Last revised: May 7, 2005
Maintained by: Evan Werkema
It wasn't too long ago that Santa Fe's small-town freight agencies could be counted in the hundreds. The number had been shrinking over the years, but across the system, and especially on branchlines, the little yellow wooden depot remained a common fixture into the 1970's. A major consolidation program in the late 70's and early 80's changed all that, closing the multitude of little agencies in favor of a few Regional Freight Offices. With their primary function gone, Santa Fe's depots faced a bleak future. A few managed to hang on in company service as offices or maintenance-of-way buildings, and a handful survived as Amtrak stations. Most, however, became just another unnecessary source of property tax assessments to be expunged from the right-of-way. Some were simply torn down, but fortunately for the purposes of this list, a good number were spared. Communities aware of the historic value of their depots often acquired them for use as museums or city offices. Other depots were auctioned off to individual buyers, to become anything from restaurants to residences to car dealerships. Frame depots were usually, though not always, moved off-site by their new owners, sometimes ending up dozens of miles from their original location. Masonry structures, trickier to move, tended to remain trackside with a fence or other barrier between them and the railroad. Former Santa Fe depots dot the landscape from Illinois to California in a wide variety of second uses.
These tables are intended to document, as well as possible, the current locations of surviving Santa Fe depots. Each entry is marked with a date to indicate when it was last reported at its "current location." Depot migration continues to this day, so the information presented here is necessarily incomplete. Updates and new sightings are always welcome, and will be creditted accordingly. Current locations are given as accurately as possible in cases where the building has been moved. Trackside structures are listed simply as "trackside," unless finding the trackside location is unusually complicated (e.g. large cities). Please note that most of the structures listed here are on private property, and their listing in no way conveys the right to trespass or invade people's privacy. As always, it's best to ask first and shoot later. (Pictures, that is...shoot PICTURES later).
If you have a depot to add or an update, please send us some e-mail. Provide as much information as possible regarding location, present use, and when it was last seen. Thanks!
Some Recent Losses
A quick look at a few of the depots torn down or otherwise destroyed in the last few years.