Ellwood Station

Photo of Ellwood Depot

Ellwood Station commemorates Ellwood Cooper, one of California’s notable pioneers in horticulture, who was instrumental in introducing the eucalyptus tree and in developing olive culture in southern California. He served as president of the State Board of Horticulture from 1885 to 1903.

Ellwood Cooper is famous for introducing eucalyptuses to the Santa Barbara area. He grew as many as 150,000 trees in 24 species and wrote and lectured on their utility. Like other farmers of his time, he grew a variety of crops including figs, citrus, walnuts, and olives. He operated the second largest olive mill in the U.S. and won honors for his oil. He also pioneered the use of bio-control by importing ladybugs from China to control scale insects in his walnut crop. Sara Cooper, his wife, also collected plants, and the garden at their home became a “must see” for visitors.

Southern Pacific spelled the station name Elwood from 1887 until about 1911, when it was renamed correctly to Ellwood in Time Table No. 75 of Jan. 10, 1909 but not renamed in SP List of Officers, Agencies and Stations until the first half of 1911.

The Depot was a 1-story frame building, 20’ x 67’ built to the SP Standard No. 7 plans in the Sacramento shops and transported in pieces to the site where it was erected sometime after December 1887 when the tracks arrived at Ellwood Cooper’s ranch. This was the end of track until sometime in 1898 when construction resumed. As the end of track the station was at milepost 543 on the Ventura Division. The milepost indicates the distance from Sacramento and the 543 is the distance down the coast out through Santa Paula to Saugus, over the hill to Palmdale, Lancaster and Mojave and then over Tehachapi pass to Bakersfield and up the San Joaquin Valley and across the coast range to Oakland and by ferry to San Francisco. When the Coast Line was completed December 31, 1900 and through passenger service commenced in late March 1901, the tracks were realigned and the depot was moved slightly to be adjacent to the new right of way. The milepost was changed to 358 on the Coast Division with a direct route to San Francisco through San Luis Obispo, Salinas and San Jose.

Elwood had a telegraph/train-order office (but no agency) for a few months from March 1, 1908 until sometime in the second half of 1908.

The station was taken off the roles on July 21, 1936 and the depot building was demolished sometime after that date.

There is still a road in Goleta named Ellwood Station Road. The location of the Depot was near where that road would cross highway 101.

More info about the Ellwood Depot can be found here.


*People often use the terms station and depot interchangeably.  A station is a place on a railroad line that is mentioned in the timetable.  There may or may not be any building at the location.  If there is a building used for passengers or freight, it is called a depot.