The public is invited to preview the relocated and restored historic Norge Train Depot on Oct. 13, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and Oct. 14, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. The weekend will be devoted to sharing memories and stories about life in Norge, the Depot and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railroad, plus any family histories in James City County that can help develop the Depot museum. It’s located next to the James City County Library in Croaker.
Once completed, the museum will be open to the public, highlighting the significance of the Depot, railroad history, the Norwegian settlers and the economic development of the Norge community in the early 20th Century. The interior restoration and roof and site improvements were completed this summer, restoring the Depot to what it looked like more than 100 years ago.
The Norge Depot is a one-story, timber frame structure built between 1906 and 1908 and is the only surviving example in the County of a C&O Railroad Company standardized plan structure for railroad depots. The architecture reflects the trend railroad companies used to create standardized designs that could be mass produced, yet customized depending on a depot’s location, as represented by the bay window area of the agent operator room. Based on the architectural significance and the former role in the Norge community, the Depot is listed on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
CSX planned to raze the structure in the late 1990s for safety concerns. However through the efforts of local citizens, led by the late Norge resident Frances Ann Huckstep Hamilton, the Historical Commission and James City County, the Depot was saved. In 2006, the Depot was moved from its original location on Peach Street to the James City County Library site. The relocation and restoration was primarily funded through VDOT Transportation Enhancement Grants totaling $755,000 with local matching funds and in-kind donations from numerous local businesses, organizations and citizens. Today, the Depot has the opportunity to educate visitors on the significance of the C&O railway system to the development of the Norge Community while displaying local historical treasures. The Depot’s former freight room has been transformed into a meeting room.