Dodge City, Kansas
Central Avenue & Wyatt Earp Street Dodge City, KS 67801
- Annual Station Revenue (2013)
- Annual Station Ridership (2013)
|Facility Ownership||City of Dodge City|
|Parking Lot Ownership||City of Dodge City|
|Platform Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Track Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|10 Long Term Parking Spaces||5 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Payphones|
|Accessible Platform||Accessible Restrooms||Accessible Waiting Room|
|Accessible Water Fountain||Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area|
- Southwest Chief
Local Community Links:
The Amtrak stop in Dodge City is a brick, two-story former Santa Fe Railway depot built in 1898; an adjacent Harvey House hotel and restaurant, El Vaquero, opened in 1900 and was built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Covering two city blocks, the El Vaquero closed in 1948.
Portions of the hotel structure were used thereafter as offices for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The areas not in use were boarded up with all the furnishings and fixtures left in place. In 1996, BNSF Railway donated the depot to the city, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
From 2000 to 2002, the depot and the El Vaquero/Harvey House restaurant were renovated with funding of $11 million through a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation and the U. S. Department of Transportation via the TEA-21 reimbursement program, as well as private donations gathered by the Boot Hill Repertory Company (now the Depot Repertory Company). The city also contributed $100,000 to the project in order to secure $400,000 in matching state transportation funds.
The 45,000 square-foot building has been completely rehabilitated to the 1898 standard, including rebuilding the platform. Great care was taken in restoring the brick, metal, limestone and sandstone exterior. The old hotel lobby, now the main gathering room, has been restored using many of the original fixtures, flooring, counter, woodwork and leaded glass windows. The Harvey House dining room has also been restored for use as a meeting space. The Amtrak station has been renovated as well through the process of adaptive reuse; the rest of the building houses the theater and workspaces.
In June 2013, Dodge City won $258,000 through the Federal Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement (TE) program to support further station rehabilitation work. Under the TE program, funds can be used for activities related to the preservation of historic transportation facilities, including depots. The grant will be put towards a long-term project to rehabilitate and replace the structure's doors, windows and soffits.
Dodge City is county seat for Ford County, Kansas, only blocks from the Arkansas River and the 100th meridian, in an area of complete prairie. From 1847 until 1882, a sequence of forts was built in the Dodge City area to protect travelers along the Santa Fe Trail, ending with the Army’s Fort Dodge. Cattle ranching travel along the Santa Fe Trail and the approach of the Santa Fe railroad all encouraged people to settle and found Dodge City in 1872, just five miles west of Fort Dodge. The Santa Fe arrived in September of 1872 to find a town ready and waiting for business.
In 1883 and 1884, Dodge City experienced a boom as a Cow Town, due to it being the best place for cattle herds to meet the railroad. Cattle were being driven up from Texas to the railheads in Kansas; however it was thought that the Texas longhorns were spreading splenic fever via ticks to other cattle, and the Kansas state legislature moved a quarantine line across the state. In 1885, the quarantine was extended across the state, and by 1886, the cowboys, saloon keepers, gamblers, and brothel owners had moved west. Dodge City became a town like other agricultural communities in the area.
Later, it was learned the Texas cattle did not have the ticks on them, but rather the eggs were imbedded in the mud in their feet. The mud needed to be cleaned out and the threat of ticks would be eliminated. Dodge City successfully lobbied to repeal the quarantine years later, but the Texas cattle industry had already made other arrangements by routing the cattle to Missouri. This city never regained the cattle trade it once had.
In the early days of the railroading across the American west, trains stopped for the night. Food service and hospitality were unreliable or unpalatable at best, until entrepreneur Fred Harvey joined with the Santa Fe to establish new standards, essentially inventing modern food service. Fred Harvey established his first Harvey restaurant in 1896 in Dodge City, operating a lunch room out of a box car placed on stilts near the track.
As an archetypal town of the American Old West, Dodge City is also famous as the setting for the long-running radio and television western drama, Gunsmoke.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains. Volunteers open the waiting room in time for the trains' arrivals.