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”, sits on land belonging to the Town of Rural Retreat, VA. The Rural Retreat Depot Foundation is raising money to purchase and restore the depot building, and now it has firm ground to stand on.
“Signing this lease for the depot land was critical to our efforts to not only raise money for the building purchase, but also to procure grants for the renovation” said Charles Miller, President of the Depot Foundation; “The Foundation greatly appreciates this valuable contribution by the Town, and we hope it will encourage donations towards our building fund”.
The Town of Rural Retreat grew up around this Virginia Tennessee Railroad Depot in the 1850’s, effectively 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 Norfolk and Western passenger station and Railway Express Office for many years but was closed by Norfolk Southern when it ceased passenger operations. The depot building was sold to a private party but the land under the depot was donated to the Town by the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The Depot Foundation now has agreement for the land and hopes to raise the necessary funds to buy the building by October of this year.