Santa Fe Station

Lawrence, KS (2018)

The Santa Fe Station, 413 E 7th Street, was constructed in 1955 and is a great example of Mid-Century Modern architecture.  The facility was designed by architects Warren Corman and Warren Jones; dedicated on February 7, 1956.  The Lawrence Journal World carried a front-page story with the headline “Gratitude shown to Santa Fe for Local Progress”.  The article states that the Station was a “plush, ultra-modern” building constructed for $140,000.  Based on its importance to transportation and railroad history and its architecture style, the Santa Fe Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 2018; it is also on the Kansas Register of Historic Places and the Lawrence Register of Historic Places.   

Discussions regarding restoring the Santa Fe Station go back several decades.  In 2008, Depot Redux, a citizen advocacy organization supporting the City’s acquisition of the Santa Fe Station and the restoration of the station, began meeting with the City of Lawrence. In June 2008, the City Commission provided its first formal directive to pursue the acquisition and restoration of the Santa Fe Station.

In 2009, the City commissioned Hernly Associates to complete a Historic Structure Report for the station.  The City applied for an American Recovery and Reinvestment stimulus grant in 2009, which was unsuccessful.  However, Amtrak invested approximately $600,000 in passenger platform and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements at the Station as part of the federal stimulus package in 2009.  The City applied for a Transportation Enhancement grant in 2010, which was not successful.  In 2011, the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) was granted a High Speed Intercity and Passenger Rail grant through the Federal Railroad Administration on behalf of the City to complete the design for the improvements at the station, based on the Historic Structure Report.  KDOT assisted the City with applying for a second High Speed Intercity and Passenger Rail grant in 2012 to fund the improvements, which was not successful.  In 2013, the City received a Transportation Enhancement Grant from KDOT. On June 22, 2017, the station building was formally transferred from the BNSF Railway to the City of Lawrence.  A long-term land lease was executed with the BNSF and with Amtrak.  Construction began in 2018 and was completed in early 2019, at a total cost of approximately $2 million, $1.6 million was in federal funds.  Amtrak contributed approximately $226,000 toward the ADA improvements.

Walking into the station takes you back to 1956. The windows, flooring, ticket station and even the furniture are either original or rehabilitated to the day the station opened.

Key features of the rehabilitation project include:

  • Site work:
    • Added 10’ wide shared-use sidewalk in front of building
    • Added sidewalks at 7th Street and New York Street
    • Removed asphalt parking lot on west part of site
    • Rehabilitated brick parking lot west of building
    • Installed new storm sewer drainage west of building
    • Rehabilitated round planter and added sidewalks radiating from the center point
    • Replaced deteriorated paving around the building
  • Exterior work:
    • Repaired brick masonry, including rebuilding missing brick planter on south side
    • Replaced deteriorated steel canopy columns
    • Repaired and painted plaster soffits at canopies and roof overhangs
    • Replaced deteriorated roofing, aluminum roof edge fascia, and roof decking
    • Rebuilt wood window in south wall, reusing original operable sashes
    • Re-caulked all openings and cut new masonry expansion joints
    • Painted exterior features to match original colors
  • Accessibility work:
    • Removed interior main entrance vestibule doors
    • Rearranged Men’s and Women’s bathrooms
    • Widened bathroom doors
    • Changed door hardware throughout
    • Added new opening and glass door at east end of hallway
    • Installed new drinking fountains
    • Lowered original telephone shelf in Waiting Room
    • Installed new signage
    • Added concrete parking and access aisle at brick parking lot
    • Reworked exterior access by adding and improving ramps
    • Widened step and modified handrails at train platform
  • Interior work:
    • Installed interior mounted storm windows
    • Refinished terrazzo flooring
    • Installed new vinyl tile flooring
    • Repaired and painted original metal wall base
    • Patched plaster walls and painted to match original colors
    • Refinished all wood surfaces
    • Cleaned interior masonry surfaces
    • Replaced deteriorated ceilings with 12×12 acoustical ceiling tiles matching original tiles
    • Insulated roof deck from below where accessible
    • Insulated ceiling/roof cavity over plaster ceilings
  • Mechanical work:
    • Updated electrical systems
    • Refurbished original light fixtures
    • Retained in-floor radiant heating where functional and replaced boiler
    • Installed new geothermal wells under the street
    • Replaced defunct heating and air-conditioning systems with new systems
    • Installed new roof mounted photo voltaic panels

Related Works