ABINGDON, Va. — It’s amazing when you look around the greater Bristol region and see the multiple uses for old train stations.
Of course, the Bristol Train Station makes a great gathering hall.
The old station in Rural Retreat, Virginia, is also a gathering place, recently refurbished, and includes museum-style displays.
In between, you’ll find multiple uses for the old station at Marion.
And in Abingdon?
Well, let’s not miss the Arts Depot, located inside an 1869 freight station. This depot contains art galleries and is frequently the scene of art shows and receptions.
Next door — well, just beyond a red caboose — stands the old passenger train station for Abingdon.
Once, this was a place for the town’s police department.
Later, and during most recent years, this 1909 structure was the headquarters for the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia.
It’s slated to become a bicycle shop, not far from the boardwalk extension of the Virginia Creeper Trail.
That’s an upcoming re-use for Abingdon’s 1909 passenger train station, used for years by the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia.
At the Dec. 19 work session of the Abingdon Town Council, historical society members opted to back out of what’s left of a lease — and eased into a sub-lease with Michael Wright a co-owner of Adventure Damascus.
The historical society’s lease expires in October 2021.
Even so, the historical society has relocated its operation from the train station to another location along Abingdon’s Main Street.
At this point, the depot is pretty much used for storage, said Walter Jenny, the president of the historical society.
“And we have been moving property out of it,” Jenny said. “And it is on the verge of being vacant.”
Wright is interested in the property for a bicycle shop, Jenny said.
As far as the historical society goes, a sublease “would be turning over our interest and responsibilities” to Wright, Jenny said.
Subleasing to Wright could also provide the town with a new business opportunity with the extension of the Virginia Creeper Trail on its west end, Jenny said.