The Lankershim Depot in North Hollywood is an important part of L.A.’s transportation history. It is one of the San Fernando Valley's few nineteenth-century landmarks, and it is the Valley’s oldest unmodified railroad structure.
At the time of its construction around 1896, the growing and shipping of fruit was one of the area’s chief industries. The railroad tracks and stations, including this one, were built to connect the region’s agricultural industry to the ports.
The building is a one-story wooden structure that originally contained an office and a waiting area. The building was prefabricated in sections and arrived on railroad cars for installation around 1895, as was a standard practice at the time.
In 1911, the Pacific Electric Red Car line opened at this station and stayed in operation until 1952. The building later served for years as a Hendrick’s Building Supply store.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) purchased the site in 1993 and used the area until 1998 for access during construction of the Red Line subway. For years, the building sat vacant while Metro and the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) struggled to agree on its future.
After years of stalled plans, the project finally began to move forward in 2011, continuing in phases. Work included the removal of hazardous materials including lead paint and the disintegrating asbestos roofing. The roof needed to be stabilized, and a seismic upgrade added new footings, shear walls, and moment frames integrated into the structure.
Thorough research allowed the project team to restore the building to how it appeared when it served as a Pacific Electric station. They matched paint colors to the original color scheme. They rebuilt a missing brick chimney, as well as the rooftop sign and gable signs on each end of the building. The team repaired original windows when possible and replaced missing windows and doors.
The historic depot reopened as a coffee shop in early 2017 after being closed for over thirty years. Located at the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler Boulevards, next to the present day North Hollywood Metro station, it serves the local neighborhood and thousands of daily commuters on the Red Line subway or Orange Line busway. The landmark once again serves L.A.’s transportation system and offers a vibrant gathering space for residents. This project earned a Conservancy Preservation Award in 2018.