Santa Fe Depot Visioning Process - Creating a new vision for an iconic part of Shawnee's history.
Shawnee's early economic success was fueled in part by railroads. While numerous railroads traversed the City and had facilities here, the most striking is the historic Santa Fe Depot building, located at 614 E. Main Street. Originally built at a cost of $65,000, this facility was initially constructed in 1903. Once completed in 1904, it operated as a train depot for the next 70 years. It is now a notable part of the downtown area, serving as an anchor for the east end of downtown and Main Street.
Built in a Romanesque style, the Depot’s sandstone architecture is unique to Oklahoma. Notable feature include a clay tile roof, high-vaulted ceilings and recessed archways around both windows and doors. The Depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. From 1982 until 2021 it served as a museum for railroad and local history. It has sat vacant since then.
Since the Depot was first listed on the national register in 1974, minor repairs have been made. But no major updates to the building have taken place. A study by GH2 Preservation Architects was completed in early 2021 that identified issues with the roof, water damage, and stonework. You can also view the architect's report here. Additional needs were observed inside of the building as well. The condition of the Depot was the topic of a City Commission Study Session on December 6, 2021. You can view the meeting here. The Study Session included examples of how similar buildings in other communities have been refurbished and given new life.
Examples of similar buildings that have been remodeled include depots in Oklahoma and other states.
The depot in Littleton, Colorado was renovated into an Art Gallery that hosts various classes, shows, and exhibits. The building is owned by the city of Littleton and operated by the Littleton Fine Arts Guild. There are art exhibits by members of the guild as well as frequent workshops and classes.
The former depot in Norman, Oklahoma is home to an arts and event venue that is available for rent from the city. This building is home to art exhibits, concerts, weddings, and other events. This depot is adjacent to open plaza areas that allow events to overflow outside of the building.
Ballinger, Texas repurposed their depot and utilize it as their city hall. Other cities have used their former depot buildings for offices, retail shops, or have brought life back to the structure as a train depot once again.
The depot in Newton, Kansas is a combination of train depot and office space.
While the City owns the Depot, it needs your input on how to best utilize the property. To that end, Community Development staff is leading a community visioning process for the Santa Fe Depot. This process will include meetings with community groups (as desired), town hall meetings, an online survey, and a subsequent presentation to the City Commission on June 20, 2022, at 6 pm, where the community's vision for the Depot will be shared.
The City invites you to participate in one of the identical Town Hall meetings, which are scheduled to take place in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall on the following dates:
May 24, 2022 - 6 pm
May 25, 2022 - 4 pm
June 2, 2022 - 10 am
June 8, 2022 - 11 am
June 9, 2022 - 5:30 pm
Alternatively, you can provide your thoughts using the online survey found here.
To have a member of the Community Development Department speak to your civic group about the Depot and the visioning process, please call the department office at (405) 878-1665.