Alderson, West Virginia
Alderson, West Virginia
Built in 1896, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Passenger Station in Alderson, West Virginia is the largest of the “C&O Standard Stations” ever constructed on the railroad. The station replaced the original station structure built in 1874, which was located just east of the subject building. Once the 1896 station was placed into service, the 1874 building was enlarged and converted into a freight station and continued to serve in that capacity until 1957, when it was razed and the freight station functions were integrated into the present station.
Distinctive in its architectural style, the 1896 Alderson Depot has board-and-batten sided walls with diagonal beaded-board wainscoting on the lower portion of the exterior walls. The gable ends of the building have distinctive arched ornamentation (vergeboards) with the west end of the station being especially unique, having double gables complete with vergeboards on each. Aside from a 22 foot addition to the baggage section of the station on the east end (built in 1924) and the removal of one exterior doorway and replacement of the original doors in 1957, there has been virtually no change in the exterior of the structure since it was built.
The station continued in railroad use until 1971 when Amtrak took over the nation’s intercity railroad passenger system and Alderson was discontinued as a station stop. In 1977, the Town of Alderson leased the building from the C&O Railway for beautification and storage purposes and has maintained the structure since that time. Amtrak agreed to begin serving Alderson in 1978 and has continued service since that time, with the passenger station waiting room being provided by the Town for the use of Amtrak passengers.
With a Grant from ISTEA in 1993 work began to preserve the deteriorating structure. New foundation, floors, doors and bathrooms were repaired. The exterior has been scraped of old paint and new paint applied. The Depot was deeded to the Town of Alderson in 1999.
The Depot was renovated and dedicated July 5, 2003 and is now used as a C&O Railroad Museum with Alderson memoabilia and a Arts and Crafts gift shop. It is open from 10 AM until 4 PM Monday thru Sat from April until November.
The beaded board walls in the ticket office and other waiting room were replaced with new board to duplicate the old. Original wall is too cut up to repair. This area was restored as closely as possible to the original condition it was in when built. Ducts for Air and Heat will be concealed under the building. Lights, desk, chairs etc were kept as used when built.
Many hours have been spent by Volunteers and donations by many Alderson residents have helped from the beginning of this project. The exterior has been painted the original C&O orange with white and burgundy trim. We are proud of this old Depot and invite you to visit.