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    A Peek into Summers County’s Past: Pence Springs Depot Part 2

    By William Jones,

    29 days ago

    PENCE SPRINGS W.Va. (Hinton News) - This week's piece is second to a story I had written about the train depot in Pence Springs. The tiny little shed you see in the photo of a man sitting on the stairs is what was a passenger waiting area after the depot was torn down.

    A depot was erected at what is now the town of Pence Springs in 1872. At that time it was named Stock Yards. This is because the “stock” was unloaded there to drink at the Greenbrier River near where the bridge is now. Early on, there was a ferry in operation to ford the water to the hotel side of the river before the bridge was built in the early 1900s.

    The stock pens were built at this location in 1875 so that the stock en route along this line of track to be unloaded, watered and rested before they finished their excursion. This process continued for twenty-some years until they were relocated to the city of Hinton.

    Over the years the depot saw several large transformations including electric lights being installed in 1919. In 1923 a 200ft platform was installed to accommodate the large quantity of Pence Springs sulphur water that was being shipped out of state. The changing times later saw the removal of the cabin/tower making it look more like the standard depot of that time.

    The Great Depression was devastating to small towns in the United States and Pence Springs was no exception. After the famous hotel closed its doors in 1929 the only people left to travel by train were the farmers of the community since Pence Springs was no longer inundated by tourists.

    The depot managed to survive until May of 1940 when Alvin and Wolfy Garten dismantled the depot and saved the lumber to construct a home for Wolfy and his wife Pert in Pence Springs. As a result, Pence Springs became known as a “flag stop.” This means the train would only stop if they saw a “flag” displayed and therefore knew a passenger was waiting on the train and could purchase a ticket right then to their location off the train they were about to board.

    For this reason, the railroad constructed the simple three-walled shed that measured 10’ by 10” with only one bench inside of it that you see here. “Flag-stop” services were discontinued at Pence Springs in 1956. The shed wasn't torn down until 1962.

    In the C&O History The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Magazine from May 2002 it says: “Unfortunately, no photo of the shed has yet been found for the society's collection.” It further talks about Pence Springs being one of if not the very last station on the railroad to utilize a mail crane for the collection of postal mail until May of 1968.

    The two photos you see here are of a close-up of the shed and the other of the two guys standing beside the white building were copied from Lorene Garten Cales collection. Lorene was born and raised in Pence Springs and is a sister to Alvin and Wolfy Garten. The second photo shows Nowlan’s Store in the corner where Lorene actually had renovated into her home for several years.

    This photo has the three-walled shed in the top left corner. The really interesting thing about this photo is if you look closely you can faintly see the mail crane that I had discussed earlier. Lastly is a copy of the original C&O Blueprints from the shed that was constructed to replace the depot in 1940.

    The post A Peek into Summers County’s Past: Pence Springs Depot Part 2 appeared first on The Hinton News .

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