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Roundhouse is part of railroad tour

May 10, 2001

Roundhouse is part of railroad tour



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

file photo

Roundhouse restorationMARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The historic B&O Railroad Roundhouse in Martinsburg is attracting the attention of some national groups.

A group of 40 to 50 supporters of the Smithsonian Institution will visit the roundhouse Saturday as part of a tour of railroad sites in the Eastern Panhandle. The group will hear a Saturday afternoon lecture from a historian about the events at the Roundhouse, which was rebuilt after the Civil War.

Members of the Society of Industrial Archaeologists will visit the roundhouse Monday.

Martinsburg officials believe the facility was a key to the development of the railroad in the area.

The roundhouse has national significance because it was the scene of the first national labor strike, officials have said. It also was a target of a raid by Stonewall Jackson at the start of the Civil War.

"These kinds of things mean the word is getting out about this project," said Judy Martin, chairwoman of the Roundhouse Authority's events committee.

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The authority is working to restore the building and turn it into a major attraction.

The Roundhouse, essentially a garage for locomotives, and nearby buildings, are being restored. The key to those plans is raising visibility of the project, Martin said.

"It's extremely gratifying that the Smithsonian has put this on their agenda" of important places to visit, Martin said. "This gives us credibility in other areas. It's that exposure to outside interest groups that gives us that credibility."

The Roundhouse Authority has raised $2.1 million to start fixing up the buildings and expects to need about $1 million more to finish the work.

She said the work goes on, even if it is slower than supporters might like.

"A project like this just takes a lot of time," Martin said.

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