By Julie Thunder
Updated 8-21-18: SANDAG, NCTD, and the Harbaugh Foundation have approved diverting the Rail Trail around the area where the slab pieces were found. The Harbaugh designers are updating the new shade structure to reflect the old train station boarding platform. They are also planning some historical materials to enhance the area and memorialize the train station.
Last month, construction crews working on the Cardiff Rail Trail near Chesterfield Drive were digging and found what looked like an old concrete slab buried a few feet below the surface. They broke it up into pieces and set them aside without notifying any of the local agencies involved in the project.
Weeks later, Rich Risner, the landscape architect redesigning Cardiff’s Harbaugh Seaside Parkway (formerly known as Carpentier Parkway) was walking the project with his friend and fellow architect, Brett Farrow, a member of the Cardiff 101 Design Committee. They were across the street from the old Mercantile Building (where the Patagonia Store is located) walking through the construction site.
Rich was showing Brett where he wanted to build a
They were discussing the placement of the
Rich asked, “I wonder if that’s part of the old train station?” Brett commented, “It looks similar to the foundation of my house which was built around 1914”. They agreed it was likely the train station’s foundation and knew this was a significant find as the station was one of the very first buildings in Cardiff.
The train station is discussed in Book Images of America, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, By Wehtahnah Tucker and Gus Bujkovsky, found at the Cardiff Library,
“In the early 1900’s, the Cardiff Train Depot was built using old wood from a kelp works plant… The train depot helped put Cardiff on the map as goods moved more easily between Los Angeles and San Diego… By the 1920’s, a train depot, library, school, restaurants, a hotel, mercantile exchange, and a post office had brought new residents and commerce to Cardiff.”
Rich discussed the discovery with Cardiff Foundation board members who oversee the funding for Harbaugh Parkway. The Foundation alerted the agencies in charge of the project, SANDAG
“I strongly disagree,” says Rich, “we need to uncover the entire slab before deciding it’s importance and then a third-party expert should be called to determine its historical value. This site is one of our town’s birthplaces and deserves special attention.”
Mark Muir, Councilmember
Things are on hold, for now. “The area is marked off and construction is temporarily stopped. They are looking into diverting the rail trail around the slab but nothing has been decided,” said Tony Kranz, councilmember and Encinitas’ representative to North County Transit District.