As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. In Colorado, that may or may not be the case, as our spring weather is so unpredictable! For this month’s posting, we are celebrating spring and all that comes with it, from flowers and baby animals to Easter and baseball. There are certainly foods associated with springtime, especially when it comes to Easter… dyed, hard-boiled eggs, chocolate, and the centerpiece of the Easter dinner table – a deliciously sweet-and-salty glazed ham.

For this month’s post, we are sharing a baked ham recipe from the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (ATSF). The ATSF had its roots in Kansas and New Mexico back in 1859, but reached Colorado by 1873. Ultimately, the ATSF would reach central and southeastern Colorado, with major stops in Denver, Pueblo, Trinidad, Colorado Springs, and La Junta.

Figure 1 Postcard showing ATSF system map, allowing traveler to mark “X” from where they mailed the card. Colorado Railroad Museum collection.

There were several Fred Harvey establishments within these areas, which proved to be exciting destinations with wonderful culinary experiences for passengers. Harvey Houses, like El Otero Hotel in La Junta, and the Cardenas Hotel in Trinidad were not just watering holes along the track, but destinations in and of themselves. Of the Harvey Houses, the Cardenas was particularly desired by young women hoping to become Harvey Girls, as the location was right on the banks of the Purgatoire River.

Figure 2 Postcard of Cardenas Hotel in Trinidad.

Fred Harvey joined forces with ATSF in 1876 when he started the first of his “eating houses” in Topeka, Kansas. From there, the ATSF and Fred Harvey became closely affiliated with one another. Harvey was considered the father of the chain restaurant in America, and he was incredibly successful due to his strong business ethic. While some of his behaviors were draconian, such as pulling tablecloths out from under place settings he deemed imperfect, thus forcing his staff to clean up the mess and start over, the passengers only saw the flawless end-results. To keep customers happy and encourage their return to his establishments, Harvey never served the same meal along the same route. Instead, he would ensure each Harvey House sourced local ingredients and recipes, so that travelers would really experience the fruits of the land through which they traveled.

Figure 3 Cartoon showing popularity of Fred Harvey restaurants along the Santa Fe.

Undoubtedly, holiday meals were served in Harvey Houses along the ATSF, so an Easter ham may well have been on the menu. We know from our collection of ATSF and Fred Harvey menus at the museum that baked, sugar-cured ham was a popular luncheon item, whether on a sandwich, served as a steak, or as part of a deviled ham salad. No matter how you eat it, we hope you enjoy preparing this Baked Ham with Llewellyn Sauce. As Fred Harvey, ever the perfectionist supposedly said on his deathbed, “Don’t slice the ham too thin!”

Figure 4 Santa Fe menu from the Colorado Railroad Museum collection.

Figure 5 Cover of menu from Figure 3. Colorado Railroad Museum collection.

ATSF Baked Ham with Llewellyn Sauce
This sauce is suitable for baking with ham prepared by any method.

2 oranges
1 lemon
6 bay leaves
12 whole cloves
12 whole allspice
¼ lb. sugar
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup flour
3 cups water
1 cup tomato puree
1 5-lb. fully cooked ham
1 cup claret wine

Squeeze the juice of the oranges and lemon into a roasting pan. Add rinds of 1 orange and the lemon, broken into pieces. Mix next eight ingredients together in roasting pan. Following the recipe for the [size of] ham you’ve chosen, place ham in roasting pan with the sauce mixture and bake for length of time indicated. Remove when cooked through. Strain remaining liquid from roasting pan into a saucepan. Over medium heat, add claret wine and stir to mix well. Simmer uncovered until mixture is warmed through. Place a small amount of sauce on meal plate, arrange a serving of the sliced ham over the sauce, and then add a generous spoonful of the sauce on top.

From Dining By Rail: The History and the Recipes of America’s Golden Age of Railroad Cuisine by James D. Porterfield.

Past Dining on the Rails Posts:
Dining on the Rails: CRI&P’s New England Boiled Dinner
Dining on the Rails: A Sweet Treat for your Valentine!
Dining on the Rails: Black Eyed Peas!
Dining on the Rails: Eggnog
Dining on the Rails: Happy Thanksgiving!
Dining on the Rails: Union Pacific Apple Pie
Dining on the Rails, August 2020
Dining on the Rails, July 2020
Dining on the Rails, June 14, 2020
Dining on the Rails, June 7, 2020
Dining on the Rails, May 31, 2020
Dining on the Rails, May 24, 2020
Dining on the Rails, May 17, 2020
Dining on the Rails, May 10, 2020
Dining on the Rails, May 3, 2020
Dining on the Rails, April 26, 2020
Dining on the Rails, April 19, 2020
Dining on the Rails, April 12, 2020


Come Hitch a Ride

15-acre railyard with over 100 locomotives is waiting for you to explore. 


17155 W. 44th Avenue
Golden, CO 80403

Office hours

Open Daily
9:00am – 5:00pm

Call us

(800) 365-6263

Let's get connected

Come Visit Us