The 1904 two-story Thurmond Train Depot sits alongside the railroad tracks in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia.
The second depot for Thurmond, WV, it was built after the original station was destroyed by fire. The upper-level housed the signal tower and offices of the dispatcher, trainmaster, and conductor. The Lower level served travelers and included the ticket agent’s office, baggage room, waiting rooms, and snack/newsroom.
A boomtown in the 1900s, Thurmond, West Virginia, was one of the busiest railroad towns along the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Right in the heart of coal country, all the coal mined in the area was brought to Thurmond to be shipped out. Over fifteen passenger trains a day traveled through town, and the depot served around 75,000 visitors a year. When the diesel locomotives came along, and coal was not as widely used or mined, the businesses closed down, and residents moved on.
Today, Thurmond is not much more than a ghost town with only seven residents (2005). Located along the New River, it is currently owned by the National Park Service and part of the New River Gorge National River. Only the depot is still in use; it provides Amtrak service to the area and is the Park’s Visitor Center and Museum.
Like a time capsule, Thurmond still possesses all the characteristics of a 1920s Appalachian coal town. The entire town has been designated a historic district and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Copyright 2020 Susan Rissi Tregoning
September 24th, 2020
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