Early Depots

greenspun.com : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I was just wondering is there anyway to find out the exact year some of the old Seaboard Air Line RR depots were built? Did the old Seaboard and Roanoke RR for example have it's own depots which were later used by the Seaboard Airline RR or did (SAL) build their own? Thanks.

-- Carlton Pope (dpope@amaze.net), April 09, 1999


The Seaboard & Roanoke depot in Suffolk,Va. was built in 1885. It still stands, and is about to undergo a massive restoration. The wind vane that was once on the roof, had the S&R initials on it, but it disappeared a few years ago. Hopefully, it'll be returned to it's perch when the restoration is complete. This structure was retired as CSX. The depot at Seaboard,NC was built in 1888,and razed in 1981. I went to photograph it one day, and it was a pile of rubble. I saved a brick from the fondation, and got a handful of 1949 SAL ticket stubs.I beleive the depot at Boykins, Va is also S&R, as it has the same style overhang that the Seaboard depot has. It was moved in the early 80's about two blocks north of the tracks, and has been restored. Unfortunately, the ACL wooden cab out front has'nt been as lucky. The old frame freight office in Roanoke Rapids,NC also bears the same characteristic as the previous two structures. Unfortunately, it was torn down and replaced with a trailer. I photographed the Seaboard safe inside the Roanoke Rapids office in the early 80's. I hope someone saved it! The depot at Branchville,Va may have been S&R, Im not sure. I've only seen one picture of it ever. Of course, it's now gone. Hope this helps you.

-- Russell Underwood (Jay611@home.com), December 03, 1999.

I myself would be very interested in purchasing copies of valuation maps and field notebooks, should the Society consider making these documents available. I look forward to seeing more feedback from the membership regarding this issue.

-- Bob Venditti (bobvend@bellsouth.net), May 28, 1999.

The ICC collection that Buddy mentions is in the "Archives II" building of the National Archives, located in suburban Maryland northeast of Washington DC. Although this material can be accessed and copied, Archive procedures are very exacting and any visitor should count on a one-day minimum stay for research. Calling ahead and talking about your specific request with Archive staff is a must. I'll be glad to provide more details to anyone who wants to do this; e mail me directly.

Larry Goolsby

-- Larry Goolsby (LGoolsby@aphsa.org), April 12, 1999.

I understand from the State Historic Preservation Office that NC State University's DH Hill Library keep valuation maps going WAY back. These have been used by the SHPO's office in the past to help track down details of the component RRs that made up the SAL and ACL. Perhaps they would have some of this information? Hope this helps. Marc

-- Marc L. Hamel (gigsup@aol.com), April 11, 1999.

The information you're seeking exists, but gaining access to it may be difficult. Around 1918, the ICC & railroads embarked on a program to document the physical plant of each railroad for taxing purposes. Out of this program came the railroad valuation maps showing track arrangements and structures with which most people are familiar. Less well known are the field notebooks. These books contain dimensions for EVERY structure on hand (depots, interlocking towers, water tanks, tool houses, section houses, even outhouses). The field notebooks also give the approxmiate age of each structure documented. In addition to general structure information, one can occassionaly find photographs or sketches. A field notebook should contain 100+ pages and a railroad the size of the ACL or SAL would have about 10 -15 volumes.

Given the SAL's penchant for replacing older depots and the general lack of data on the SAL valuation maps that I've seen, obtaining a copy of the field notebook page for a given location is about the best and usually the only source of data on early SAL depots.

Copies of these notebooks were kept by the ICC and the railroads. I'm not sure which government archive has the ICC's copies (Larry?). CSX may have copies, but their location is currently unknown. The society is actively trying to locate and copy these valuable historical documents. Now is as good a time as ever to ask: Should the society be fortunate to locate a complete set of field notebooks for the ACL and SAL, would the society members be willing to purchase copies of the same - in short how much interest is there in these documents? Your feedback is needed.

A final thought: For anyone attempting to model the steam or steam/diesel transistion eras, a field notebook in conjunction with valuation maps and photographs will be the best and most accurate means of modeling any given location. Sorry for the length. Buddy (no emails please-using another person's computer-thanks)

-- Buddy Hill (FandR65@aol.com), April 10, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ