Rural Retreat Station

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Jan 22 15:50:27 EST 2013

Mr Akers,

I am doing some academic research on the evolution of vernacular
architecture styles on N&W passenger stations and find your questions, not
to mention the work you are doing on the Rural Retreat project, quite
interesting. I might be of some help to you. Changes in building materials,
the evolution of locomotive technologies, and legal and cultural
institutions such as Jim Crow, all impacted station design and construction.

Drop me a line off list and we can chat. I need to get down to see your
station in any case.


Gerard J. Fitzgerald
Gfitzgerald111 at

Message: 3
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 08:39:01 -0800 (PST)
From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
Subject: Re: Wakefield, VA train order office
To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at>
<1358872741.29049.YahooMailRC at>
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Your picture of Wakefield triggered questions for the group.? I've attached
couple of photo composites to illustrate the following.? The Wakefield
architecture is similar to Rural Retreat, of Italianate design:? low roof,
tower(s), ornate trim, rounded windows.? The early 1900's photos of both
two changes that I am interested in.? First, both early depots had 2-story
towers (water?) that had disappeared by the 1940's.? Second, both depots
the addition of city water toilet facilities that were 'tacked on' and
bother to replicate the rounded windows.? Wakefield added their toilets
the main entrance appears to have been, while Rural Retreat added its
toilets to
the northeast corner.?

Questions for the group:
1.? Is there a recorded history of changes the N&W made to its depots?
2.? Does the disappearance of water towers correspond to a changeover in
locomotive design or some other system-wide change?
3.? Was there a particular year or program when toilets were added??

It is significant to me that the N&W did a very professional (and
makeover of its depots when it phased out the towers.

Thanks in advance,
Frank Akers

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