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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Montpelier Station in Orange County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Montpelier Train Station

In the Time of Segregation

 
 
Montpelier Train Station Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
1. Montpelier Train Station Marker
Inscription. "We tend to shy away from our past...we should face up to it, live with it, otherwise it will live with you, and haunt you, and distort you, for all your days."
John Hope Franklin, historian,
Speaking at the Montpelier slave descendants reunion, 2007

William duPont built the Depot to upgrade passenger and freight service for Montpelier, which he purchased in 1901. The Depot was constructed in 1910 from Southern Railway plans with two waiting rooms - one for "colored" passengers and one for "white" passengers - as required by racial segregation laws in force in Virginia and across the South from the 1890s until the 1960s.

The Montpelier Foundation has restored the Train Depot to its appearance in the 1910s to document this time of legalized segregation in American history. This exhibit is just one part of a broader effort at Montpelier to explore the historical experiences of African Americans from the early 18th century to today.

When the post office opened here in 1912, "Montpelier Station" became the official name for the neighborhood. A vibrant black community called Montpelier Station home. With endurance and fortitude, they endeavored to build a better world for themselves and their children, in spite of a landscape littered with "white only" and "colored" signs and the discrimination those imposed.

While
Construction Elevations for Montpelier Depot, 1910 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
2. Construction Elevations for Montpelier Depot, 1910
the Montpelier Depot bore witness to the racism that led to segregation and disenfranchisement laws, today it serves to foster the discussion of citizenship and equal justice in American society.
 
Location. 38° 13.707′ N, 78° 10.603′ W. Marker is in Montpelier Station, Virginia, in Orange County. Marker is at the intersection of Constitution Highway (State Highway 20) and County Route 693, on the right when traveling east on Constitution Highway. Touch for map. Located on the Montpelier Station depot and post office. Marker is in this post office area: Montpelier Station VA 22957, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Montpelier Flag Stop (a few steps from this marker); Civil War & Gilmore Farm Trail (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gilmore Family Cemetery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dolley Madison (approx. mile away); Civil War Encampment (approx. mile away); Gilmore Farm (approx. 0.3 miles away); Post-Emancipation (approx. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Encampment (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montpelier Station.
 
Categories. African AmericansRailroads & Streetcars
 
Construction Plan for Montpelier Depot, 1910 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
3. Construction Plan for Montpelier Depot, 1910
Note the smaller size of the Colored Waiting Room and that it does not have a view of the rail platform or a door into the Station Agent's Office.
Montpelier Train Station and Markers image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
4. Montpelier Train Station and Markers
Note the "White" and "Colored" signs above the two doorways.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 9, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 978 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 9, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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