Glen Jean, W.Va. — A crew from the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) recently travelled to New River to conduct a workshop with park maintenance staff at the Thurmond Depot. The workshop, which focuses 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 cohesive in appearance to the historic fabric of the building. This was the first phase of the preservation project. Park maintenance staff will continue to work on the historic structure during summer and fall.
“Restoring key historic structures like the Thurmond Depot remains a priority,” said New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Park Superintendent Charles Sellars. “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.”
HPTC Superintendent Moss Rudley stated, “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”
Built in 1891, the original depot burnt in 1899 and was replaced by the current structure, completed in 1904. In 1910, Thurmond 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.
Today the building is open to the public daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, staffed by NPS Rangers and Volunteers. The site also serves as a flag stop for Amtrak, who recently completed work on an accessible platform for train travelers.
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