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(rshsdepot) Duffields, WV station purchased


DUFFIELDS - An area nonprofit organization recently acquired the rights to the second oldest surviving train station in the United States, with the hope of turning it into a museum.

Duffields Station Inc. finalized the sale on Jan. 19, after securing the station's purchase with the help of Arcadia Building Co. The station was purchased from the previous owners for $25,000, and then it was donated by Don Miller of Arcadia to the Duffields nonprofit agency.

Jack Snyder, president of Duffields Station Inc., said his interest in restoring the historic train station began in August 1993.

Snyder and others interested in railroads, particularly those interested in Duffields Station, formed the nonprofit group in July 2003 with the purpose of purchasing the station and converting it into a museum.

Snyder said railroad technology was vital to America when Duffields Station was constructed in 1839.

"It was the (technology) of the day, like the Internet is now. It was the one thing you didn't dare be without," he said.

The station is not only important to the history of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, but also to the Civil War. Union troops of the 10th Maine unit were garrisoned at Duffields as early as February 1862, according to information provided by Snyder. This garrison was assigned to the station because it was an important resupply point for Union forces, Snyder said.

A battle on June 29, 1864, between Confederate troops commanded by Lt. Col. John S. Mosby and the Union garrison, is just one of many clashes that happened near the site.

"Civil War re-enactors will probably act out Mosby's raid (on Duffields Station) in the future," Snyder said.

Snyder said the archaeological interest of the site will be protected, and he hopes to have archaeology students from Shepherd University help examine the area.

He said he was proud that the second oldest surviving train station in the United States is now in the hands of the public. He hopes to eventually have a museum on the premises, which will be open for special occasions.

Snyder's agency almost missed the opportunity to own the station. Duffields Station Inc. originally made an offer of $13,000 for the building, but the owners were not interested in the sum, and were quickly offered $20,000 by another party.

Luckily for Snyder's group, Miller was able to buy the station for Duffields Station Inc. Miller was involved with the project for several years, ever since he and other people involved with the nearby Harvest Hills subdivision were receptive to the idea of helping restore the station.

After completing the station's sale, Duffields Station Inc. immediately started planning for safety improvements.

John Restaino, one of the vice presidents of Duffields Station Inc., said critical work needs to be done immediately to stabilize the historic structure. He said the wooden lintels that hold the roof up are so rotten they could give way, the stone work needs repair, and the basement is flooded.

"I want to stress how threatened the building is right now," Restaino said.

He said the work on the lintels is the most urgent, and likely should have been completed two years ago. Restaino estimates a $20,000 initial investment will be required just to make the building safe.

"We sometimes underestimate the holding strength of this old wood, but it's getting kind of iffy," he said.

**Forwarded by Alexander D. Mitchell IV
The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org
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End of RSHSDepot Digest V1 #1490

The Railroad Station Historical Society maintains a database of existing
railroad structures at: http://www.rrshs.org