Canby Historical Society Seeks Landmark Status for Railroad Depot

The Canby Historical Society is hoping to have the more-than-a-century-old Railroad Depot Museum added to the Canby Register of Historic Landmarks and recently submitted an application to that effect.

According to CHS Vice President Ken Daniels, the designation will help preserve the site, which also serves as the group’s headquarters and a museum honoring the community’s history, and will be “a plus when we apply for grants.”

When a windstorm toppled Canby’s Oregon & California Railroad station in 1891, Southern Pacific built its replacement using one of their standard designs for small community depots.

It served the town until SP closed it in 1976. The then-85-year-old structure had been decommissioned and was on the verge of being torn down.

Fortunately, starting in 1978, a grassroots movement had started in Canby to have the depot designated a historic structure and turned into a museum.

“Community activists interested in saving a site that had been central to the development of their city worked together to preserve the building, relocate it, and convert it into a museum,” said CHS member Carol Palmer, who researched and wrote the landmark application.

The movement included members of the Canby Area Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations, with assistance and support from the Canby City Council and Clackamas County.

A portion of the warehouse had to be removed to fit the structure to its new site. It was moved in 1983 and, after repairs were made and the interior was remodeled, the museum opened to the public in 1984.

As part of the historic landmark designation requirements, the CHS will host a neighborhood meeting to gather information from interested residents. The meeting will be held at the Depot at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 1.

“A meeting notice was sent to all of the residents and property owners within 500 feet of the Depot,” said CHS President Nora Clark. “However, anyone interested in contributing to the discussion is welcome to attend.”

The city will hold a series of public hearings to consider the application, the first of which will be hosted by the Heritage and Landmark Commission during its December 5 meeting.

If the HLC approves the application, it will go to the Planning Commission for approval of a historic zoning overlay and then to the City Council for final approval.

If you would like more information about the neighborhood meeting, you can contact the CHS at or call 503-266-6712.

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