Built in the 1920s, this Mojave Northern Rail Road (MNRR) steam engine originally served as a concrete hauling engine in Victorville, CA. It was taken out of service in the 1950s and acquired by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum and placed in its current location in La Mesa, CA, in the 1960s. Thanks to museum board member Larry Rose for the impromptu walking tour of the La Mesa Depot Museum during our visit last week!
One outing that T always enjoys while in San Diego visiting with Grandma Beep is the “train that doesn’t move” out in La Mesa, CA, otherwise known as the La Mesa Depot Museum. This small indoor-outdoor museum is a block-long park, which is set up like an old train station with an old outbuilding that serves as the indoor museum portion and an old steam engine followed by an old boxcar and caboose parked along tracks next to the museum. While the indoor museum is only open Saturdays, the outside train park is accessible for viewing and climbing daily. The La Mesa Depot Museum is maintained by the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association, a non-profit educational group dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of railroads as they existed in the Pacific Southwest.
La Mesa Historical Landmark number six!
Per museum board member Larry Rose, the current La Mesa Depot Building first was an old chicken coop, and then later did time as a piece of scenery in an old western display in nearby Lakeside, CA. The Museum eventually acquired the building for its own use at an estate sale for just $1.
We visited on a Thursday, so we didn’t get to go inside this visit, but T’s been there before several times. And on this visit we got to meet lifetime member number two of the museum, Larry Rose, who happened by during our brief visit. Just from our brief conversations with Mr. Rose, we learned a lot about the train and the building and the stories behind their acquisitions. In fact, we’re thinking of joining the museum because of the interesting history behind just this one engine – along with having advance access to the Polar Express ticket sales each season!
The La Mesa Depot Museum runs North-South between Nebo and Spring Streets and is South of La Mesa Blvd. in La Mesa, CA, or conveniently located off the La Mesa Blvd. Trolley stop.
As the sign says, the museum building is open Saturday afternoons only. However the outside train portion is always open.
Next time you’re driving down Spring Street in La Mesa, or buzzing by on the San Diego Trolley, hop off for a ride at he La Mesa Train Depot. Stowaways are always welcome as admission is free. Enjoy your trip!
And here are a few extra photos of T’s trip his last time out…
T enjoying the rocks as well as the train out at the La Mesa Depot Museum.
T watches from the MNRR engine as the San Diego Trolley whizzes by the La Mesa Depot Museum.
T discovers that some of the levers still work parts of the MNRR engine parked out at the La Mesa Depot Museum.
T climbs aboard the front of the MNRR engine out at the La Mesa Depot Museum.
T discovered on this outing that this little door opens up on the MNRR engine out at the La Mesa Depot Museum. I think it might be a part of the firebox where the coal would have gone to fire the engine up, but don't quote me on that one (I should have asked lifetime member of the museum Larry Rose when we ran into him that afternoon!).
T looking down the line from the MNRR engine out at the La Mesa Depot Museum.
So long for now, La Mesa Depot Museum!