Gaines Group Architects
Chesapeake Western Depot

History on display at the Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot

I love getting a new box of history in the office! Working in the Chesapeake Western Railroad Depot (more posts here, herehere, here) is a true joy. It seems almost every day someone comes in to share their story about the short-line rail, nicknamed the Crooked and Weedy. Here are some of the latest finds. I also have new things on display in our foyer if you want to drop by during business hours to see them. Share your stories about the CW with me – I love learning more about this short-line.

D.W. Thomas in 1926 was hired by W.E.D. Stokes of New York to try to make a last-ditch effort to save the short-line. Mr. Thomas was named the General manager of the CW and was innovative in his approach. He put competing bus lines out of business by cutting his rider fees to one-half cent per mile. The CW became the first 100% radio controlled rail in the country. He also started the CW trucking line to compete with other trucking companies moving into the area. Apparently he even gave out autograph copies of his photo!

Some postcards found in the latest batch of history dropped off include a view of old town, Union Station, Spotswood Country Club, and Rockingham Memorial Hospital.

Anybody know what the going rate for shipping bags of fertilizer. Here is a ticket from 1898 for 260 bags. It seems like $1,277 is a lot of money to move fertilizer in the late 1800’s. The average annual income in 1903 for a railroad wage earner at the time was $593.

Even in the early 70’s the CW struggled to keep people from walking on their rail. This is such a dangerous practice, but it happens every day here in Harrisonburg.

I want to know more about assembly park. Who has a story?

I am sure this was a fun bunch of hard workers. Can anyone tell me more about the Elkton Lead rebuild?

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