Fort Worth, Texas -- Santa Fe Passenger Depot
- I was able to get into the beautiful Fort Worth Santa Fe Passenger
Depot on Friday. It exists today as the "Ashton Depot," a
Catering/Meeting/Event service. They have their offices in
the "Division Office" of the Santa Fe Freight Depot next door.
Check out some of the pictures of the interior on their site!
Here is the History of the train depot from their web page:
The historic Ashton Depot was originally opened on March 1, 1900 in
response to a growing demand for railroad service in Fort Worth. It
has both witnessed and contributed to over a century of Texas
memories. Built during a time when train lines were expanding cross-
country and passenger travel was heavy, the depot served as a relief
for nearby stations and a victory in local architectural design. In
the early days, passengers traveled for necessity, as trains or
wagons were the primary modes of transportation, but by the 1920's,
rail stations were "roaring," as was the rest of the country. Oil was
booming, wealth abounded, and people began using train travel for
In 1938 the depot was renovated and "modernized" as part of an
extensive program undertaken by the Fort Worth Union Passenger
Station and the Santa Fe Railroad. The station served several lines
until 1960, when the Santa Fe became the sole railroad using the
facility; the building was thus renamed the Santa Fe Depot. Amtrak
operated passenger rail service out of the station between 1973 and
1995. Additionally, the Santa Fe Depot was listed both in the
National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Recorded
Texas Historic Landmark in 1970.
Today, the Beaux Arts-style terminal has been restored to its
original beauty and distinctiveness. The original stained glass
windows, barrel-vaulted ceilings, and marble floors are stunning,
emanating an atmosphere of effortless style and grace. Although the
name of the architect remains a mystery, we do know that the
structure was built by the contracting firm of Smith and Bardon
during the late 1800's at an approximate cost of $50,000.
The Santa Fe Depot was purchased in 1999 by Shirlee and Taylor Gandy,
Fort Worth natives who loved the idea of salvaging and transforming
the Depot into an attractive downtown Fort Worth venue.
It is only open during the week, and I'm never in Fort Worth during
working hours, though I had been there before on the weekends to see
this beautiful building from the outside. Last Wednesday I was in
Fort Worth on business and stopped by before my meeting. It was open,
but someone was shooting wedding pictures, so I wasn't allowed in. It
turned out I was meeting my son Friday in Fort Worth to go to a
special exhibition at a museum, so decided to get a little earlier
head start to be able to get back to the depot before 5:00. Well, it
was all locked up, but I could see someone through the porthole
windows in the swinging kitchen doors at the far end of the building.
After awhile, someone came out to see what I wanted. I gave him my
card and he graciously let me in to look around. They did a beautiful
job of restoring the place. The man who let me in was telling me what
it was like before they started.
Here are some old pictures of the news stand in the depot and the
adjoining (non-existant) lunch room, which stood just north, between
the passenger and freight depots:
From those it can be seen that the news stand was originally a fairly
basic box in the NE corner:
It later was expanded outward at the same location and made much
The news stand area today is a bar-like area for the events held in
the depot. Though altered, it still has a similar look.