In order to facilitate a coastal route between the growing city of Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Southern Pacific Railroad determined that the best route in 1886 was through the Santa Clara River Valley to Ventura. Train stops would be situated approximately 10 miles apart. They also needed to be far enough from the Santa Clara River and its tributaries to be safe from flooding.
Cienega, east of Fillmore which already had a store, stagecoach stop, post office and school, was the first choice of the Southern Pacific for its stop. However, the landowner, Rush Ealy, refused to sell the property so the SP Railroad had to look elsewhere.
The Sespe Land and Water Company which had purchased a large parcel from Mattie Mae More Storke after the murder of her father, Thomas More, was developing that parcel located on both sides of the Sespe River. They were happy to cooperate with the railroad. The railroad left a boxcar on a siding and named the new town, Fillmore, after Vice President of the line, Jerome Fillmore.
The first train crossed the Sespe Bridge on January 4, 1887, and the initial 34 miles from Newhall to Santa Paula was officially opened February 8, 1887. Regularly scheduled service to Los Angeles began the next day.
The train depot became the center of the community. It brought new settlers into the area and produce and other goods such as Sespe Brownstone to be shipped out. With regular twice a day trains to and from Los Angeles it would not be unusual for people to go into the city in the morning and return in the evening.
As automobile and truck traffic became more common, the train service declined. The last regularly scheduled passenger train came through Fillmore on January 13, 1935. In 1974 Southern Pacific decided to close the depot and eventually the track between Piru and Newhall was removed.
On March 3, 1974 local teacher and author Edith Jarrett purchased the depot for $1.05 (the $.05 was tax), paid to move it across the street from its original site where it became the home of the Fillmore Historical Museum.