The town of Los Altos as we know it owes its existence to the Southern Pacific Railroad. Needing a shortcut between Palo Alto and Los Gatos, the Southern Pacific Railroad acquired the downtown "triangle" in 1907 from Sarah Winchester, who refused to sell only the five acres they needed. They laid out the rest of her ranch as Los Altos, with the depot as the gateway to the new town.
The Los Altos depot is highly unusual for a small town on the railroad and trolley lines. It was designed by Southern Pacific architect D.J. Patterson, and not from their standard plan book. Begun in 1912 and estimated at $7,000, the Craftsman-style depot was finished six months late in 1913 and was over budget at $12,000.
After the railroad ceased operating, the building was used as a restaurant, for which the arbors were enclosed. In 1975, it was converted into a bank after substantial changes, including building a new porch, moving the original front door and windows, and building a bay window and a large bracketed gable on the new "front" side of the building on First Street (these changes reflected the fact that town was now accessed by cars, not trains). Much of the original train track-side facade was completely removed, and the brick reused on the new bay window and columns was built to match. The freight door to the left, however, remained