The Burlingame Station opened on October 10, 1864. It was built at the request of the Burlingame Country Club’s membership, which wanted to replace the flag stop shelter and Oak Grove with a proper station. William H. Howard a wealthy and prominent member of the Peninsula-elite donated the land for what would the city’s architectural landmark. His half-brother architect George H. Howard, Jr. and Joachim B. Mathisen developed its Mission design, derived in part from architect A. Page Brown’s temporary “California Building” at the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893.
The Southern Pacific agreed to put up the cost of an “ordinary” depot if the country club paid the difference for something more elaborate and the result was “a very picturesque Spanish Structure,” in the news of the day. The hipped-roof building featured a square tower, Moorish decoration on the main arch, and authentic California mission tiles on the roof. Burlingame’s was the country’s first permanent Mission Revival style depot.
There are three sections: the baggage room on the northwest end, the waiting room in the center, and living quarters for the stationmaster on the south end. In the early 1900’s, an open arcade was added on the northwest end. The waiting room, with its dramatic rafter ceiling, remains unaltered.
Until the 1950s, a station agent lived in the quarters; the space was subsequently leased to a variety of tenants, including the chamber of commerce from 1987 until 2011. In 1971, the Burlingame depot was designated a California State Registered Landmark, the first depot so honored, on the basis of its architectural style.
In June 1986, the city and its Save Our Station Committee held a festival to celebrate the restoration of the depot, completed in cooperation with the Office of the State Architect and Caltrans. A centennial event was held in September 1994. In 2008, the Burlingame Historical Society opened a local history museum in the ticket office. (Caltrain Historic Sites Link Here)
The station itself underwent a $20.5 million upgrade completed in 2008, which included platform reconfiguration and the installation of new mission-style shelters and period-appropriate plantings.
Fun Fact: Actress Mary Pickford visited the Burlingame Station while she filmed “Little Lord Fauntleroy” at the nearby Kohl Estate.