Elkins Depot History
Situated on a bend of the Tygart Valley River, the City of Elkins was incorporated in 1890 by Senators Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen B. Elkins. Davis and Elkins started a logging business and developed railroad lines and coal mines. Davis founded the West Virginia Central and Pittsburg Railway through Elkins.
The original depot was built in 1889 and was located just north of the current station, and the freight depot was located just to the south of the current location. In 1905, Davis sold his railroad interests to the Western Maryland Railway Company. Three years later, in 1908, the Western Maryland Railway Company built the current train depot. This building replaced two previous depots—a wood frame passenger depot and a large freight depot.
As the railroad expanded, Elkins experienced the luxury of passenger train service. By 1930, eighteen passenger trains were arriving and leaving Elkins daily, filling the air with the coal dust of steam locomotives. In 1959, the last passenger train pulled out of the Elkins Depot. The railroad continued to downsize until operations ceased entirely by the end of the 1980s.
The depot sat unused until the Randolph County Development Authority (RCDA) purchased the railyard and Elkins Depot in 1997 from CSX for $1.5 million. In 1999, the RCDA began the process of renovating the depot, and the structural renovations were complete in the summer of 2000.
The Elkins Depot Welcome Center CVB, the central location for tourist information, started serving the area in 2006. The construction of a new bridge at the south end of the old Western Maryland railyard was completed in 2007. This gave the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad the opportunity to lease the depot for their excursion trains. Today, the Elkins Depot Welcome Center CVB and Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad share the old Western Maryland building. The Welcome Center is open year-round and the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad operates excursion trains nine months out of the year.
1889 – The original depot is constructed
1890 – Elkins is incorporated by Senators Davis & Elkins
The city acts as headquarters for vast timber, coal and railroad companies
Davis builds the WV Central & Pittsburg Railway to Elkins, creating a building boom that attracts rail and logging workers and business entrepreneurs
1905 – Davis sells railroad interests to the Western Maryland Railroad
1908 – Western Maryland Railroad builds the current depot after the original was lost in a fire
The railroad expands and passenger train services become available
1950’s – Passenger services are discontinued
1983 – Roundhouse burns down
1997 – Randolph County Development Authority purchased the railyard from CSX