Also known as the Magalia Depot and Butte County Railroad, the Butte County Railroad Depot was built in 1903 in Magalia. It is one of three along the Butte County Railroad that runs from Chico to Sterling City. The railroad was built by the Diamond Match Company in 1902, and purchased by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1915. The Chico-Sterling City rail line operated until 1974, and the rails were removed in 1979.
The Butte County Railroad Depot was nominated a state Historic Point of Interest in 1981. In 1993, the Pair-O-Dice chapter of E. Clampus Vitus erected a plaque at the Depot. The plaque reads: "In 1902, Diamond Match Co. established the Butte Co. Railroad. The So PAC tracks ran between Chico, Durham, and Stirling City. Regular train service between Chico and Magalia began Nov. 2, 1903. Magalia depot was completed soon thereafter. April 9, 1904 lumber and passengers were being transported to Stirling City. Due to financial setbacks, Diamond Match in 1915 turned the line over to Southern Pacific. Stirling City sawmill closed on Jan. 31, 1958 & the last train ran on Feb. 5, 1958. Train operations were irregular until the Stirling City stud mill reopened in Feb. 1964. Trains ran regularly until May 1974, when the mill closed permanently. The tracks lay abandoned until they were turned up in 1979."
The Butte County Railroad Depot has been restored and features the yellow paint and green trim used for all the railroad depots in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The depots represent a time in California history when railroads were the dominant form of transportation and product delivery until cars and freeways became the main mode of transportation.
The Butte County Railroad Depot is located at 6818 Skyway Road in Magalia.
Highlights of Butte County history include John Bidwell’s establishment of Rancho Chico and Bidwell Bar, and the discovery of Ishi, the last Yahi Indian. This county progressed swiftly from a collection of mining towns into a trendsetter for California agriculture.