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Crew Museum, Appomattox, Virigina Railway

Adventurers in the Appalachia


My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland


Chapter Eleven

Crew Railroad Museum

 Appomattox

Virginia Railway Roanoke Station


 August 1, 2018

Wednesday

by

Robin Bowers


Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.


Comments are appreciated at...yr.mmxx@gmail.com





    We left the Capital City's Knights Inn and headed up US 1 to Interstate 85 north with a stop to refuel the car for the final time and breakfast at MacDonald's in South Hills, Virginia. From here it was a short trip on the Interstate 85 to VI 46 to US 460 that took us to Crewe.


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Virginia's gold.

The Crewe Railroad Museum 8/1/2018

    The Crewe Railroad Museum is located on Highway 460 in the heart of town, four miles from the junction of 360/460. In the yard climb on a diesel engine, a caboose, and our steam engine 606 that has recently arrived. View a baggage cart and other railroad articles that were used. In the station, enjoy a room full of pictures and artifacts with their history. We have a display of the Crewe Roundhouse and trains of the steam era by Al Gerard of Washington, N.C. and a model train layout by Ron Timma of Jetersville, VA to delight the young and old railroad buffs alike! During the month of December every year we have a Holiday and Christmas Layout Tour planned to include our trains and a 50 ft layout that is fantastic.

    Chris had contacted the museum that we were coming this morning at 10:00 AM but no one from their group showed up. This is only the third time in all his trips that there were no shows! So Chris said we would just take pictures through the fence. While we would not get to see what was in the station building, this was our only option here today.

Crewe Museum visit.

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Across the driveway from the  museum we found out about Robert E. Lee's retreat. Lots of Civil War memorabilia in this state.

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Norfolk Western 2-4-0  606.

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Norfolk and Western coach 1723 Powhatan Arrow.

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After shooting through and around the fence, I walked across the highway for some more photos.

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N & W box car 604143 and N & W caboose 518501

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N & W GP-7u 2185, N & W triple bay hopper 26004 and N & W box 5187704. I then returned to the museum grounds.

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The Powhatan Arrow coach car.
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N & W hand car.

We left Crewe and headed westerly on US 460.

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US 460.

    As we were traveling on US 460 with Chris driving and me looking at the map to orientate myself  as to my location as this was all new terrain to me, I saw that we were going to be going right past historic Appomattox Court House. I asked him if he had been to see it before. As he hadn't seen it and I have always wanted to and this was as close as we have ever been to it, so we decided to stop at a place that was a very big part of our not so far past.

Appomattox Court House


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app court


court 2





court 4

With our map we began our tour of the grounds.

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Isbell House.

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McLean House (surrender site).

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Appomattox County Jail.

Completed by 1867 this "new" county jail replaced the first jail which burned in December 1864.

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Appomattox County Courthouse.

The original county courthouse, built in 1846, burned in 1892. None of the events of the surrender took place here.


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Side view of courthouse.

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Clover Hill Tavern.

Built in 1819 and the oldest village structure, this is where the Federals printed the parole passes for Confederate soldiers.

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The tavern with the painted blue ceiling.

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Tavern Guesthouse on left, Tavern Kitchen in center and Slave Quarters on right.

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Tavern Kitchen (bookstore).

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Slave Quarters (restrooms).


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Display in tavern for the printing of the parole passes for Confederate soldiers.

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Before I left, I asked the soldiers of the Blue and the Gray for their photo and they gave me this pose. From here I walked over to McLean House.

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Meeks Store.

Constructed in 1852; at the time of surrender Francis Meeks operated a general store and post office here.


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The McLean House.

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After entering the parlor is on the left.


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Just like in the picture. I remember first seeing this picture in a grade school history class. Never dreamed I would be standing in that very room. So glad we were able to make this stop.

From the parlor I walked around the house and the upstairs rooms.

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McLean House kitchen.

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McLean House slave quarters.

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View of rear of McLean House.


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Front of McLean House

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Woodson Law Office.

John Woodson bought this office in 1856 and practiced law here until he joined the Confederate Army and died of disease in 1864.


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Meeks' outbuildings.

I met up with Chris in the parking lot and we headed out for our final miles back to Roanoke.

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View on US 460.

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Going through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Virginian Railway Passenger Station

    After arriving in Roanoke and then going south in the city we arrived at the last official stop on this southern leg of our Appalachia Adventure.
 
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    The Virginian Railway Passenger Station, also known as the Virginian Station is a former rail station listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the South Jefferson neighborhood of the independent city of Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.A. Located at the intersection of Jefferson Street SE and Williamson Road, the Virginian Station served as a passenger station for the Virginian Railway between 1910 and 1956. The station was the only station constructed with brick along the entire length of the Virginian's 608 miles network. Severely damaged by fire on January 29, 2001, current plans for its restoration are underway.

History

    Standing at the division point between the New River Division and the Norfolk Division of the Virginian Railway, construction commenced on the Virginian Station in September 1909 and was complete by early 1910. Measuring 162 feet long by 32 feet wide, the station consists of a pair of one-story buildings, connected by a covered overhang and features a tile roof, a blond brick facade and terrazzo floors.

    Overshadowed by the larger Norfolk & Western Railway, this would serve passengers traveling between West Virginia and Norfolk through 1956 when passenger service was discontinued. By 1959, Virginian would merge with Norfolk & Western, and the former station would be leased out and subsequently operated as a feed and seed store.

    By the late 1990s, the station was threatened with demolition to make way for an expansion of the Carilion bio-tech campus resulting in its placement on the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation's 2000 list of Most Endangered Sites. Operating as the Depot Country Store, on January 29, 2001, the former station suffered severe damage as a result of a fire. Despite the extensive damage, the station was cited for both its unique design and contribution to the railroad industry in Roanoke, and has been listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register since April 2003 and the National Register of Historic Places since June 2003.

    A grass-roots effort to rehabilitate the former station into office space for the Roanoke Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society in addition to additional leaseable office space is underway.

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Norfolk Southern DPU's on coal trains in the old Virginian Railway yard with trolley on bridge above.


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    From here we drove over to the Virginia Transportation Museum so I could buy a N & W 611 red hat. I have become a big fan of 611since seeing it in person in Spencer, NC. We cleaned out the  rental car and then drove to the Hotel Roanoke where we checked in and took our bags to the room. Then we returned our good performing rental car at Enterprise and they gave us a ride back to the Hotel Roanoke.


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    Arriving at the Hotel Roanoke we went up to the room to pick up our cameras and we exited the hotel, crossing on the bridge and went to the Roanoke Amtrak station to hopefully catch some Norfolk Southern train action in Roanoke. And it didn't take long for some action.


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N & W headquarters building on right and Amtrak platform on left on tracks.

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Building on left is O. Winston Link Museum in former N & W passenger station, Roanoke Shops center background.

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N & W Headquarters with a peek of our hotel roof on right.

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Martin Luther King walkway in background over the tracks.

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Norfolk Southern 1004 west. This train had NS SD70ACe 1004 and NS ES44AC 8019.

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Norfolk Southern 7529 east. This train had NS 7529, NS 8348 and NS 8106.

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As this train was passing by, I walked up on the MLK walkway to get a different view.

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Care to guess as to what the cargo is?

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Spires of St. Andrews Catholic Church keeping watch.

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Interesting architecture; purpose or style?

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    This restored 1914 warehouse is adjacent to Roanoke's historic farmers market, first opened in 1862. The atrium features a 6,000 gallon living coral reef aquarium, two jellyfish aquaria joined by a seahorse estuary and a butterfly garden on the fifth floor. Several independent cultural organizations are housed here and include the Mill Mountain Theatre, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, History Museum of Western Virginia and Science Museum of Western Virginia. Located at the foot of the pedestrian bridge.
 

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As we approached the pedestrian bridge, the rain was sprinkling and we rode the escalator to the bridge level. Looking up we saw this roundhouse turntable artwork

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Threatening rain clouds.


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Some old photos of the Hotel Roanoke

    Just as we returned to our room, the sky opened up and we had a good downpour. As dinner time approach, our choices were severely limited. We had no car to drive somewhere and we've not seen any eating places within walking distance from the hotel so lets explore what is available on site.  Option one: the Regency Room, the AAA Four Diamond Rated Regency Room features seasonal, French inspired Southern Cuisine. As much as we wanted to taste their haut cuisine, alas, we had left our dinner coats back home so it was on to option two: The Pine Room Lounge with a pub food menu. Chris ordered the chicken wings and I enjoyed their Turkey Pubhouse Sandwich with bacon and a ice tea drink. After he finished his meal, Chris returned to the room to work on his reports. Meanwhile I ordered bread pudding with rum sauce for dessert. I sat for a while enjoying my dessert and watching the folks come and go. There was a pool table in the next door room creating traffic to the bar and back. My hunger pains satisfied I wanted to check out the rest of the property. The outside swimming pool is tops. Can't wait to return and spend time here at the pool and water jets spa. The fitness center here was in keeping with the rest of the hotel, all top drawer. Then I walked over to the Conference Center comprising various ballrooms. All done in a modern style. People would enjoy meeting here and I can see why the hotel is the center for Roanoke social life.

    I returned to the room, a very nice room, just a tad smaller to the one on our last stay. One of the niceties of the rooms was the bathroom mirror that didn't get steamed up when the shower was in use. Now it was time to pack for our early morning departure and our train ride north. Tomorrow night will find us in Dayton, NJ.


Thanks for reading.

Next chapter 12 - Northeast Regional 176 to Wilmington DE and a Amtrak shop tour >>

<<Return to last chapter 10 - Piedmont train: Charlotte to Raleigh 7/31/2018 ***


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Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at .... yr.mmxx@gmail.com