The Ramona DepotIn March of 1896, the Southern Pacific Railroad officially declared that the Ramona Hotel will be an eating station for passengers heading north and south. "It is expected that within a few days tickets can be purchased from the Ramona station and baggage checked from the same point. The station building has been completed several days...so that the station may present an attractive appearance to strangers". San Luis Obispo Morning Tribune 1896). Trains stopped to allow passengers a meal at the Ramona Hotel if they had no attached dining car. A street railway on Marsh Street to the rear of the hotel connected the street car line to the new depot.
This depot is all that remained after the 1905 fire that destroyed the Ramona Hotel. Homes on Palm Street can be seen in the background. The Ramona Depot was donated to the Dallidet Gardens by Life Members of the San Luis Obispo County Historical Society Robert and Elizabeth Leitcher.
The Horse-drawn StreetcarDuring the 1880s and 1890s, the horse-drawn streetcar was a method of transportation in the City of San Luis Obispo that predated the electric trolley cars. Running on rails placed in the center of the street, the horse-drawn streetcars moved swiftly and comfortably. The conductor would hitch the horse to either end of the car, so that when it reached the end of the route, it did not need turn-a-round rails to make the reserve trip.
The San Luis Obispo Horse-drawn Streetcar is on permanent loan from the George Bell Family.
The Ramona HotelThe Ramona Hotel formally opened on October 3, 1888,
Soon to be mayor and supervisor, Frank C. Mitchell, was responsible for the masonry on the elaborate four-story Victorian hotel. The Ramona Hotel encompassed an entire block between Marsh, Johnson, Higuera and Pepper Streets and was constructed in anticipation of the proposed arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad coming to San Luis Obispo. Between San Luis Obispo and Santa Margarita, five stations were put in by the SP Company; the highest point was Cuesta, then Serrano, Goldtree, Hathaway Avenue and the Ramona Hotel. A switch was constructed from the main track to the rear of the Ramona Hotel for the convenience of the passengers before the tracks were completed to the main depot. The side track behind the Ramona Hotel was hardly in place when the special train carrying dignitaries approached the hotel and occupied the spur as twilight approached on May 5, 1894. A great celebration was enjoyed by the entire community at the site.
Unfortunately, the hotel closed at the end of the year due to the "considerable deficits" that had occurred. The Ramona Hotel reopened the following June under a lease management arrangement. It held local meetings, public amusements and ball games on the grounds. Never a financial success, the Ramona Hotel finally burned to the ground on November 19, 1905.