How was Richmond's Acca yard named? : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Although I've lived in Richmond for two decades now, I still don't know where the name 'Acca' came from. I consulted Mr Griffin's 'Capital Cities Route' book about the great, late R,F&P....but could not find the origins of 'Acca'. Please enlighten me...a neighbor asked me about Acca. (The local Masonic-Shrine organization here goes by that name, also,) The name may have referred to a city or place once in the Holy Land.

-- Greg Hodges (, February 18, 2005


Greg -

Actually my history of Acca Yard has already appeared in the ODC's Highball. It was published in the October, 1996 issue.

-- William E. Griffin, Jr. (, February 24, 2005.

Bill, thank you for your most thorough answer as to the origins of 'Acca'. I figured that you would probably be the one to provide accurate info on this subject. The 'Acca stock farm' explanation by Mr Baugh seems most plausable. With your permission, I would like to have your remarks published in the ODC's "Highball", so that all members can be informed as to the origins of this very prominent local landmark.

-- Greg Hodges (, February 22, 2005.

Here is what I have been able to learn about the naming of the RF&P's Acca Yard in Richmond. Prior to the construction of Acca Yard, this area was known on the railroad as Branch's Crossing. It is referred to by this name in the RF&P's 1889 report to its stockholders concerning the construction of the James River Branch. The report described the construction of a "... branch line of about four miles or less in length, from Branch's Crossing, one and eight-tenths miles north of the corporate limits of Richmond, on its main line, to a point on the James River, there to meet and connect with a branch line of the R&P RR, extending from a point on the latter road south of Manchester" At that time, Branch's Crossing (Acca) was just a point on the RF&P's main line. Freight trains originated at Boulton and passenger trains at Byrd Street Station. The location began to grow in significance as the junction point of the main line with the James River Branch. While I have not been able to precisely determine when the area was named "Acca", references to Acca begin to appear in the records of the RF&P during the 1890's. I found a December 22, 1890 letter from then RF&P General Superintendent E. T. D. Myers to the ACL's General Manager H. Walters concerning the operation of the branch wherein he mentions Acca. The RF&P began to list all of its side tracks in its annual reports beginning in 1871 and the first mention of a siding at Acca was in 1893. Acca Yard was probably built between 1893 and 1900. Following the construction of the SAL to Richmond in 1900 and the establishment of an interchange connection with the RF&P at Hermitage, the RF&P began to enlarge Acca Yard. The annual reports for 1902, 1903 and 1906 mention the construction of new tracks as a result of the increased traffic. With the depression of the tracks on the James River Branch and the construction of Broad Street Station in 1919, the James River Branch was operated as a main line by the ACL in Richmond and Acca Yard was further enlarged to be used jointly the RF&P and ACL. The name "Acca" was given to a number of RF&P facilities. In addition to the yard, there was Acca Block Station (AC); Acca Interlocking Tower and Wye (AY); and, the Acca Locomotive Terminal. There is also a Masonic Temple located in the vicinity known as the Acca Shrine Temple. This Masonic Temple was chartered in 1886. During my years on the RF&P I was told by Mr. Woodward R. "Woody" Baugh, that the name for Acca Yard originated with the Acca Stock Farm that was located on the north side of the railroad's freight yard. Mr. Baugh was certainly in a position to know about the history of the RF&P. He entered the service of the RF&P as a call boy in 1920 at the age of 14. He rose through th ranks of the company's transportation department and when he retired in 1968 after 48 years of service, he had become the RF&P's Chief Operating Officer. He was also a Mason - as where many of the RF&P employees - and was a past monarch of Amis Grotto and a member of the Scottish Rite and the Sphinx Club. Mr. Baugh told me that the nobleman who owned the farm raised race horses. He had bought the land adjacent to what would eventually become the RF&P's Acca Yard and established a horse farm. Legend has it that the horse farm was named for his favorite horse, an Arabian race horse named "Acca". The word "Acca" is from the Arabic language and is the name of a medieval fabric of silk and gold made in Syria. Incidentally, I have a 1916 RF&P valuation map which shows Acca Farm adjacent to Acca Yard.

-- William E. Griffin, Jr. (, February 22, 2005.

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