Baltimore and ohio railroad martinsburg shops

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops
B&O Martinsburg West Roundhouse
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops
Location 300 East Martin Street, Martinsburg, West Virginia

39°27′39″N 77°57′34″W / 39.46083°N 77.95944°W / 39.46083; -77.95944Coordinates: 39°27′39″N 77°57′34″W / 39.46083°N 77.95944°W / 39.46083; -77.95944

Built 1866
Architect Albert Fink; Johann Niernsee
Architectural style Other
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 03001045
Significant dates
Added to NRHP [1]
Designated NHL [2]

Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Martinsburg Shops is a historic industrial district in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It is significant both for its railroading architecture by Albert Fink and John Rudolph Niernsee and for its role in the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. It consists of three contributing buildings. The presence of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company in Martinsburg dates back to the late 1840s when the first engine and machine shops were erected for the expanding company.

Ante bellum history

  • February 28, 1827: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is founded.[3]
  • May 21, 1842: The first steam locomotive arrives in Martinsburg.[3]
  • November 10, 1842: The first passenger train arrives in Martinsburg.
  • 1848-1850: First roundhouse complex built at Martinsburg.

Civil War history

When Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, the region's social and government institutions were thrown in turmoil. The Civil War decimated both the region and Martinsburg, specifically because of the railroad yards.

  • May 22, 1861: Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops stopped all trains going East at Martinsburg and Point of Rocks, Maryland during the Great Train Raid of 1861. Once he determined that all of the trains that could be caught were in his trap, he blew up the bridges to the West and blew down the rocks on the tracks to the East, and pirating of the B&O equipment began. In total, 42 locomotives and 386 cars were stolen and destroyed. 36-½ miles of track, 17 bridges, 102 miles of telegraph wire, the “Colonnade” Bridge and the B&O roundhouse and machine shops were destroyed.
  • October 19, 1862: Roundhouse Complex burned by Confederate troops under Colonel Jackson.

Post bellum history

In 1866, the B&O began reconstruction of the roundhouse and associated shops that stand on the site today, which were completed in 1872.

  • 1866-1872: Present roundhouse complex is re-built. Major buildings consisted of the West Roundhouse, East Roundhouse, Bridge & Machine Shop, and the Frog & Switch Shop.
  • July 16, 1877: First nationwide strike, the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, begins when rail workers at Martinsburg start an action to protest pay cuts. Their work and traffic stoppage soon spread across the country.

Modern history

The facilities were used until the mid-1980s when all local operations were transferred to other locations and the complex remained vacant until restoration began in 1999.

  • March 14, 1988: Facility closed down operations.
  • May 14, 1990: Young vandals set fire to wooden pallets in East Roundhouse (later of the two) nearly totally destroying the building.
  • 1999-2000: Berkeley County Commission purchase roundhouse complex and transfers property to newly created Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority. Restoration and renovation of complex begins.
  • July 30, 2003: B & O Roundhouse is designated a National Historic Landmark.[2][4]


External links

  • Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority - Preservation and rehabilitation agency
  • Scale Drawings of East and West Roundhouses
  • Historic American Building Survey

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