This long, graphic train mural on the side of what was once Printers Inc. Bookstore was one of the first public artworks to appear California Avenue, which is fitting as this area was a stop along one of the first train lines to be built in the Western United States. By 1864, the railroad reduced what had previously been an 8-hour stagecoach journey between San Francisco and San Jose to a mere 2.5 hours by train. The mural shows steam locomotive number 5, The San Mateo, pulling into the station at Mayfield (now California Avenue Station), which is still used by Caltrain today.
Noel Consigny is a San-Francisco-based artist who has painted hundreds of wall and ceiling murals for businesses, private homes, and public murals across America. He has a second artwork in Palo Alto as well—a painted scene of egrets inside the Palo Alto Animal Services Building (3281 E. Bayshore). His realistic work usually includes animals, landscapes, and sometimes underwater scenes that bring the walls of doctors’ and dentists’ offices to life.
When the train line first opened for service between San Francisco historic Mayfield, Governor Leland Stanford was one of roughly 400 passengers to ride to the end of the line here on opening day, July 15, 1861.
“The shrill whistle of the engine, and the rattling of the cars so lately heard in your beautiful valley for the first time, will be sounds familiar to your children and children's children... Hereafter the citizens of San José and those of San Francisco will be neighbors.” Timothy Guy Phelps in his speech at the train’s service inauguration on January 16, 1864