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C&O Railway Station

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1904–1905, Wilson, Harris and Richards. 1990, renovations and addition, Random, Wildman, Krause, and Brezinski. 600 E. Water St.
  • (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)
  • (Photograph by Patricia Lynette Searl)

The station served one of the two railroad lines that cross at Charlottesville, the east-west carrier, the Chesapeake & Ohio. It replaced a c. 1880 wooden Stick Style building; it succeeded two earlier stations, one built c. 1865 and the first one, from c. 1850, which was burned under Union general Sheridan's occupation of Charlottesville during the Civil War. Initially, the C&O intended to build a Richardsonian Romanesque station in Charlottesville, but then, to give a new look to an important station, decided to go outside the company and hired the prolific Philadelphia firm of Wilson, Harris and Richards, which specialized in railroad stations. The Charlottesville station was the progenitor of eight Colonial Revival C&O stations built over the next twenty years. The two-story brick building with its large Ionic-columned portico was intended as the gateway to Charlottesville, the classical detailing foreshadowing for the traveler the dominant architectural idiom of the city and the university beyond. The interior spaces were divided into white men's and women's sections, and then a smaller room for black passengers. Rail passenger traffic declined after World War I, and the passenger station finally closed in 1982. The renovated structure reopened in 1990 as an office building. To the west of the main block of the structure, new bay windows step around the cast iron columns of the former station canopy.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "C&O Railway Station", [Charlottesville, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 148-149.

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