Saving the Historic Building
Circa 1880, before the freight floor was raised and enlarged. To the left, a view down Main Street.
Photograph circa 1895 by Henry Lohse
When the Culpeper Farmer’s Cooperative left Remington for a new facility, they sold the grand old cast-iron façade Embrey building, and ceased using the adjacent freight depot for fertilizer storage. Soon it appeared that the Embrey building was in good hands, but the historic freight depot’s future was in grave doubt. The Remington Community Partnership, a 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to preserving the historic character of Remington and environs, began to lobby Norfolk Southern Railroad regarding the disposition of the building as early as 2001, to no avail. Meanwhile, due to the efforts of Fauquier County and the Remington Community Partnership, Remington’s historic downtown gained National Register listing as a Historic District, and the freight depot obtained an inventory number – one layer of protection. Still, the small frame building sat between the spur and main tracks, boarded-up, with weeds and trash accumulating.
Finally, on July 8, 2008, Norfolk Southern Senior Manager of Real Estate Lloyd Clingenpeel informed the Remington Community Partnership: “I’m willing to work with your group to donate the structure but I want some assurance that you have a parcel of land to move it to and the means to relocate it.” So, we accepted the challenge: save the depot from neglect and modern progress, and create a desirable and long-term use for the building.
A railroad depot is a unique type of building, one that is functionally and technologically obsolete today, but it was once the most popular place in town, a place to meet people, exchange news, collect one’s mail, and observe busy commercial transactions on a daily basis. The Remington depot has always played a large role in our town’s life. As historic train stations and depots decline in numbers, people are realizing that in order to save them, a viable re-use must be found. In our town, it was an easy decision; we would preserve the building and our local history simultaneously by creating the Remington Railroad Museum.
At 53’ long and 22’ wide, our depot has a large freight room, a 9’ X 22” central office, and two 11’ X 11’ waiting rooms. We will restore the waiting rooms, the station agent’s office complete with telegraph, and the freight room as they appeared in the only interior photographs extant, taken in the 1940s. The freight depot floor will be our exhibit gallery. To date, the project has been awarded two Transportation Enhancement grants totalling $151,000, and over $55,000 in in-kind donations, including land, architectural, and surveying services. All those participating in this process agree: preserving our historic freight depot and creating a museum to tell the story of Remington’s past will be the highest and best use for the venerable structure. ■
Follow the project as it progresses; Phase One - Moving the Building has been accomplished, and the illustrated steps are listed below. Phase Two will begin restoration of the building at its new site, and goes out to bid in September 2019.
The Fauquier Times weekly newspaper ran a two-page spread on the historic depot's move, written by Times reporter James Ivancic and illustrated by Times photographer Randy Litzinger; printed Wednesday, May 6, 2015, and used with permission.
1st page, Fauquier Times article
2nd page, Fauquier Times article
A series of photographs with explanatory captions outline the steps taken during the Freight Depot Moving Day: