The small village of Lamy is the transfer point for passengers heading to Santa Fe. The Mission Revival style depot was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1909.
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2023): 8,327
- Facility Ownership: Santa Fe Southern Railway, Inc.
- Parking Lot Ownership: SFS Land Holding, Ltd., Co.
- Platform Ownership: New Mexico Department of Transportation/Santa Fe Southern Railway, Inc.
- Track Ownership: New Mexico Department of Transportation
The one story Lamy depot was built for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (commonly known as the “Santa Fe”) and opened to passengers in 1909. It replaced a two-story wood frame structure erected in 1881. When the new passenger station opened, the original was converted into a freight depot and served this purpose into the 1940s. In addition to a passenger waiting area, the historic depot – as of summer 2022 – houses a brewery popular with travelers and locals alike.
The Santa Fe originally planned to run from Atchison, Kan., to Santa Fe, N.M., and then west to California. As the track building advanced into New Mexico, the civil engineers realized that the terrain around Santa Fe made this an impossible undertaking. The line was built through Lamy instead, and a spur line was built northward to Santa Fe. Amtrak passengers headed to the state capital still alight at Lamy where a shuttle transports them the remaining 18 miles.
In the early 20th century, the Santa Fe Railway replaced many of its original wood passenger structures, which had been constructed quickly and at low cost, with more substantial brick depots that symbolized the permanence of the railroad. Like many other communities along the Santa Fe lines in the Southwest and California, Lamy gained a new building that drew on regional architectural traditions.
The Spanish Mission style, featuring shady arcades, red tile roofs and stucco-clad walls, drew on the region’s Spanish colonial past to provide the railroad with a cohesive visual identity. It also became an effective marketing tool to lure residents and tourists from the East and Midwest. Constructed of brick covered in stucco, the Lamy depot features a waiting room outfitted with carved wooden beams, handsome wood benches in a Spanish Revival style and colorful decorative tiles. Common to many depots in the region, it has a covered, outdoor waiting room on the east end and a track side arcade.
An original tower over the ticket office was later removed, while a small freight room was added to the building’s west end in 1941. Its function is evident by the placement of small windows high on the wall that admit light but deter thieves, as well as the large wooden doors that allowed station personnel to roll in carts stacked with boxes and crates.
Lamy’s original name was Galisteo Junction. It was later changed in honor of Jean-Baptiste Lamy, who served as the first archbishop of Santa Fe in the second half of the 19th century. Lamy played a major role in the development of the region and was the inspiration for writer Willa Cather’s novel Death Comes for the Archbishop.
East of the depot, the famed Fred Harvey Company constructed a hotel named El Ortiz in 1910. Started by English immigrant Fred Harvey in the 1870s, the company that took his name ran a series of eating houses along the Santa Fe rail lines. Dining cars were not yet common west of the Mississippi River; thus, passenger trains stopped at set stations to allow riders to have a bite to eat. Fred Harvey developed a highly efficient system that guaranteed quick, quality meals.
Following the success of the eateries, Fred Harvey, in partnership with the Santa Fe, branched out into the hotel business. Although many were located in important trade and business centers, other Harvey Houses like El Ortiz were created with an eye to developing tourism.
El Ortiz was one of the smallest and most intimate Harvey Houses. It replaced a small lunchroom built in 1883 and was designed to resemble the home of a Mexican nobleman, replete with fine furnishings and finishes. For this project, the Santa Fe turned to Louis Curtiss of Kansas City, where the Fred Harvey Company was headquartered.
Over his career, Curtiss designed more than 30 depots, Harvey Houses and other railroad structures. The façade of El Ortiz was divided into two asymmetrical sections visually joined together by a porch. To the northeast was a projecting pavilion with a shallow, arched roof that faded into the background in favor of its mate on the south end, which was slightly higher and crowned by a stepped pediment. Vigas, or protruding wood rafters, were used on the central wall, casting strong shadows onto it and the porch below.
Ornament was kept to a minimum, the most notable example taking the form of a cross within a circle—the symbol of the Santa Fe Railway. Close-up, the visitor noticed the rough-hewn logs used in the roof framing of the porch; this continued on the interior patio of the hotel, where the logs were also made into columns topped by horizontal, carved capitals in the Santa Fe manner. The courtyard garden was the heart of the building, and ten guestrooms opened up onto it, inviting guests to use it as an extension of their quarters.
Fred Harvey designer Mary Colter created the interior spaces, which included a small lunchroom. In the lobby, she incorporated one of her signature fireplaces, marked by a parabolic arched opening reminiscent of those on the fireplaces introduced by the Spanish colonists. Richly toned woodwork and brass accents, especially in the lighting fixtures, emphasized the hand-made, rustic quality of the interior design scheme. El Ortiz closed in 1942 and was later demolished.
The growth of the railroad industry bolstered development in Lamy, but as the industry declined, so too did the need for railroad workers – thereby leading to a shrinking population. Today, Lamy is a lovely small village set against mountains.
- ATM not available
- No elevator
- No payphones
- No Quik-Trak kiosks
- No Restrooms
- Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
- No vending machines
- No WiFi
- Arrive at least minutes prior to departure
- Amtrak Express shipping not available
- No checked baggage service
- No checked baggage storage
- Bike boxes not available
- No baggage carts
- Ski bags not available
- No bag storage
- Shipping boxes not available
- No baggage assistance
- No payphones
- No accessible restrooms
- No accessible ticket office
- No accessible waiting room
- No accessible water fountain
- No high platform
- No wheelchair
- No wheelchair lift