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State Historical Highway Marker “Bristol Union Railway Station” To Be Dedicated in Bristol
December 4, 2018 @ 1:00 pm
State Historical Highway Marker
“Bristol Union Railway Station”
To Be Dedicated in Bristol
RICHMOND – A state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will be dedicated next week that recalls the early railroad history of Bristol and its historic Norfolk & Western passenger station, built between 1902 and 1903, which today is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A public ceremony to unveil the marker will begin at 1 p.m., Tuesday, December 4 at the sign’s location alongside the Bristol Train Station, 101 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Bristol (Virginia). Parking is available across from the station in a municipal lot.
Event speakers will include Bristol Virginia Mayor Kevin Mumpower and Bristol Tennessee Mayor Margaret Feierabend; Virginia State Delegate Israel O’Quinn; Tennessee State Representative John Crawford; Jim Maxwell, chairman of the Bristol Trainstation Foundation (BTF); historian Tim Buchanan, also a member of BTF; and Michael Pulice of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
According to the marker, “The Rev. James King donated land for railroad facilities” in 1848, “before the town of Bristol took root early in the 1850s.” By October 1, 1856, the first passenger train arrived to Bristol “on the railroad later known as the Norfolk and Western,” the marker reads.
Bristol’s railroad expansion continued in 1858 with another rail line, later known as Southern Railway, linking the town to Knoxville, TN, helping to secure Bristol’s status as a regional manufacturing and commercial hub.
The 1903 Bristol Union Railway Station, the fourth station erected on the site, served both the N&W and Southern Railway until 1971, when passenger and postal service ended. The station was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The Bristol marker was approved for manufacture and installation this past September by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, which has the authority to designate new historical markers. The Bristol Trainstation Foundation covered the manufacturing cost for the sign.
Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,500 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, and by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority such as the City of Bristol Virginia.