Dublin Depot

Dublin Depot by: Dr. H. Jackson

The earliest settlement at Dublin occurred in 1776 when Henry Jacob Trollinger and his family erected a cabin just behind the house on old Route 11, now owned by Dr. and Mrs. W.J. Walker. The next resident was a cabin built near the present fire house in 1810 by Sarah Trollinger and her husband, Stephen Trinkle. At that time "the forest around their home was unbroken and brush was so close that man on horseback could not have been seen 20 yards from the cabin. "Wolves and panthers howled and screamed around the Trinkle house. As late as 1850 "more than half of the county around Dublin was in the woods." What is now Dublin would probably still be in woods, crops and pasture had it not been for the depot being located here in 1854. John Trollinger and Steven Trinkle, brothers-in-law, gave three acres of land in 1854 and construction immediately began on a depot, round house, turn-table, wood house, switches and a well. Passenger service began June 29, 1854 and freight began to be handled on July 24, 1854. To celebrate the arrival of the railroad, the citizens of Pulaski County provided a great barbecue on July 5, 1854 at the "Newbern Depot", as the Dublin station was ordinarily called. Notices were published in the Lynchburg, Richmond and Petersburg papers inviting the citizens of those places to this "public entertainment." The railroad put on "excursion trains" to Dublin. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people were in attendance at this little depot set among woods and fields. The governor, secretary of the railroad and many other officials were present. Has there ever been a larger or more distinguished gathering at Dublin? In this crowd were many individuals from the "black counties", as they were called--Carroll, Grayson, Giles, Bland, Tazewell, Mercer and Monroe. Dublin depot was the transportation and communication hub for all of this area. Cattle pens were built at the depot and cattle, horses, turkeys and hogs were driven to Dublin to be shipped to the Eastern markets. Covered wagons from distant hamlets camped overnight at the depot unloading shipments of chestnuts, hams and other home produced items and loading goods, which had came by train, often for county merchants. Mail was carried to Dublin from vast areas for dispatch. The telegraph office became means for rapid communication with the world. On April 25,1861 another enthusiastic crowd gathered to participate in the departure for Richmond of the Pulaski Guards. Nearly the entire county was there. One member of the guards recalled, "We moved off amid the flutter of handkerchiefs, fans, canes and every demonstration they could make, we waving our plumed caps and cheering with all our might in return.” Dublin became the military headquarters for Southwest Virginia. Troop trains were continually passing. Troops were encamped near the depot on Trollinger land, and elsewhere; a military warehouse was erected which stored everything from ammunition to shoes. News of far-flung victories and defeats and casualty lists were received first at the telegraph office at the depot. A Major General commanded the activities at Dublin. On the morning of May 9,1864 the Confederates met a vastly superior enemy at Cloyd’s farm. By early afternoon a defeated army was streaming through Dublin toward the New River and safety. About 5:00 p.m. the enemy occupied the town and soon began to burn much of it. The depot, an enormous wood yard which held locomotive fuel, the telegraph office and poles, a water tank, the “immense” warehouse containing supplies for the army, a hotel, and some private homes went up in flames. The glow of the fire could be seen as far away as present Radford. One enemy soldier reported, “We burned all we could not carry away.” After the enemy left, essential repairs to the track and bridges were made but materials and labor were so scarce a box car was equipped as a depot and used until 1866. The depot erected in 1866 survived until it was burned in 1912. The freight room was full, including a good deal of “coal oil” used for the switch lamps and oil lamps in the depot. An old potbelly stove exploded in the station office. It was a very cold, windy night. The roof of the building was about to cave in when the alarm was sounded by a passing locomotive about 1:30 a.m. Exploding barrels of oil spread the flames. The only thing which could be done was to protect the nearby buildings. A strong north wind was blowing directly toward the Methodist and Baptist Churches (located on site of the Banner House) and the two “cottage houses” on Main Street. All of these buildings caught fire, but were saved by the Dublin volunteer fire company. B.M. Anderson, Sr., recalled, "I have never seen as many rats as that ran out of the burning depot. The town was full of rats for several weeks after the fire.” A temporary depot was set up until the present building was erected in 1913. The new building was much larger and more pretentious than the old depot which had been built in the depth of post-war poverty. It reflected the prosperous era of rail travel which was soon to be replaced by the automobile. The first gasoline powered vehicles on Dublin streets had appeared in 1909. Eventually passenger traffic gave way to the automobile and much of the freight was taken over by trucks. The depot was incredibly busy during World War II due to the boom in population in the town as a result of the Hercules plant. This increased traffic proved to be temporary and in 1969 the depot was closed. Between 1969 and 1974 the building was used for art shows. In 1974-1975 farm supplies were stored there. By 1981 the building was in very poor condition. One person who examined it observed, “many of the windows are broken and boarded up. The wooden deck is rotting and weak in many places and the paint is chipped and peeling. The basement is filled with trash and broken bottles and the interior of the first floor appears to be in shambles.” On December 2, 1983 the railroad deeded the depot to the Pulaski County Farm Bureau, which intended to restore it and use it for farm and other offices. The estimated cost of restoration was so great that the Farm Bureau decided it was beyond financial capability. On May 24, 1985 Farm Bureau sold the depot to Kevin A. Adkins and Douglas D. Warren, who have splendidly restored the old building and it is being used for business and professional offices. Once more Dublin depot occupies a central position in the town and area. More Dublin History: DUBLIN HISTORY Dublin developed relatively late in the settlement history of the region. Immediately prior to European settlement much of Southwestern Virginia was unoccupied but utilized by both the Cherokee lands and the Iroquois Confederacy, traversed the area, passing close to present-day Dublin. In the early 1740’s, German and Scotch-Irish immigrants began to follow the ancient Indian trail out of Pennsylvania, south through the Shenandoah Valley, and west across the New River. The Great Warpath became the Wilderness Road opening the west European colonization. Among the first to settle west of New River were Jacob Harman (Hermann), who homesteaded at Big Spring at the source of Neck Creek some 4-miles north of present Dublin and the Eeckerline brothers Israel and Samuel, who with Alexander Mack began Dunkards’ colony several miles southeast of Dublin in the ridge bottomlands of the New River. Others followed and despite reprisals by the Shawnee in the mid-1750’s, the settlers preserved. When Ingals Ferry was licensed in 1762, the New River crossing and lands immediately west became the gateway to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio. King George III closed the area west of the New River to his subjects with the Proclamation of 1763, but his edict went unheeded. Settlement continued and increased the area surrounding Dublin. Joseph Cloyd arrived on Back Creek in 1763, to be followed in 1767 by Joseph Howe and a little later by James Hoge. Their family homes north of town still stand. Two miles west of Ingles Ferry, a settlement named New Dublin sprung up on the Wilderness Road and became the commercial and political center of the area during the 1700’s. During this period, raising livestock was the major economic activity and hemp the major cash crop. Anti-British settlement had resulted from the King’s attempt to give the land back to the Indians in 1763. Many of the region settlers took up arms for independence in 1776. Trollinger Cave just north of the present corporate limits of Dublin supplied saltpeter and gunpowder for the Patriots, a contribution it was a repeat in the next century for confederate soldiers. In 1810, Newbern was established on the Wilderness Road and soon supplanted New Dublin, which vanished during the subsequent decade. The name Dublin survived on a church several miles northwest of the village’s site, now under an arm of Claytor Lake. The Wilderness Road became the Valley Turnpike, still an important link of the West. Then, in 1848, the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, which ran from Lynchburg, Virginia to Bristol Tennessee, was inaugurated. By 1854, the track was extended west of the New River and intersected with Giles Turnpike north of Newbern. A depot was located at the junction and given the name Dublin. Dublin Depot served eastern Pulaski County and Giles County, and a small commercial center developed around it. This depot was of strategic importance during the Civil War. The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad was a vital supply line from the South to Lee’s army in Northern Virginia. Part of Grant’s strategy to isolate Lee involved destruction of the railroad and the bridge over the New River. On May 9, 1864, a two-pronged Union attack converged on Cloyd’s farm and engaged in a fierce battle. The Confederate forces were successful in defending the tracks and supplies stored in the warehouse at the depot, but Union forces did destroy the depot at the New River Bridge. After the Civil War, the railroad was consolidated again into the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Ohio system and then, in 1881 consolidated again into Norfolk and Western. The Town of Dublin was incorporated in 1871, but the Town of Pulaski, which served as a coal and iron mining and smelting center as well as site of the N&W shops, soon surpassed it in regional importance. Dublin apparently faded away toward the end of the Nineteenth Century, since it was necessary to incorporate it again in 1906. It continued to serve as a service center for the livestock-raising area of eastern Pulaski County. There was a sawmill and flour mill, a bank, and the Dublin Institute, a co-educational boarding school. original text at: http://www.dublintown.org/depot.htm

  created: 1-1-2001,revised: January, 2001
©1545-2001 Copyright John D. Trolinger