The Rural Retreat Depot was built in 1856 by the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad as a shipping point for local produce. In 2011 the Rural Retreat Depot Foundation purchased the Depot in a sad state of disrepair, with a mission to restore it and then manage it as a history museum and regional event space.
As we go into 2016 the foundation and roof have been fully replaced and the exterior restored to its 1940's look. This work has been accomplished by many hours of locally donated labor and through generous private donations and grants. As early as 2013 the Depot started to be used for events.
OUR WORK IS NOT DONE AND WE NEED YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT
The Depot exterior was first priority in order to halt further degradation. Now that it's done we turn our attention to the interior. The former waiting room will become a modern museum with interactive kiosks brimming with content about the Depot's role in history. The freight room is to become an event space suitable for everything from weddings and reunions to theatrical and musical productions that can be streamed over the internet to audiences far away from but interested in our Appalachian culture.
The Rural Retreat Depot Foundation works to acquire, restore and manage the Depot made famous by O. Winston Link photographs made in 1957 to
document the end of steam railroading in America. Rural Retreat is located on the Norfolk Southern, formerly the Norfolk and Western, and
prior to that the Virginia and Tennessee RR. The station agent in 1957 was James Lacy Akers and he appeared in the Link photos. Rural Retreat
is near the Virginia Creeper Trail, the New River Trail, on the Crooked Road, on the 76 Bike Trail, near Hungry Mother Park, near Wytheville,
and was the home of Dr. Charles T. Pepper, for whom many believe the drink Dr. Pepper was named.
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