Land Ownership (was Re: Lofton Wye again)

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Nov 1 22:37:43 EST 2006

I recall reading in the history of the Chesapeake Western that when the
B&O Valley Line was abandoned an enterprising
Roanoke Realtor bought the right of way and sold it back to the prior
owners or their successors (Who often didn't know they didn't own it).

Jeff Cornelius
Two Blocks from the N&W Valley Line

-----Original Message-----
From: nw-mailing-list at
To: nw-mailing-list at
Sent: Mon, 30 Oct 2006 8:47 AM
Subject: Land Ownership (was Re: Lofton Wye again)

At 8:00 AM -0500 10/29/06, Harry wrote:

>John at Buford , Ga.

>Does NS still own the land inside the wye at Lofton ? That's an


>question. As a rule of thumb, if the railroad buys the property, they


>ownership. But back in the 19th century, many landowners contributed


>as an enticement for the railroad to build. In those cases, if the


>abandons, then the land reverts to the property owner.

By right, the land where the Shawsville station sat should have
reverted to the
owners. When the abandoned-by-the-N&W station was burned by vandals in
the late
'70s, I was a reporter with the Radford News Journal. Someone put me
on to the
original deed for the land, recorded in the Montgomery County
courthouse. I did
some digging, called a couple of people in Shawsville and ended up
talking to
Madison Marye (a now-retired state senator, a great storyteller and
politician). He had a family connection to the families that
originally put up
the land for a station to serve the resort at Alleghany Springs.
Madison was
glad to hear he had part ownership of two acres of land in downtown
"that's almost as good as owning 10 acres in downtown Dallas" was close
to what
he said. He went on to point out that after 100 years, it would not be
the time or expense to track down all the descendants and heirs to sign
their interest so a clear title to the land could be established. So
while a
legal document may call for property reversion, it usually isn't an
issue unless
it is a major line abandonment, such as when NS "donated" to the
the North Carolina Branch for what is now the New River Trail. It was
a long
time before details were worked on over one section, which adjacent
claimed to be theirs when the railroad ceased rail operations on the

The deed (a work in progress, there is a diagram I need to scan and I
need to
find my news story in my old clips) can be read at

Bruce in Blacksburg
Bruce in Blacksburg === In the heart of N&W territory. ===

Bruce B. Harper (540)231-4360
University Relations/Web Communications bharper at
Virginia Tech Blacksburg, Virginia 26060
See N&W WWW Page at
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