Lawrence, KS (LRC)

Opened in 1956, the depot is a prime example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation. A volunteer group has championed a multi-year rehabilitation effort.

413 East 7th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044

Station Hours

Annual Station Revenue (FY 2017): $776,377
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2017): 9,834
  • Facility Ownership: City of Lawrence
  • Parking Lot Ownership: BNSF Railway
  • Platform Ownership: BNSF Railway
  • Track Ownership: BNSF Railway

Derrick James
Regional Contact
governmentaffairschi@amtrak.com
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

The one-story brick combination passenger and freight station in Lawrence, erected by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway – better known as the “Santa Fe” – opened in February 1956 and cost approximately $140,000. Located a few blocks east of the town’s commercial corridor, it replaced a two-story brick depot from 1883 that was seriously damaged in the Kansas River Flood of 1951.

The earlier depot had been built to not only accommodate passenger functions, but also the offices of the Kansas City, Lawrence and Southern Kansas Railroad, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe. Other railroad related structures, such as a repair shop and worker housing, were located adjacent to the depot in the bustling East Lawrence neighborhood.

Designed by local architects Warren Jones and Warren Corman, recent graduates of the nearby University of Kansas and then employed with the Santa Fe, the building is a prime example of Mid-Century Modern architecture, which is characterized by clean lines and minimal ornamentation. Typical features of the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic found in the Lawrence depot include flat roofs, window walls, panoramic corner windows, integrated planters, rusticated ashlar limestone used for accents and trim, aluminum detailing and the prominent use of neon.

Jones and Corman created a structure that was functionally divided into three areas. To the northwest was the passenger waiting room, punctuated by a higher roofline and wraparound canopy; service areas such as the ticket office, restrooms and boiler room were in the center; and the southeast end held the baggage room and freight office.

Boundaries between the depot’s exterior and interior are blurred by the use of the brick and limestone, which seamlessly carry over from one area to the next to create visual continuity. The window walls, integrated planters and wide canopies also reinforce this smooth transition between the interior and exterior.

The interior is remarkably intact, including terrazzo floors, streamlined metal furnishings and aluminum fittings such as the saucer-like hanging lights, ceiling clock and trim around the public telephone counter. To control sunlight, the waiting room’s window walls once had green drapes that also added a soft touch among the room’s hard elements.

After World War II, in an attempt to modernize its image, the Santa Fe reinvested in several of its stations; Lawrence shares in the design heritage of depots such as those in Topeka and Hutchinson. Due to its design integrity, the Lawrence station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018 and is also listed on the Register of Historic Kansas Places.

At the urging of Depot Redux, a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and rehabilitation of the station, the city explored ways to purchase it from BNSF Railway. In May 2017, the Lawrence City Commission voted to take ownership of the depot after the railroad agreed to donate it. With the building under its control, the city moved forward with a planned $1.8 million rehabilitation project.

In June 2013, Lawrence had won a $1.2 million Transportation Enhancement (TE) grant through the Federal Highway Administration to support the rehabilitation. Under the TE program, funds can be used for activities related to the preservation of historic transportation facilities, including depots. The city provided a match, and Amtrak committed funds for accessibility-related improvements.

Three years earlier, under the Federal Railroad Administration’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program, Lawrence and the Kansas Department of Transportation won a $87,563 grant. It was used to draft final construction drawings, completed in fall 2012, to guide the station restoration project.

Work underway as of 2018 includes installation of a new roof and heating, cooling and electrical systems; upgrades to the restrooms to make them accessible; and repairs to stone and brickwork, the parking lot and sidewalks. A formal garden is also being planted on the northwestern end of the property.

Amtrak, state and local officials gathered in Dec. 2011 to cut the ribbon on a new 550-foot long, ADA-compliant concrete platform with tactile edging. A railing and light standards were installed along the platform and repairs were made to the canopy for increased safety and security. The $1.5 million project was funded by Amtrak through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The depot’s landmark neon signage was also restored – but reinterpreted for the 21st century. When the building first opened, the Santa Fe installed red neon signs spelling out its name and that of the town. Over time, they deteriorated and needed repair. Collaborating with the city and the Kansas State Historic Preservation Office, new signs spelling out “Amtrak” and “Lawrence” were installed. Rather than use Santa Fe red, they were executed in blue neon since that is the primary color used in Amtrak branding.

Lawrence sits along the banks of both the Kansas and Wakarusa rivers, and is the seat of Douglas County. Founded in 1854 for the New England Emigrant Aid Company by Charles Robinson, the city was named after Amos Adams Lawrence, a prominent politician, antislavery partisan and son of famed philanthropist Amos Lawrence.

The first locomotive crossed the Kansas River in 1867 on a temporary bridge in order to claim railroad bonds in the new territory. However, the railroads did not open for business through Lawrence until late 1870, amidst intense competition between companies for rights, land and financing.

Lawrence has a legacy of progressive thoughts and works, both politically and culturally, dating back to anti-slavery fights before the end of the Civil War. It is home to the University of Kansas (KU) and the inventor of basketball, James Naismith. KU and its Jayhawks have a long history as a strong basketball program. Lawrence also features many museums and art galleries, as well as music festivals. Poet, author and counterculture figure William S. Burroughs moved to Lawrence in 1983 and died there at age 83. Poet Langston Hughes was born in Lawrence, and his Kansas upbringing was evident in many of his writings.

Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains. Customers may use the waiting room, which is opened and closed by a caretaker at train time. Additionally, volunteers from Depot Redux often greet travelers and provide assistance and train arrival notifications.

Station Building (with waiting room)

Features

  • Quik-Trak kiosks not available
  • No ticket sales office
  • Accessible Restrooms

Baggage

  • Amtrak Express shipping not available
  • No checked baggage service
  • No checked baggage storage
  • Bike boxes not available
  • No baggage carts
  • Ski bags not available
  • Bag storage not available
  • Shipping boxes not available
  • No baggage assistance

Parking

  • Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
  • Overnight parking is available; fees may apply

Accessibility

  • Accessible platform
  • Accessible Restrooms
  • No accessible ticket office
  • Accessible waiting room
  • No accessible water fountain
  • Accessible same-day parking is available; fees may apply
  • Accessible overnight parking is available; fees may apply
  • No high platform
  • No wheelchair
  • Wheelchair lift available

Hours

Station Hours
Mon12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Tue12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Wed12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Thu12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Fri12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Sat12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Sun12:00 am - 12:15 am
05:15 am - 06:15 am
11:15 pm - 11:59 pm
Ticket Office Hours
Passenger Assistance Hours