In the years following the Civil War the Seaboard and Roanoke RR prospered. One of the signs of this prosperity was the construction of a new passenger station in Suffolk, Virginia. The station was built in 1885 and has remained basically unchanged over the years. 1907 saw a new railroad provide service from Norfolk, Virginia to the west. The new road was call the Virginian and its tracks passed to the north of the Seaboard and Roanoke station. An agreement was reached and the station served both railroads. The first passenger train over the Virginian was on August 5, 1907 with regular passenger service beginning on July 1, 1909. In 1911 the Seaboard and Roanoke RR was sold to the Seaboard Air-Line. The station continued to service both the Seaboard Air Line and the Virginian until January 29, 1956 when the Virginian discontinued passenger service.
On July 1, 1967 the Seaboard Air Line merged with the Atlantic Coast Line to create the Seaboard Coast Line. As a result of the merger the station was painted white. The station continued to service passengers on the Seaboard Coast Line until 1968, when passenger service to Portsmouth, VA was discontinued. After the discontinuance of passenger service the building was used as an office by the railroad.
On November 1, 1980 the SCL merged with the Chessie System to create the CSX Corp. even though it continued to operate as the SCL until January 1, 1983.
The Station was used for a freight office for several years by CSX and then it was abandoned. In 1994 a disastrous fire occurred and the station was in danger of being demolished. At that time the Suffolk- Nansemond Historical Society began a movement to “Save Our Station”. After several years of fundraising efforts by the Society and in partnership with the City of Suffolk, grants were obtained and the renovation began. The Station officially opened in August of 2000. With the help of volunteers the station is open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday each week. It is supported through donations and a gift shop.
Special Features: The Station is a Queen Anne style building reminiscent of the Victorian age. It has an interesting tower with a beautiful, walnut, spiral staircase. Many original features were saved and restored such as the doors, windows, coffered ceiling, fireplace and porch. The most special part of the building is the HO scale model of Suffolk, circa 1907, that was built by the Tidewater Division of the National Model Railroad Association. Two of the scratch built model buildings won first place in the National Competition for that group. There is more than a mile of electrical wiring underneath the model and the line depicted is the Suffolk and Carolina RR. That line was built by William Henry Gay who lived across the street from the Station on the site where the present Obici Foundation building presently sits. That railroad ran from the Nansemond River down to Edenton, NC. That railroad bed can still be seen running behind Cedar Hill Cemetery. In 1918, there were six railroads coming through Suffolk with 32 passenger trains and 70 freight trains per day.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Wednesday - Friday:
11:00 am - 4:00 pm
10:00 - 3:00 pm
1:00 - 4:00 pm
326 N. Main Street
Suffolk, Virginia 23434
phone (757) 923-4750
fax (757) 923-4751