Passenger demand and a rising local population inspired the Union Pacific Railroad, in 1938, to rebuild an existing station to compete with the nearby Northern Pacific Railroad Depot. This new brick depot replaced an older nineteenth century wooden structure, built originally for the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company, and was in keeping with a variety of brick edifices that had risen both in downtown Pullman and at Washington State College earlier in the twentieth century. Now out of service as a depot, the Union Pacific logo still graces the north facade of the renovated structure. Original wooden beams are still clearly visible inside.
The Union Pacific Railroad arrived in Pullman
in 1887, leasing the line completed by the Oregon Railway and Navigation
Company in 1885. For many years, a small wood-frame depot served passengers
arriving by this railroad; it was torn down soon after the new building
replaced it. The former structure featured a gable roof with broad overhanging
eaves. Large brackets and decorative bargeboards decorated the building’s exterior.1 Tall, narrow windows and a
corbelled brick chimney further defined the building. The building was torn
down soon after the new building was opened.2
new building, constructed between 1938 and 1939, reflects the trends of its
time. In the Minimal Traditional style, it features stripped down elements of
the Tudor Revival style, such as half-timbering in the gable ends and a
crenellated parapet wall. The Tudor Revival elements continue on the interior
with large decorative beams.
building was donated to Washington State University, which renamed the building
“Cougar Depot” when it opened on July 13, 1988.3 As Cougar Depot, the
building served as the university’s athletic ticket office, visitor center, and
corporate meeting facility. WSU replaced Cougar Depot with the Brelsford
Visitor Center in 2014 and sold the building to Umpqua Bank.