Rougemont Train Depot
The Save Rougemont Train Depot effort needs your help! The local community members pulled together to move the historic train depot to its final location. Now we need an endowment to maintain the structural integrity of the depot for generations to come. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for this endowment.
Please consider Pledging your gift today. Your pledge will be directed to Preservation Durham, which is the official donee for the Save Rougemont Train Depot effort.
Durham and Durham County were built on the backs of the railroads, beginning only as a stop along the way. In 1854 Dr. Bartlett Durham sold four acres of land to the North Carolina Railroad Company to build a new station between existing stations in Hillsborough and Raleigh. This led to a small settlement which eventually grew into the city of Durham. This growth was greatly spurred by the growth of the tobacco industry in Durham, which relied upon the railroads to get its products to its customers, especially to the north. Eventually textile mills grew along the railroad lines with banks and insurance following as the community prospered. Trinity College was moved to Durham by the Duke family and Duke University was created. One special commodity from the north, which still is being shipped in today by railroad, is the coal needed to fire these industries and the university.
Rougemont was one of many stops along the Lynchburg and Durham Railroad, which later became the Norfolk & Western Railroad. This line hauled farm products but was especially noted for its lumber and coal shipments. The rail that still exists today in Rougemont is some of the heaviest rail used east of the Mississippi River so as to be able to support the weight of these trains.
In fact, the town was named by the wife of the first superintendent of the line whose affinity for things French led to the name Rougemont, or “Red Mountain”, so named for the abundance of red clay and the nearby mountain (which is the tallest spot between there and the North Carolina coastline). She also named the Helena station, which is located in the community to the north also known as Timberlake. To the south, the next station was Willardsville Station, near where Stagville Road crosses over the roadbed.
An exemplar of the original Rougemont Depot is shown above as it existed in 1925. However, this station burned down in 1938 and was subsequently replaced. The replacement building was very similar in style and construction, except for some minor changes in placement of doors and windows.
This station (and its replacement), although one building in construction, was comprised of 3 main parts: the front ticketing and waiting station consisting of separate rooms for whites and blacks, the office area (behind the front part but in front of the freight station; this portion is highlighted by the bay window and semaphore in this picture), and the larger rear freight station.
The first step in restoration was accomplished by moving the existing Depot building from Norfolk and Western property to a new, permanent location on November 20, 2010.
Please visit the Save Rougemont Depot website for more information.