During the Golden Age of train travel, the Santa Fe Railroad’s Super Chief was the first class ticket for Hollywood stars traveling between Los Angeles and Chicago.
Even after the construction of L.A.’s spacious and modern Union Station in 1937, celebrities would flock to the small but smart Mission Revival style Santa Fe Railroad station in Pasadena. There they could catch the Super Chief while avoiding crowds of photographers and autograph seekers, finding a level of personalized service that led many to “…Travel Santa Fe – All the Way!”
Of course air travel would eventually replace the train as the travel mode of choice for the rich and famous (and eventually for everyone), and after passenger rail operations in the U.S. were taken over by Amtrak in 1971, the writing was on the wall for Pasadena’s Santa Fe depot. In 1994, the last passenger train rolled through the city and the station was abandoned.
The Santa Fe station is now serving train passengers once again: When L.A.’s light rail line was extended from Union Station to Pasadena in the 2000s a stop was placed behind the old depot, and two popular restaurants have since moved into the renovated historic structure.