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Fire Destroys Valley’s Last Red Car Barn : Streetcars: The small Van Nuys building, which was built in 1914, housed a collection of trolley-era memorabilia.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An early morning fire Monday in Van Nuys gutted the interior of the last Red Car station in the San Fernando Valley, a wood-frame building that had been converted into an antique store, fire officials reported.

Constructed in 1914, the Pacific Electric Railway’s Picover Station was a last remnant of the era when the Valley was criss crossed by streetcars. The small, bluish-gray building housed an extensive collection of trolley-era memorabilia and was designated as a city historic-cultural monument last year at the urging of the Saylor family, which has owned it since 1952.

Pat Marek, Los Angeles City Fire Department spokesman, said firefighters are still investigating the cause of the blaze, which began about 2:44 a.m. and was extinguished less than an hour later. Marek estimated that the fire caused about $25,000 in damage to the structure and destroyed $50,000 worth of antiques and other memorabilia.

Though the station was left standing, the Saylors said they have not decided whether to try to restore it. They declined to comment further.

Although its exterior was unremarkable, the interior featured intricate beamed ceilings, restored wood floors and a valuable collection of trolley mementos and and other antiques.

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In one corner stood the station’s original telegraph and ticketing office, and in the center was a potbellied stove around which passengers sat while waiting for the street cars to carry them to downtown Los Angeles.

Picover Station, the source of whose moniker is a mystery, was originally located in the farming community of Marian, now known as Reseda. In 1917, it was moved to the middle of Sherman Way, between Balboa Boulevard and Hayvenhurst Avenue, where it remained until the Red Cars stopped running in the West Valley in 1938.

The structure was then moved to its present site at 16710 Sherman Way, where it was attached to a larger building, a former vegetable packing house built in 1932.


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