Stillwater Santa Fe Depot

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Santa Fe Depot-Stillwater
Santa Fe Depot Stillwater Oklahoma.jpg
Santa Fe Depot--Stillwater
Stillwater Santa Fe Depot is located in Oklahoma
Stillwater Santa Fe Depot
Stillwater Santa Fe Depot is located in the United States
Stillwater Santa Fe Depot
LocationPayne County, Oklahoma
Nearest cityStillwater, Oklahoma
Coordinates36°6′41″N 97°3′17″W / 36.11139°N 97.05472°W / 36.11139; -97.05472Coordinates: 36°6′41″N 97°3′17″W / 36.11139°N 97.05472°W / 36.11139; -97.05472
Arealess than one acre
Built bySanta Fe Railway Co.
NRHP reference #80004293[1]
Added to NRHPMarch 3, 1980


On April 22, 1889, when Stillwater, Oklahoma literally became a populous community in a single day,[a] It was at least 20 miles (32 km) from the nearest railroad track. Even before the run, the community had been designated as the county seat of the newly created Payne County, Oklahoma, effective on the day of the run. The Government Land Office for the Unassigned Lands, where participants in the run were required to register their land claims had also been established there.[2]

Soon, a group of leading residents realized that it would be essential for Stillwater to be located on the railroad if it were to survive, let alone thrive. The need was accentuated after the Territorial legislature selected Stillwater as the site for the new Territorial Agricultural & Mechanical University.[b] The legislators began considering selecting another city with better access to rail transportation.The Stillwater supporters began a campaign to get the Eastern Oklahoma Railway Company, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Company, to build a line to the town. By March 1900, the railway had been laid into town.[2]

From 1915 until the end of World War II in 1945, both freight and passenger traffic grew substantially. By 1950, passenger demand decreased substantially, as potential riders switched to using their private automobiles. In 1953, the Santa Fe stopped offering passenger service to Stillwater. By 1958, long distance freight hauling had converted to road transport. Petroleum and its bulk derivatives increasingly moved through pipelines. In that year, the Santa Fe ceased moving freight to and from Stillwater, and closed the depot permanently.[2]

Building description[edit]

The oldest section of the building is a 20 foot (6.1 m) by 75 foot (23 m) frame structure, that served as both freight office and passenger depot. On the east side, facing the railroad track, were four doors, two windows, plus a bay window with three glass panes, The exterior was covered with horizontal wood panels. The roof had three gables and wooden shingles, two brick chimneys, and valleys over the bay window.[2]

The railroad constructed an adjoining depot building in 1915. This building was 100 feet (30 m) by 20 feet (6.1 m), with exterior walls covered by red brick, with masonry and wood trim. The north end of the new structure was left open, serving as an open-air waiting room. The new structure also has a gable roof, covered with green-glazed terra cotta shingles, and eaves that extend beyond the walls.[2]

Concurrently with the new construction, the 1900 building was modified by replacing the bay window with a double door, while the ticket window and door were covered with siding.[2]

A brick sidewalk surrounds the entire building and extends 200 feet (61 m) farther north. The bricks are the same as used for the walls of the 2015 structure.[2]

The entire depot complex sits on a plot less than one acre in size. The street address is 400 East 10th Street.[2]

Present status[edit]

Long-time Stillwater resident Leon Wood read an article in the Stillwater News-Press in 1991 reporting that the old station would soon be auctioned to the highest bidder. He recruited four other residents and persuaded them to help him raise funds to buy the property. They approached the city commissioners, asking them to buy the depot temporarily until they located someone who take permanent ownership and preserve the building. The city commission declined to make such an offer. The consortium secured a meeting with an official of BancFirst, and made the same proposal. The banker authorized a temporary loan that would meet their needs and told them to go ahead and submit a bid, which was accepted. Within two weeks, Wood and his consortium had met with officials of Kappa Kappa Psi (KKPsi) & Tau Beta Sigma (TBS).[3] [4] The former organization is a national band fraternity, while the latter is a national band sorority. The two organizations, which shared office space in a building on the OSU campus, were already searching for a site off campus for their national headquarters. Best of all, only minor internal remodeling was necessary to convert the station into suitable office space. A deal was quickly made that relieved Wood and his consortium of their financial obligation. KKPsi andTBS still occupy the old depot.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ This was the day of the famous Land Rush of 1889.
  2. ^ This school, since renamed as Oklahoma State University, still has its main campus in Stillwater.


  1. ^ Stillwater Santa Fe Depot March 3, 1980
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Blackburn, Bob (August 1, 1972). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form: Stillwater Santa Fe Depot". National Park Service. Retrieved August 5, 2017. and 3 photos
  3. ^ a b Metz, Stephanie. "Stillwater railroad brings memories." O" September 12, 2012. Accessed August 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Stillwater Station". Kappa Kappa Psi & Tau Beta Sigma. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
Preceding station   Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe   Following station
Arkansas City – Shawnee
toward Shawnee