An Assessment of SignificanceChris WilsonThe single most important factor in the development of Albuquerque between 1880 and 1930, in its transformation from a farming village into a commercial and industrial center, and in its emergence as the leading city of New Mexico was the railroad. Throughout this period, the Santa Fe Railway was the city's leading employer. In addition, its buildings were viewed with community pride as signs of progress and prosperity. Because of the railroad's leading role, these structures are prominent reminders of this important period in Albuquerque's history. In January 1880, three months before the railroad arrived, Albuquerque was designated as the division point between the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe, and the Atlantic and Pacific railroads. The Santa Fe Railroad, like countless other businesses, was caught up in the headlong rush to develop the West after the Civil War. During the 188Os, in particular, the Santa Fe pushed its lines through vast unpopulated areas. In 1896, Edward Ripley was named president of the line, a position he would hold until 1920. This would be the golden era of the Santa Fe, a time when it regained solvency, prospered and grew. Under Ripley, the Santa Fe became a national leader in modern efficiency management and in corporate image-making. The drive for operational efficiency slowly gathered momentum, ultimately finding its dearest expression in a series of new locomotive shops including those in Albuquerque.