Park Street: 1936-1942 Question

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Mon Jul 30 17:00:58 EDT 2012

Perhaps the answer may be found in the local newspapers reporting of the fire, since we know the date of the fire it should be easy to find a paper dating from the fire, in a local library.

Andy J

From: NW Mailing List
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 3:13 PM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: Re: Park Street: 1936-1942 Question

It has taken me a while, but I finally found the March 1934 N&W Magizne, which has a fairly detailed account of the fire which destroyed the Park Street Offices on March 1, 1934. The sub-headline says "Headquarters of Radford And Shenandoah Divisions Suffer Severe Damage In Night Blaze On March 1".

In my mind, I thought I was searching for the two relocated Dispatchers offices. The Shenandoah Dispatchers went to "GM" telegraph office in the General Office Building, and the Radford Divdision Dispatchers went to the telegraph offices at "DO" in the 12th Street office in Roanoke Yard. Amazingly, the Dispatchers grabbed their train sheets and set up their connections at their respective "new" (temeporary) offices within THIRTY minutes after the fire! Both divisions only experienced a 30 minute delay due to the fire. Today, it would take thirty days to set up all the committee meetings to study the question.

They were later moved to their new permanent locations. The Shenandoah Divn to the Freight Station, and the Radford Divn. to the fifth floor of the east wing of the General Office Building. Also, the recently installed Dispatcher controls for switches and signals at North Roanoke were destroyed, The North Roanoke telegraph office was re-opened and equipment installed for local controlled by telegraphers who were immediately sent to that location.

THEN, when I re-read Abe's question, he asked about the Park Street Yard Office, and where it went after the fire. A-hemmm! Well, my question is ..... where WAS the Yard Office before the fire? The Magazine article NO WHERE mentions that the Park St. Y.O. was located in the building that burned! NO mention of the yard office being relocated. NO mention of it at all! Perhaps the yard was run from 12th Street? I don't know. Any ideas?

Jeff Sanders

From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
To: N&W Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2012 11:42 PM
Subject: Park Street: 1936-1942 Question

I have a question about the location of the Park St (Roanoke) Yard Office between 1936 and 1942.

The original office at Park Street was the circa-1882 Shenandoah Valley two-story frame building just east of Huff Mill, situated between the Westbound Main Line and Shenandoah Avenue. The yardmaster was downstairs and the Shenandoah Division Train Dispatcher(s) was/were upstairs. That building burned in 1936 (I think) and the Shenandoah Division Train Dispatchers were moved to the Freight Station on Commerce St.

A new, one story brick Park Street Yard Office was built at the time of the general expansion of the yard in 1942. It was located just west of Park Street O.H. bridge, and in the middle of the yard, and was almost identical in appearance to the 15th Street Yard Office (also in the middle of the yard.) Around 1961, a cut of cars got away at 15th St, ran down the hill, derailed and demolished the Park Street brick Yard Office building.

After that mishap, the Park Street Yardmaster and crew register room were moved to the last "Park Street Yard Office" location, a two story brick building immediately west of the spot where Amtrak's tin-hut depot was later constructed, and just a few feet east of the north end of Park St Bridge. This whole area along Shenandoah Ave had been called Huff Mill at one time. Apparently there was indeed a mill there at one time, but the railroad had acquired the property and located its signal shop there in the 1920s. I think the signal shop functioned up until the mid-1950s, and I remember going there once with my father. And I think the two story building which served as the last Park Street Yard Office (and is still standing) was part of the Huff Mill signal department complex.

So here's the question... Between the 1936 burning of the wooden building which housed the Train Diispatchers and the old Park Street Yardmaster, and the construction of the new brick Park Street Yard Office west of Park Street Bridge in 1942, exactly where was the Park Street Yardmaster's Office located ?

I don't think I ever asked this question of any of the "Old Heads" who would have known.

-- abram burnett

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