Tolfree’s Dining Room Inside Saugus Depot

by | Nov 29, 2018 | Community

 One way to say it is that this is the Saugus Café when it was inside the Saugus Train Station in the 1890s. More correctly, it was the dining room of J.H. Tolfree’s Depot Hotel (aka Eating House) when it was inside the 1887-vintage depot (SE corner of San Fernando/Bouquet and Drayton Street). Fairly soon after this photo was taken, Tolfree moved his diner across the street; it eventually became the Saugus Café. (In 1980, the Saugus depot moved to Heritage Junction in Newhall.)
The letterhead indicates that Tolfree was running a hotel inside the depot in the 1890s. Perhaps he let the rooms upstairs; don’t know exactly where the stationmaster lived at the time. Later stationmasters lived inside the depot. (It’s possible the earliest stationmaster[s] didn’t; the Newhall stationmaster, John Gifford, lived in a freestanding home that faced the Newhall depot.) Also note, on the letterhead, that this section of Saugus was known as Surrey at the time. The name was short-lived.


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