Rockville B&O Railroad Station, Early 1900s
Built in 1873, the station was one of several stops along the route between Washington’s Union Station and Point of Rocks where the Metropolitan Branch joined the B&O Main Line of the railroad. Along the route of the railroad were twenty-six stations. In the early days people came to the stations on foot, on horseback, in buggies. Some wives took their commuting husbands to the station in the buggy in the morning and then met the train as it came through in the evening.
While the station helped to spur Rockville’s early growth, development pressures would later threaten its existence. In the mid-1970s Metro’s original plans for the Rockville Metro Station and the final phase of construction on the Red Line called for the demolition of the B&O Station which by then was disused and in disrepair. However, Peerless Rockville, then only one year old, brought the station’s plight to the attention of the City and Metro, ultimately negotiating a compromise—the station and its freight house would not be demolished, but instead would be relocated so that a new tenant could be found to occupy the historic buildings, while allowing the Metro construction to continue as planned.
In 1981, the 400-ton station carefully was lifted off of its foundation, moved approximately 30 feet to the south, and reoriented 180 degrees so that the train platform which originally faced the tracks now faced Church Street and the Wire Hardware Store.
It’s been twenty years since I lived in the Rockville area, but I remember Reed Brothers Dodge well. A point of interest about the B&O station; in the mid ’60s the railroad leased the second floor to the Rockville Society of Model Engineers, and a large model railroad was constructed there. The right door on the first floor in the third photo was the entrance/access to the second floor. The grade crossing in the first photo was the scene of a fatal crash between the railroad and a school bus some time in the ’50s.