A brief history of the Legal Tender Saloon & Eating House, Lamy New Mexico
Lamy is Founded
Lamy founded by AT&SF Railroad 18 miles from Santa Fe, named for Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy. A spur line is built to Santa Fe, but the main line heads for Albuquerque.
First Lamy train station built, of wood. Brown & Manzanares Company builds mercantile across from the train station. This would eventually become the Legal Tender of today.
Saloon added to mercantile
Saloon added to mercantile, with an oak bar - claim is it’s imported from Germany but we’re pretty sure it is a Brunswick Bar from USA.
Pflueger General Merchandise
John Pflueger buys the store & saloon, renames Pflueger General Merchandise.
Santa Fe Railway builds lunchroom adjacent to tracks, operated by Fred Harvey.
Most of Lamy burns down
Lamy Almost Wiped Out
The town of Lamy was swept by fire yesterday evening and everything destroyed except the Santa Fe Depot.
New Train Station
Santa Fe Railway replaces 1881 wooden depot with current station.
El Ortiz Hotel
Santa Fe Railway builds El Ortiz Hotel to replace lunchroom, design by Louis Curtiss with interiors by Mary Colter, operated by Fred Harvey.
El Ortiz Hotel Expanded
El Ortiz is remodeled and expanded, a lunchroom & counter is added.
Spur Line Railroad
Spur line railroad Lamy to Santa Fe discontinues service.
There is a fire in El Ortiz.
El Ortiz closes, demolition dates vary from 1942 - 1945.
Pink Garter Saloon
Mercantile restored & reopened as Pink Garter Saloon by Carolyn Yorston (nee Teel). Carolyn came to SF every year for the opera. Teel’s owned the ranch that is now El Dorado. Mezzanine seated 40 and had custom carpet with pink garters.
The Legal Tender
Pink Garter remodeled & renamed The Legal Tender by RO Anderson (ARCO founder), Americana dining room added. Tom Denton married RO’s daughter, built house next door, divorced & closed restaurant.
LT For Sale
Legal Tender for sale, ad in Santa Fe Republican.
Purchased for $400K by Ron Taylor & Amy Cort (married 1983) from Tom Denton, who presumably got it in divorce settlement.
LT Historic Place
Legal Tender added to National Register of Historic Places. Some of DH Lawrence’s ashes are in the yard. The train was late & urn got spilled before it headed to Taos.
Legal Tender 7-Days/wk.
Ron & Amy divorce but stay biz partners. Legal Tender operated seven days a week.
1984 – 1993 as a Santa Fe meeting place. Jack Palance & Carol Burnette met there. Amy made a video of Joan Rivers & Jerry Hall there. Employee Carolyn Sula from France danced a cancan and taught staff & guests.
Santa Fe Southern
Santa Fe Southern takes over spur line between Lamy & Santa Fe for excursion & charter, runs until 2014.
Legal Tender - New Owner
Legal Tender closes after Christmas, lost to IRS in settlement over back payroll taxes. Purchased by Richard Fisher, who had been a customer & lived in Galisteo at Saddleback Ranch. Fisher invests $1MM in Legal Tender for expansion, new kitchen, leach field & renovations.
Lamy Railroad & History Museum founded.
Talladega Diner Railcar
Talladega Diner railcar (Atlantic Coast line) acquired by Alan Anderson & Sam Latkin. The diner is placed adjacent to the Lamy depot, restored by Michael Gintert, and donated to the Museum.
Richard Fisher dies, Legal Tender property & furnishings donated to Museum by Richard Fisher’s heirs.
Model of Lamy
Model of Lamy circa 1940 constructed by Model Railroad Club of Santa Fe in Legal Tender dining room. Fire sprinkler system installed in 2011.
Santa Fe County
Santa Fe County approves zoning for restaurant, beer & wine saloon & gift shop. Legal Tender Restaurant leased from Museum and reopens in March. Property sporadically open as museum and for dining or events.
Adobe annex (sometime apartment & brothel) east of saloon is demolished.
Legal Tender Upkeep
Exterior repairs & painting.
Legal Tender Lamy LLC
Legal Tender donated by Lamy Railroad & History Museum to Winslow Arts Trust and leased to Legal Tender Lamy LLC (historic preservationist Allan Affeldt). Extensive renovations and remodeling underway. Model railroad donated to new Mexico History Museum.
Legal Tender Reopened
Legal Tender reopened September by Murphy O’Brien and Allan Affeldt as very successful restaurant, three-days per week to start. Allan acquires liquor license, business licenses, zoning is updated, more renovations, bathrooms rebuilt etc.
Shut down due to COVID in March 2020.
Legal Tender Reopened
Legal Tender reopened October 2021 by Allan Affeldt with manager/chef Sean Sinclair. Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and special events. Severe Covid staffing limitations. More extensive renovations: plumbing, ADA ramp at hillside, new grease trap etc.
Sky Railway begins running Santa Fe – Lamy train December 2021, including brunch trains with Legal Tender.
Legal Tender Endowment
Sean Sinclair moves to Las Vegas NM to concentrate on Castaneda and other projects.
Allan Affeldt purchases Legal Tender from Winslow Arts Trust to create an endowment and make further improvements. Façade is beautifully repainted by Tom Hyland. Search is on for a team to reopen.
A New Team
July/August. Murphy O’Brien again teams with Allan Affeldt to reopen the Legal Tender!