Strong City Santa Fe Depot

Strong City
Santa Fe Depot

Chase County

The City of Strong City was started in 1871 when the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was completed to this point. The town was organized by the Cottonwood Town Company on February 29, 1872. Originally, Strong City was known as Cottonwood Station, but citizens later voted to change the name to Strong in 1881, in honor of William Barstow Strong, then Vice-President and General Manager of the Santa Fe Railway System. Strong City was the main railway point in the county, which is unique in that Strong City is not the county seat, as is the case in most other counties of Kansas. Another interesting fact is that the county was able to secure the railway without the issuance of any railroad bonds. Without the Santa Fe, Strong City would never have existed and most certainly would not have prospered as it did. At one time, the city could boast three general stores, three groceries, a hardware store, a druggist, two physicians, two attorneys, two shoe makers, a livery, feed and sale stable, a milliner, a blacksmith, an auctioneer, a drayman, a carpenter and builder, a meat market, a well-driller, a tobacconist, a fine hotel and restaurant. None of this would have been possible had the Santa Fe not made Strong City a stop on their line.

The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Depot was built in 1913 for a cost of $20,000. The one story, pressed brick building was built in the mission style and trimmed with cut stone and decorative brick, with a tile roof. The current depot replaced an earlier one that had set about 100 feet to the east. The old depot was no longer large enough to accommodate the heavy passenger traffic that had been experienced by Strong City in thouse years. The new depot was commenced on November 15, 1912, completed and ready for use on June 13, 1913.

The depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its historical association with the growth and development of Strong City, Kansas and also for its architectural significance as an example of a count seat style Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Depot.

Today, the Strong City Depot has experienced some deterioration. Some windows are currently covered in plywood, but the most pressing concern is the condition of the tile roof. It needs repaired as soon as possible. Our goal for restoring the Santa Fe Depot is to preserve the local history and Strong City's railroad roots, as well as enhancing the local economy.

BNSF Railroad Company has donated the Strong City Santa Fe Depot to the City. The City has received a Transportation Enhancement Grant in the amount of $468,951 from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for complete restoration. The grant will pay for 80% of the restoration cost and the city needs to raise the additional 20% in matching funds in the amount of $122,441. The W.S. & E.C. Jones Testamentary Trust has pledged $30,000, the Wiedeman Foundation has pledged $10,000 toward the restoration as have two local families. We have received many various donations and pledges for a total of $78,863.88. The remaining funds will be provided by tax credits.

Thank you to all that have donated to this worthwhile project.

 

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City of Strong City   strongcity@sbcglobal.net
4th and Chase, P.O. Box 208 / Strong City, KS 66869
620-273-6345   FAX: 620-273-6110

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April 29, 2009 / Shari DeWitt / Strong City, Kansas / strongcity@sbcglobal.net
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