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Ivy Depot

The Ivy Depot was located on Ivy Depot Road (Rt. 786) behind the current Ivy Post Office. Prior to 1859, the rail stop was known as Woodville Depot, named after the local Wood family. The site of the depot was where one of Virginia’s most important routes, the Three Notch’d Road, later the Rockfish Gap Turnpike, intersected with another north/south road and the where the new rail line crossed the Turnpike.

The history of the railroad that came to bisect Albemarle County had its beginnings as the Louisa Railroad in 1836. As the line was extended westward and because it no longer lay primarily within the confines of Louisa County, it was renamed the Virginia Central Railroad in 1850. By 1852, the railroad was extended through Charlottesville to Mechum’s River. Even before the railroad reached what is now Ivy, the Blue Ridge Railroad was chartered as a state enterprise to construct a railroad over and through the Blue Ridge Mountains beginning at Mechum’s River and ending in Waynesboro. The Virginia Central was given rights to the use of this railroad, and the first train entered the Valley of Virginia on April 1, 1854. The extension of this rail service stimulated the economic development of the Ivy area with the construction of a depot in 1851 and a new store across the road which still stands.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the Virginia Central Railroad had 192 miles of main line between Richmond and Covington. During the Civil War this route became one of the Confederacy’s most important lines, carrying food from the Shenandoah region to Richmond, and ferrying troops and supplies back and forth as the campaigns surrounded its tracks frequently. As a result, it suffered much damage at the hands of Federal troops intent on disrupting its operations such that when General Sheridan and his troops stopped at Ivy Depot enroute from the Shenandoah Valley to Charlottesville on March 2-3, 1865, Sheridan ordered the destruction of the depot.

The destroyed station was replaced with a simple one-story brick building measuring 20 by 50 feet. It featured a gabled roof with overhanging eaves and a storage loft above the first floor. The south face had two broad loading doors.

The north elevation, which faced the tracks, had one wide opening for loading freight and baggage, and one projecting wooden bay opening from the passenger waiting room. Passenger entry was at the west gable end through one of two doors set side-by-side. A wide porch protected the entrance for some time. It was replaced by a simple shed-roofed hood over the doors. Window openings in the building had segmental arched heads.

In 1868 the Virginia Central Railroad was merged with the Covington and Ohio Railroad to form the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. In 1878 the company reorganized to become the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Virginia deeded over the Blue Ridge Railroad to the new C&O in 1869. For most of its history traffic through Ivy was primarily passengers and agricultural products and remained very important to the C&O. The height of usage occurred before and during the World War II. Even into the 1950’s the railroad was a significant local employer. Slowly, however, competition from automobiles, trucks, and planes cut into the C&O’s business. By 1970, only Charlottesville remained on the public passenger time tables.

During the first half of the 1930s the present US Route 250 was laid out through the Ivy area shifting traffic away from the depot. Eventually, the ability to cross the railroad at the depot was restricted to pedestrians using a footbridge. In Ivy Depot and many communities like it, the focus of transportation and economics was shifting away from railways and depots. Even the change in the name of the Post Office from Ivy Depot to Ivy, which occurred in 1951, illustrates this shift in focus.

The construction of new tourist lodgings during the period, including the Siesta Motor Lodge (now the Ivy Commons Shops and Duner’s Restaurant) is further evidence of this change.

The Ivy Depot stood until 1977 when it was demolished by the C&O. Much of the material was used to construct a house immediately below the depot site.




Visitor Comments:

Louetta Cody says - November 20, 2009

My parents were from Ivy Depot Virginia and my father’s last name was Wood. I am very interested in trying to find out more about my ancestors.

Doris Wood Sandridge says - January 02, 2010

I grew up in Ivy.  My father, Ervin Wood, was Postmaster from about 1947-1976 and owned Ivy Store (now the Ivy Garden Center) for many many years.

Louetta Wood Cody says - January 07, 2010

Thanks Doris for your reply. My husband and I actually stopped by the store the Saturday after Thanksgiving on our way back to Atlanta from Rochester, NY. We stopped by the Garden Center as well. I plan on coming back sometime during the summer and go to the library and maybe search some records.

Bill Newcomb says - November 30, 2010

My grandfather, Charles Venable Rodes, was born in 1878 and grew up near here at the Midway Plantation.  I recall him telling me that he once went to the depot to get election news which had come by telegraph.

NetGirlJenn says - February 02, 2011

I have always lamented the neglect and destruction of the great train depots of the past. They represented an exciting and powerful period in American period. Now they are all gone or are in ruins. Thank you for preserving the history. Boston DUI lawyers

Joseph C. Earley says - February 21, 2011

I cannot help but grieve upon the immense railroad destruction that has happened over the years. These tracks symbolize our revolution, how man became powerful and significant, yet they lost their sheen with time.

Railroad Construction

Jim Cullinan says - February 06, 2012

I noticed that a Bill Newcomb placed a comment on this site. I, too, am a descendent of the Rodes family at Midway Plantation. I’d sure like to contact him if there is a way for the Historical Society to get in touch with him. Thanks.

Gary Wood says - August 29, 2012

Hello, My Great Grandfather (6 times )John Wood Sr. moved to Albemarle county in 1790, and in 1792 were residents of Earliesville va.. I have documents where He fought in the American Revalutionary War. I also had a Great Great Grandffather live in Ivy about a quarter mile from the Ivy Depot and another Great Grandfather ( 2 times ) work at the depot as an agent. My Question is does anyone know the name of the Wood Family the depot was named after? this would be when it was called the “Woodsville Depot”. this is very enlightening information i did’nt know about. Thank you for sharing this with the public.

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