|Railway Preservation News
|C&O Lewisburg, WV Depot Available for $1
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|Author:||Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:27 am ]|
|Post subject:||C&O Lewisburg, WV Depot Available for $1|
For that hard-to-please history buff or rail fan on your Christmas shopping list, the Lewisburg Historic Landmarks Commission is offering what might be the perfect gift: a 105-year-old railroad depot, available at a well-below Black Friday price.
For an individual interested in moving and restoring the historic depot, “we would probably take $1 for it, once liability issues are taken care of,” said Skip Deegans, of the Lewisburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
The one caveat is that the building must be moved, or disassembled and reassembled, soon. A vote on whether to allow the demolition to proceed is scheduled for Dec. 14.
The Historic Landmarks Commission hopes for the depot to be restored, preferably somewhere in Lewisburg.
“The depot would make a super office, guest house, workshop or home for your model railroad,” Deegans said.
The new depot owner might be entitled to some financial assistance and state tax credits for restoring the structure, located on Echols Drive in the Lewisburg Historic District, he said.
“It’s being used as a residence now, and its owners want to build a new home in the same location,” Deegans said.
Plans to demolish the building came to light during an October meeting of the commission. The homeowner agreed to give the commission two months to find an organization or individual willing to move and restore the structure.
“We contacted every nonprofit we could think of, but none of them had the funds or enough time to do the fundraising needed” to pay for moving and restoring the building, Deegans said. “This is kind of a last-ditch effort to save the depot.”
Built in 1910, the building served as the first Lewisburg passenger and freight depot for the now long-defunct Lewisburg & Ronceverte Railroad.
“The L&R was founded in 1905 to connect Fairlea and Lewisburg to the C&O mainline at Ronceverte,” Deegans said.
Steam-powered Shay locomotives operated on the line for several years, until it was electrified in 1913. The rail link continued to operate until 1931.
The 18-by-40-foot structure is one of the last remaining vestiges of the railroad’s presence. A small section of its former railbed has been converted into a walking and biking trail that passes through a residential section of Lewisburg. Plans are underway to extend it six additional miles, to connect Lewisburg with Ronceverte.
The railroad apparently acquired plans for the depot from the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, based on C&O’s Standard Combination Station No. 1, the first of which was built about 1892. The design featured gingerbread decorations in the gables at each end. The L&R station is believed to have had waiting rooms on each side of an office, with an extension added to handle mail and baggage.
According to Tom Dixon, president of the C&O Historical Society, the L&R depot is the only surviving example of what appears to be a nearly exact C&O Standard No. 1 station.
“It deserves to be preserved as an important artifact of the American railway experience, and a reminder of how Lewisburg attempted to compensate for its not being located on a major railway,” Dixon wrote in a letter to Deegans.
Deegans said the building could be eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
For additional information, interested parties may contact Deegans at 304-646-8475.
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