Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lee Hall Depot, Newport News, VA

Completed in 1881, in time for servicing the first passenger train (depicted above) carrying passengers and officials for the centennial of Cornwallis' Surrender in Yorktown that ended the American Revolution, Lee Hall Depot has ramained an eye-catching fixture in the western tip of Newport News, VA. In use through the 1970s, the depot served Chesapeake and Ohio Railway passengers for nearly 100 years. Unfortunately, the building gradually fell into disrepair after its last days in service, although it continues to stand next to CSX Transportation's mainline between the coal terminal at Newport News and Richmond, Virginia. Boarded up and heavily vandalized, it remains neglected next to the busy railroad today.

I am visiting my parents in Newport News for the holidays and decided to photograph the historic depot this afternoon, before it was removed from its original location. I once walked through this building about 15 years ago, when it housed the local N guage model railroader's club. It has since sat empty for the last decade or so....
There's good news to this rather sad looking structure, though. It will be moved and stabilized on a site directly across the train tracks (on the other side of the building from the abandoned tracks pictured above) in the spring of 2007, at which point it will undergo restoration and reopening as a railroad heritage museum. I'm happy to see that this building will potentially stand for at least another 100 years, reminding locals and visitors what was largely responsible for putting Newport News on the map in the first place - the railroad that made possible the eastward tourism industry on the coast and the coal and shipbuilding industries on Newport News' Lower James River Waterfront.

For more information on the Lee Hall Depot restoration project, visit the website LeeHallDepot.org.

4 Comments:

Blogger Phlip said...

Nice pics. Good to hear they will fix it up and put it to use again.

6:21 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Cool. I don't think you had told me about this before.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Brian Burris said...

I'm glad to see the Lee Hall Depot still standing and being renovated. I was station at Langley AFB in Hampton from 1987-91, and was a member of the model railroad that used to be housed in the station. Many memories of standing track side while a coal train passed by or the Amtrak Colonial made a stop. Even a cab ride in a CSX diesel on Sunday afternoon.

10:59 AM  
Blogger scott davidson said...

How about this for a design for a wall painting, in the tried-and-true Art Nouveau style?: http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8BWN3L, by the famous English artist, Audrey Beardsley himself. You can also order a canvas print of the picture from wahooart.com.

11:55 PM  

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