City pauses improvements to site of Santa Fe depot after potentially historic brickwork uncovered

photo by: City of Lawrence

A brick surface recently uncovered at the site of the Santa Fe depot, at Seventh and New Jersey streets, is pictured in this contributed photo.

Improvements at the Santa Fe depot have recently been put on hold after the city’s contractor discovered a brick surface beneath the existing gravel parking lot.

The 1950s-era train station is an example of midcentury modern architecture, and the station is on the National Register of Historic Places. A Kansas Department of Transportation grant, which the city was awarded in 2013, funded 80% of an approximately $2 million project to rehabilitate the depot.

The second phase of site improvements began March 29, but the city ordered the project to be paused once the brick surface was uncovered so plans could be reevaluated, according to a city news release. Following research and outreach with local historians and other community stakeholders, it was found that the brick surface was likely originally part of the foundation of a former freight depot.

Because of the historical aspects of the discovery, plans are being reevaluated to determine if it is feasible to leave the bricks in place as the new parking surface and what changes would need to be made to meet certain criteria for the project. City staff is continuing to research the origin of the brick surface and asks anyone with information on the history of the brick at this location to email


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