Monday, February 27, 2012

2011 Road Trips – Railroad Depots Along the Way

Here is a bit of information about and related photos for 3 depots we ran across during our late sumer/early fall New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia road trip plus our trip to St. Louis in October...

This is the former Norfolk and Western Railroad Depot in the center of Boyce Virginia.  The first trains came to Boyce in 1881, with the Shenandoah Valley Railroad providing the service…and an earlier station was built.  In 1886, 3,235 passengers caught the train in Boyce and 3,035 arrived here on the train. 
Later in the 19th century, Norfolk &Western absorbed the Shenandoah Valley Railroad and in the early part of the 20th century, N&W decided that it needed to build a new wooden station.
The local community didn’t like the idea of a regular ‘wooden’ depot, so a fund drive was initiated in order to build a ‘classy’ structure.  Apparently, some of the landowners, fox hunters and ‘horse people’ in the surrounding area had a bit of spare change and the depot shown above was the result of their efforts.  This stone and stucco building was completed in 1913.  It had all of the amenities…fancy waiting rooms and bathrooms for both white and black customers. 

This is an early photo of the ‘new’ N&W Boyce depot with its enormous 400’ long covered passenger train shed.  This station was closed and passenger service ceased in 1953.  It was used as the town’s post office until the 1980’s.  Since then, it has found life as the home of a local charity, a restaurant, the local historical society and a woodworking shop. 

Currently the depot is owned by the Railway Mail Service Library…a major collection of materials related to postal en-route distribution history.  The collection contains information about the Railway Mail Service; Seapost; the Railway Post Office, and; the Highway Post Office.  Address: 117 East Main Street, Boyce Virginia.  Phone: 540-837-9090.  For more information, go to: www.railwaymailservicelibrary.org.  


This passenger depot is located in Eagle Rock Virginia.  The town sits at the spot on the map where the Richmond & Allegheny Railroad and the Craig Valley Line converged.  In the early days, the area prospered due to its production from a number of lime kilns.  It’s also the location of the uppermost lock on the James River and Kanawha Canal…a project endorsed and supported by George Washington. 

This station was built in the 20th century by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad…now CSX.  The unincorporated town of Eagle Rock has seen some bad times.  In 1917 and again in 1952, whole residential and business districts were wiped out by fire.  In the flood of 1985, virtually all of the businesses on Railroad Avenue except the bank were destroyed. 

This former depot in Waterloo Illinois turned out to be difficult to research and its still a bit of a mystery to me.  FYI, Camp Wartburg is a thrift shop operated by Lutheran Family Services. 

The questions I still have are:
#1 – Was this depot built and operated by the East St. Louis & Suburban Railroad?  It went out of business in the 1930’s, but it did serve Waterloo.
#2 – Was this depot built and operated by the East St. Louis, Columbia and Waterloo Railroad? (14 trains per day!) It too was an interurban railway that shut down in the 1930’s.
#3 – Or, was this depot built by the Mobile & Ohio Railroad…later, the Gulf, Mobile & Northern?  That main line railroad operated trains from Mobile and New Orleans up through eastern Illinois, into St. Louis and then on up to Chicago.

Actually, I would prefer to think that the Waterloo station was served by the Gulf, Mobile & Northern’s “Rebel” Streamliner shown above. (Pictured at Murphysboro Illinois) The other railroads mentioned were basically interurban lines and while they are a bit more mysterious…lost in time, they probably wouldn’t have invested the money needed to build a nice solid brick station like the one in Waterloo.

Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

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