Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Temple Tuesday: Trip to Stonefield

On one of those rare days when I was just lounging on the couch I decided to watch the Shirley Temple movie "Young People." Although it may not be her best, I do love the songs. In the sequence where Shirley and her parents (Charlotte Greenwood and Jack Oakie) arrive in Stonefield, for the first time ever I noticed that the train depot looked damn good. Almost too good to be a set. The tracks also seemed to go on forever, and not in the matte painting way, either. I wondered if this was an actual station...that might still exist. Contacting Shirley expert supreme Melissa (aka "The Colonel") I asked her what she thought. Initially she thought it was probably shot at the studio, but did express a slight amount of doubt after she looked at her 20th Century Fox book filled with vintage pictures about what the backlot once looked like. I decided to contact Robby Cress from Dear Old Hollywood and see what he thought. I was pleasantly surprised when he quickly responded:

Hi Dave!

I’m 99% sure that is the old Arcadia Santa Anita Station. The building still exists, but not in the original location. It was moved to near the LA Arboretum.

I haven’t seen that Shirley Temple film. Now I’ll have to watch!

Kind Regards,
Robby Cress

Although I normally would have taken an "I told you so" stance, with Melissa I went a different route.

I kind of went ape s#$t.

With her impending visit to the West Coast, I announced that we were going to Stonefield. Although this was all through texting, I know she probably lost her s#$t as well, as "Young People" is a favorite of hers, too. Sadly, it was not in the cards for Melissa to join me (at least not this time!) as her plane arrived two hours late, squashing the small window of opportunity we had to share our discovery together.

Well folks, here it is. I was absolutely blown away that this little depot still exists.

If I hadn't known it had been rebuilt in a different location, I would have sworn it was the same building. They did a fantastic job of putting it back together.

From the plaque on the building I learned that it was originally constructed in 1890 in Rancho Santa Anita. Due to the construction of the Foothill Freeway it was moved and reconstructed here in 1969 with the support of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, California Arboretum Foundation, Inc., and the Arcadia Historical Society, Inc.

My good friend, actress Amanda Kruger, accompanied me on this historic journey.

There were two antique luggage carts sitting outside the building. Could they be the same ones?

Melissa dove in and watched the movie again, comparing every detail. At first she thought one was a definite match, but both carts exhibited either changes or differences.

Folks, I just don't care. I'm printing the legend and saying that at least one was featured in the movie shot almost 80 years ago. And that's final!

Here's a still from the movie showing the other side of the building:

...and how it looks today:

Although it was closed during my visit, the interior looks damn good (and vintage!):

Melissa: pack your bags! Next April we are going to Stonefield!

See more Shirley Temple "Young People" photos at my main website..


Irene said...

Just WOW! I lost my you know what just reading this! LOL I have been wanting to travel out to the Arboretum on the Gold Line and one of the things I wanted to do while there was visit this R/R Station. I had no idea it was the one used in the movie. Now this will make my visit even more special. Thanks :)

Chuck said...

Here's a way to connect my wife's interest in Shirley and mine in trains. Now, if I can just figure out how to get to LA...

Matthew said...

That is incredible! What a fantastic story.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Bryce said...

What a great story! After investigating, I learned the depot was also used in the Disney film "Saving Mr. Banks."

Daveland said...

Bryce - Thanks! I hadn't noticed that and sure enough you are right!