“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 Flag Stop

Montpelier Flag Stop Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
1. Montpelier Flag Stop Marker
Inscription.  Train service first came to Montpelier in 1880 when the rail line from Orange to Charlottesville was completed. After 1910, a Southern Railway station agent managed the freight, passenger, and telegraph operations, and beginning in 1912, served as postmaster, sending and receiving mail by rail. While built for the duPonts, the Depot, together with the Montpelier Supply Company, was a vital economic center for the neighborhood.

As a flag stop, trains only stopped here if there were passengers to pick up or to drop off. The one exception was a scheduled stop for William duPont's weekly commute to Delaware. Starting in the 1930s, Marion duPont's prized Thoroughbreds traveled from here in special cars, nicknamed "horse Pullmans." In 1967, Atlanta-Washington 36, the long-distance local, was the last passenger train to flag at Montpelier. Limited freight service continued until the Depot closed in 1974.

"Montpelier has more express work than any other place on your line... Mr duPont informed me that if the Company would furnish an Agent at Montpelier, he would build a Station... The roads are already constructed... and he expects nothing
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else but that the neighborhood will make use of the Southern Railway."
James T. Woodward, Southern Railway Director, to William W. Finley, Southern Railway President, 1909

(Captions under photos):
Steam engine and passenger train, Montpelier, ca. 1905.
The Pacific type 4-6-2 was the primary locomotive for Southern Railway passenger trains in the early 20th century. Built by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia in 1904, No. 1216 isseen here pulling a northbound train past Montpelier. A passenger shelter (seen behind the sign), stock pen, freight warehouse, and side track were in place by this time.

Mile Post 88.8 Montpelier, Virginia, 1919
The Montpelier Depot is located 88.8 miles south of Washington. In 1916, the rail line was double-tracked allowing trains to run north and south simultaneously, and the station platform was constructed. In this photo, the flag station signals (in front of the Depot and behind nearest pole at the left) are in the raised position alerting trains to stop. The mail cranes are just beyond the wooden bridge, which was the main entrance into Montpelier.

Montpelier Station on the Southern Railway, ca. 1920.
1. Flag station signals. Wooden signal "flags" were operated by the station agent for flag service. Pulling down on a rope raised the green end of the flag, signaling the approaching
Close Up of Station Map image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, April 17, 2010
2. Close Up of Station Map
train to stop.

2. Mail cranes. Every evening, the postmaster attached the outgoing mailbags to the cranes. A postal clerk, in a passing train snagged the bags with a catcher arm attached to the mail car. Mailbags for Montpelier Station were then kicked out to land by the tracks. If kicked too lightly, the mailbag fell under the fast-moving train and burst open sending letters flying, a mishap clerks called a "snowstorm."

3. Side track. Freight cars were uncoupled from their trains and moved to the side track for unloading. Coal cars were pushed to the coal trestle at the end of the track where horse-drawn wagons or trucks were loaded.

"[duPont] didn't buy no dozen of this or that, he'd buy a carload of feed, or bran, buy carloads of oats...everything that was bought was bought by the carload... The farm men would unload 'em."
Tommy Southard, Montpelier Dupont Employee from 1919 to 1964
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Postal Mail and Philately series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1880.
Location. 38° 13.704′ N, 78° 10.598′ 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
Montpelier Train Station and Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain
3. Montpelier Train Station and Markers
Note the "White" and "Colored" signs above the two doorways.
the right when traveling east on Constitution Highway. Located on the Montpelier Station depot and post office. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Montpelier Station VA 22957, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Montpelier Train Station (a few steps from this marker); Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Camp & Freedman's Farm Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War & Gilmore Farm Trail (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Gilmore Family Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Dolley Madison (approx. ¼ mile away); Civil War Encampment (approx. ¼ mile away); Gilmore Farm (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Montpelier Station.
Montpelier Station image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, September 6, 2009
4. Montpelier Station
Looking from the bridge for the entrance to Montpelier.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 10, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 953 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 10, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on June 9, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on June 10, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Apr. 15, 2024