Restoration of Civil War-era railroad station in Jefferson County under way

July 17, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

Want to help?

Donations to help save a Civil War-era train station north of Charles Town, W.Va., may be sent to Duffields Station Inc., P.O. Box 1806, Shepherdstown, WV 25443. Make checks payable to Duffields Station Inc. Donations are tax deductible.

DUFFIELDS, W.Va. - Workers have torn off a dilapidated roof and are getting ready to install a new metal one, beginning the restoration of a Civil War-era train station in the community of Duffields.

Duffields Station Inc., a local group that purchased the building in hopes of restoring it, contracted with A.E. Piercy of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to install a standing-seam roof. The work is expected to be completed by early next month, according to organization members.

The old roof was falling apart, wooden floors inside had become "spongy" and Duffields Station Inc. members were eager to start stabilizing the building.


With $5,270 raised to start renovation, Duffields Station members were ready to begin replacement of the roof.

Among the group's other priorities are dealing with the water collecting in the building's stone foundation, and accepting bids for work on doors and windows, Duffields Station President Jack Snyder said.

Duffields Station members are working to raise $8,550, which will allow them to obtain a grant for the same amount from the state, Snyder has said.

Work has started on the station since the stabilization project needs to be completed by December under the terms of the grant, Snyder said Monday.

Snyder appeared before the Jefferson County Commission last Thursday to request $3,000, but the commissioners said they would need to review their budget before making a decision, Snyder said.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan said Monday that the train station renovation is a good project but said there is a lot of financial pressure on the commission.

Morgan said the commission can only fund the most critical needs now and added he will probably not be in favor of funding the project, although he did not know how the rest of the commission feels.

"This is not a good time for us," said Morgan.

"We'll find it one way or another," Snyder said of the money.

The half stone, half wooden train station was built in 1839 and is a short distance east of where Flowing Springs Road crosses the railroad tracks in Duffields, north of Charles Town.

The wooden section is decrepit, and needs to be torn down and rebuilt, Snyder said. It appears the wooden section, which was where goods were stored, was "thrown together" when the station was built and did not have a proper foundation, Snyder said.

Duffields Station members claim the train station is the second-oldest "purpose-built" train station in the country.

A purpose-built train station means it was constructed for that reason, unlike some train station buildings that served other purposes.

The station was used to supply Union troops during the Civil War and mention of the building shows up in historical accounts, including the book "The James E. Taylor Sketchbook." Taylor was a sketch artist during the Civil War.

Duffields Station members are interested in fully modernizing the station for public use - their plans include installing electric service and plumbing - and establishing a visitors center at the site, Snyder said.

A full renovation was initially estimated to cost $200,000 but the work will probably cost about $500,000, Snyder said.

Once Duffields Station members get the building stabilized, they will probably "take a step back for a while" and plan for a full restoration, Snyder said.

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