I noted in All Things Weird and Wonderful that in E. L. Moore’s article, Down by the depot, that appeared in the December 1964 issue of Model Railroader, Mr. Moore stated that the depot’s design was based on one he saw in Carl Fallberg's Fiddletown & Copperopolis cartoons. After a bit of searching, I think I found the ‘prototype’ in Mr. Fallberg’s book, Fiddletown & Copperopolis: The Life and Times of an Uncommon Carrier.
This 1960 book is a collection of Fiddletown & Copperopolis cartoons.The book states that Fiddletown and Copperopolis were actual towns in California. At one time Copperopolis had a 2-foot gauge railroad that serviced a local copper mine, and, apparently, that copper was taken all the way to Wales for smelting. But, the two towns were not directly connected by a railway. The cartoons are fascinating, but the collection is marred by racial stereotyping of native Americans.
It turns out Fiddletown had trolley service. Maybe the reason E. L. Moore wasn’t a trolley fan was that it was mule-propelled :-)