New River Gorge national park depot gets a historical facelift

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New River Gorge national park depot gets a historical facelift
The restored railroad station in the Thurmond National Historic District includes a season park visitor center.

THURMOND, W.Va. — One of the best-known historic structures in the in southern West Virginia has undergone repairs just in time for the 2023 tourist season.

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The historic Thurmond Depot, a seasonal visitor center and active flag stop on the Amtrak Cardinal line through the gorge, is ready for visitors, according to Charles Sellars, superintendent for the national park.

Park maintenance staff work on windows, doors, and siding at the historic Thurmond Depot. (Photo courtesy National Park Service)

“Restoring key historic structures like the Thurmond Depot remains a priority,” Sellars said.

“The depot, more so than any other site we have in the park, helps us bring alive the transportation story tied so closely to the region’s rich coal heritage.”

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A crew from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center traveled to the New River Gorge to conduct a workshop with the park maintenance staff at the depot.

The workshop, which focused on the fundamentals of historic preservation, is part of a national program called Campaign for the Historic Trades: Save-Our-Skills.

Staff worked on the preservation and repair of windows, doors, and wood siding on the 119-year-old structure, scraping off old paint, applying new, and treating applications to make a cohesive appearance to the historic fabric of the building.

The restoration was the first phase of the preservation project. Park maintenance staff will continue to work on the historic structure during summer and fall.

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Moss Rudley, superintendent for the Historic Preservation Training Center, said his staff enjoys teaching others while working to preserve structures.

“It’s great to be able to maintain our buildings while teaching trades to others—investing in long traditions both for the park and our nation,” Rudley said.

First built in 1891, the original depot burnt in 1899 and was replaced by the current structure, completed in 1904. In 1910, the depot had more freight revenue than any on the entire Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, serving as a major entryway to the New River Coalfields.

In 1984, railroad offices closed and the depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Park Service began restoration and in 1995 the depot reopened to the public as a park visitor center.

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Today the building is open to the public daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is staffed by park rangers and volunteers. The site also serves as a flag stop for Amtrak, who recently completed work on an accessible platform for train travelers.

For updates and more information about the national park and preserve, visit or follow the park on social media.

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