Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe railway built San Bernardino's first permanent train depot in 1886 to meet the growing number of rail passengers and to house its Los Angeles division administrative and freight offices. This two-and-a-half-story wooden structure and other railway property were completely destroyed by fire on November 16, 1916.
Shortly thereafter, city leaders asked the railway to design and build an impressive new depot that would befit the city image as the "gateway to Southern California." The resulting $800,000 depot, designed by company architect W.A. Mohr, was the largest west of the Mississippi. Upon opening on July 15, 1918, The San Bernardino Daily Sun proclaimed "Santa Fe's station to be the finest in the west" and "a credit to San Bernardino for showing the importance of the Gate City as a transportation center."
Once a bustling passenger and freight rail transportation center with a restaurant, living quarters, and offices, the Santa Fe Depot fell into disrepair for many years. Thanks to a $15.1 million rehabilitation effort shared by SANBAG and the city of San Bernardino, the Santa Fe Depot has been restored to its former beauty.
The Depot is listed in the National Historic Register, as well as the California Register of Historic Places.