N&W station master houses still standing

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Jan 3 09:46:20 EST 2017


I have to question exactly what structure you are speaking of. To the best of my knowledge, the N&W never had a "Station master's house" anywhere on the railroad, I've never seen the first mention of such in any documentation. The closest thing to that existing, to my limited knowledge, is a house in Salem, that was (and still is) located just to the east of the original N&W/AM&O depot that stood at the Union Street Crossing. The original purpose of the building, short of being a house, is unknown, but it was on the railroad property maps for many years and finally sold or given to the family living there now. It easily dates to the 1880-90s. I only suspect that it might have been some form of home for an official like an agent. However, interestingly enough, it does NOT show in the 1919 building lists, but is shown on valuation maps that date many years afterward.

Generally speaking, to accommodate a station agent in remote territory on the N&W, they constructed a two story depot with agent (and family) quarters on the second floor. Those that come to mind in Virginia are Pepper, Waiteville and Paint Bank as well as a number in West Virginia, including War, Panther, Cooper, Maybeury and more that I cannot recall at the moment. 

There was, however, a fairly common structure called a "standard house for section foremen" that were built to standard plans No. L-32, sheets 1-4. The first variation on these houses was, I assume, a simple one story structure. I am also assuming they were changed to a two story version with the revised plans issued in 1937, which is what I have on hand.

The 1919 building list shows a one story section foreman house at Island Ford measuring 31 x 42.5 feet as structure H-1182-A with a tin roof at MP 118. Just a bit further on down the road, another one story frame section foreman's house, measuring 31 x 37 was at Port Republic, MP 127.
Further south, at MP 147 stood a two story frame section foreman's house, measuring 32.4 x 37.2 at Lyndhurst. At MP 153, a 16 x 32 section foreman's house.

Anyway, that gives you an idea of the variety of structures and their commonality.

Now, to you actual question, how many exist today? To the best of my knowledge, there is no definitive list of such. It may be harder to recognize them today, as many have been modified with siding, or new windows, etc. etc. I can say with fair authority (having not been to a few of these places that recently), there is one in Salem right next to the track that has the distinctive porch trim in place, but has been added on to. There is one at Vicker that has been resided, there is one at Dublin, Elliston and Richlands. I am certain there are more. 

Personally, I'd love to see a section foreman's house preserved as such, with no modifications, but once they were sold off to private owners, modifications were and are still common.

Ken Miller

On Jan 2, 2017, at 9:55 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:

> My name is Alan Mende, and in 1992 I wrote a two-part article in Railroad Model Craftsman on the station master's house at Island Ford, VA.  The house is on the property of the Coors Brewing Company in Elkton, VA, and I have been led to believe that the company plans to demolish the building.  At least one individual in the company believes this is a mistake and is trying to generate interest in its preservation.  Can you tell me how many other station master houses might still remain, especially in their original location?
> Kindest regards,
> Alan Mende
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