cars kept on the property. The Shafter Depot Museum is a nonprofit organisation that is well served by the Shafter Historical Society. Admission is free, and there is a gift shop where one may purchase souvenirs or obtain information about local activities and upcoming events.

Shafter Depot Museum is run by enthusiastic volunteers who seek not only to preserve and present Shafter's history, but to bring the community together as well. The museum hosts several events during the year. For example, there is an annual Fall Un-Barbecue and Christmas display at the Depot. The Historical Society also puts out a newsletter to keep the community up-to-date on events at the museum and how the community can get involved.