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In 1891, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad constructed this depot for its expanding passenger service; it was the 4th building built by the C&O in Hinton. This is the only example of a passenger depot left in Summers County. In its heyday, the building housed normal depot functions, like baggage service and ticketing, as well as C&O division offices, C&O Lunch Stand, and the Adams Express. The Adams Express, later known as the Railway Express Agency, was a livery service. Amtrak’s Cardinal Line now services this depot. The restored lobby is open to the public.

  • Passenger depot and original YMCA, circa 1900. Picture source: WV History OnView
  • Historic American Building Survey drawings of passenger depot.
  • Historic American Building Survey drawings of passenger depot.

The extant passenger depot is the fourth structure built in Hinton for the C&O. It was erected following a 1913 fire that destroyed the 1891 brick depot. This reconstructed station was built in the style of a 1902 east end addition. It consists of a 3-story central block flanked by 2-story wings. Red brick is laid in a common American bond and slat shingles cover a hip roof. A small first floor outshoot was later added on the west side of the rear elevation to house a Union News office. In the 1960s two concrete block appendages were added to the rear of the structure.[1]

The present railroad passenger depot is located at the foot of Second Avenue. The first station for Hinton was located at the foot of 3rd Ave; the small, wooden frame building soon became inadequate to furnish space for passengers waiting to board passenger trains out of Hinton and the depot now in use was built. It is the only functional passenger depot remaining in Summers County.[2]

The middle section of the depot housed two waiting rooms, restrooms, baggage room, ticket office, HX office, and the stairwell to the second floor. The east end of the building was the C&O Lunch Stand. The railway did not operate the lunch stand, it was leased to private concerns. The west end of the building housed the Adams Express, later known as the Railway Express Agency. The west end of the building caught fire in 1913. When repairs were made, the cupola on the middle section of the building was not restored. The second floor of the building housed the offices of the superintendent, train-master, road foreman of engines, division engineer, chief train dispatcher, telephone system, and Special Officers responsible for the Hinton division, which ran from Hinton to Handley, WV. The three rooms on the third floor were used as file rooms.

AMTRAK’s Cardinal line, which stops in Hinton 3 times per week: Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, both east and west, for passenger service. The Cardinal line runs from Washington, DC to Chicago, IL. The depot also serves as the eastern terminus for the annual New River Train Excursions, during the expected fall color peak. Leaving Hinton and winding through the New River Gorge, the excursion gives passengers a chance to view the Gorge from a vantage point not available by other methods of travel.[3] The New River Train Excursions are the highlight of the Railroad Days festival in Hinton. 

[2] Robinson, Ed. Images of America: Summers County. Arcadia: 2003. p.25.