Affeldt acquires historic saloon near Santa Fe

Allan Affeldt, the savior of La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona, who is restoring the Castaneda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, recently acquired another historic property south of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Affeldt now owns the Legal Tender restaurant and saloon in the village of Lamy, New Mexico, less than 20 miles south of Santa Fe. He also acquired the Lamy Railroad & History Museum (also in the building) and a nearby Pullman railroad dining car.

The newspaper reported no money was exchanged in the deal. Affeldt acquired the property through a nonprofit group he formed in Arizona.

The Legal Tender, built in 1881, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and donated to the nonprofit railroad museum in 2006, according to the museum’s website. A distinguishing feature is an oaken bar imported from Germany and installed in 1884, according to the site.
The property, renamed the Legal Tender in 1970, was a nightspot popular with servicemen in transit along the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway during World War II. It was called the Pink Garter in those days, according to Affeldt and museum officials. […]

In the meantime, Affeldt is soliciting offers from prospective restaurateurs interested in running the bar and restaurant, he said. The kitchen and dining room are in good shape, he added, and there is a card room, too.

Affeldt stated in a Facebook post the Legal Tender was “perhaps the most beautiful historic saloon in New Mexico.”

Officials associated with the Lamy museum said they were pleased with the deal, noting Affeldt’s track record with restoring historic buildings and resources for doing so.

The newspaper also reported the Castaneda Hotel’s restoration is ahead of schedule. Affeldt may open one wing in October, and the entire hotel may be reopened to the public by summer 2019. Affeldt once anticipated a fall 2019 reopening.

Although Lamy’s population is just 200 people, it’s been a key stop on the Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF) and Amtrak for many years, primarily because engineers during the 19th century found laying track through the mountains around Santa Fe too impractical. A spur line from Lamy to Santa Fe eventually was built.

Lamy sits about eight miles south of the Santa Fe Loop alignment of Route 66, off U.S. 285.

A wild card is Congress is considering ending Amtrak service of its Southwest Chief train in northern New Mexico — a move which would affect La Castaneda and the Legal Tender project. Affeldt probably is gambling the discontinuation of the line won’t happen, or that both places will be enough of a tourist draw to be viable, regardless.

(Images of the Legal Tender restaurant and saloon in Lamy, New Mexico, via Facebook)

One thought on “Affeldt acquires historic saloon near Santa Fe

  1. I visited the Legal Tender in June and was incredibly lucky to stumble into a personally guided tour. The Legal Tender is definitely an impressive place to visit — there’s so much history there. Regrettably, however, I left there feeling less than optimistic about the future of that place as a tourist destination. Tomorrow, Tuesday, July 31st, is supposedly the last day for the stationmaster at Lamy. Amtrak is closing the agency. Trains will still stop, but there will be no services. This is probably a prelude to discontinuance of the “Southwest Chief,” but it’s unlikely that station will be manned again, even if the “SW-Ch” is saved. The problem is this: the first three rules of real estate are: 1) Location, 2) Location, and 3) Location and, as a location, Lamy is remote, remote, and remote. I sure hope that Mr. Affeldt has a few tricks up his sleeve because I rather suspect that the Legal Tender will be a bigger challenge. Certainly the people who own the Santa Fe Southern Railroad haven’t been able to do much with the place. (Not a fair comparison, by the way.)

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