Streamline Moderne Mystery: Nyssa Train Depot

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Photo by Josam Waed

The Nyssa Train Depot is one of those lost gems that are well known among roadside photographers and bikers. It stands between the railroad tracks at the Eastern edge of downtown Nyssa, a small agricultural town on the Idaho-Oregon border. On google maps one might mistake the curved prow for that of a parked streamline train. I came to know of its existence through the DoCoMoMo Oregon website. Streamline represents the bridge between Art Deco and that of Midcentury Modern. Indeed, according to Nyssa’s application for the National Historic Register the depot was constructed in the late 1930’s. And according to DoCoMoMo, the date of construction was 1938. This places it near the end of the Art Deco period. Characteristic of the streamline style, it has long horizontal lines and dramatic curved walls on both sides and the front facade.

The reason this building is a mystery is that there is essentially no information available about it online. According to comments on photos posted to Facebook left by Nyssa natives, the depot was in use by Union Pacific at least until the 60’s. And people have been there recently claim the building is now being used for storage. This is the best information I have been able to find. Nothing about the architect, the interior, or the past/present owners. The only document that mentions it references an older Depot that was moved to make way for the new one.

This beautiful example of Art Deco sits unused in the high deserts of Oregon/Idaho. Any information about it is welcomed. I have found references that point to the Union Pacific Historical Society’s publication The Streamliner Vol. 24 No. 4. According to their online index, this issue has images inside the depot as well as artists sketches. I bought the issue, and hope to post more photos soon.

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Otherwise I recommend checking out this gallery for some great photos taken all around Nyssa.

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