Wakefield, VA train order office

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jan 24 10:19:19 EST 2013

On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 7:59 AM, Daniel wrote:

Two other stations that originally had second story towers were Wytheville

> and Christiansburg (Cambria). The designs were apparently fairly similar;

> the major difference being that the Wytheville station was built of brick

> and Christiansburg of timber. Both stations were built in the early 1870s.

> The towers were located at one end and centered along the length of the

> building, not offset like at Rural Retreat.




> The tower room may have served to give the station agent a view of the

> tracks. However, the roof arrangement at Christiansburg (and presumably

> Wytheville) hinders this theory. The back wall of the tower room doesn’t

> have enough free area to fit a full height window and still clear the roof.

> It is possible that a small “porthole” window could have been installed,

> but that would not have matched the rest of the architecture and doesn’t

> seem likely.




> I’ll mention that I have found no drawings or photographs of the 1873

> Wytheville station.


The Christiansburg station is still standing in Cambria and it still has
its tower. It was a passenger and freight station until the "new" passenger
station (which also still stands) opened on September 3, 1906. The
"Farmville" type station served both the N&W and the Virginia Anthracite
Coal & Railway Co. (the "Huckleberry" later bought by the N&W to become the
Blacksburg Branch). The original station then became exclusively the
freight station serving Christiansburg and the surrounding area. From past
discussions with Jim Dorsett, the space in the tower was an office for the
freight agent. The station was "shortened" (after it went out of service to
the N&W) in 1981 when a box car on the Hucklebery track (runs behind the
passenger station) was run into the end of the wooden station by a set of
wayward helper engines. Rather than repair the damage, part of the building
was demolished and a new end installed. The station was obtained by Jim and
Helen Dorsett (both now deceased), publishers of *The Scale Cabinetmaker*,
and renovated and restored, staying off a demolition order that had been
posted for the building. They ran their publishing business out of the
front of the station and eventually converted the rear portion of the
freight room into living quarters. Their daughter now lives there and
operates the Cambria Toy Station in the building.

Photos of the station couldn't be found in a search of the VT archives or
the N&W Historical Society archives. But there are several photos in a
history of the station found at
http://www.historiccambria.com/History.htmClicking through other pages
on that site results in more details and
photos. There is also an explanation of why the back wall of the tower is
the way it is. When the new passenger station was opened and this station
became freight-only, "The freight section was cut away from the passenger
section and raised 25 inches, creating the existing short gable on the west
end of the freight room. A problem with rot under the front section
(waiting rooms) was solved by cutting 14 inches off the entire bottom of
the passenger rooms."

Bruce in Blacksburg
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