The Rural Retreat Depot, made famous by O. Winston Link in his 1957 photographs entitled “Birmingham Special Gets the High Ball at Rural Retreat” and “The Pelican at Rural Retreat, VA”, is about to be spared the bulldozer if the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation is successful in raising $90,000 by October 1, 2012 to purchase it from its current owner. Railroad buffs and fans of O. Winston Link’s works are encouraged to donate to save the depot.
The Town of Rural Retreat grew up around this Norfolk and Western Depot in the 1800’s, essentially relocating a village that had formed a few miles away along the Great Road of Virginia. The original depot was burned during the Civil War, and was replaced by the present structure in 1866. The depot operated as a passenger station and Railway Express Office for many years but was closed by Norfolk Southern when it ceased passenger operations. For the past 50 years the depot has been used by local businesses as a warehouse and has gone into disrepair.
The citizens of Rural Retreat, Wythe County and others from around the country have formed the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to saving and restoring the depot. “The Town of Rural Retreat is delighted to have the Foundation working on behalf of the depot. The depot is the centerpiece of Rural Retreat and we look forward to its restoration,” said Tim Litz, Mayor of Rural Retreat. The restoration plans will focus on history, learning and community activities.
The Rural Retreat Depot Foundation
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that is seeking tax free donations for the acquisition of the depot. Following the acquisition a variety of grants will be sought for the restoration, complementing the commitment of local contractors and artisans to donate their services. To make a donation please visit the Foundation website atwww.ruralretreatdepot.org, or send your check to
The Rural Retreat Depot Foundation, P.O.Box 843, Rural Retreat, VA 24368