Kemper Street Train Station Celebrates 100th Anniversary

Lynchburg, VA - A Lynchburg Landmark celebrated a major milestone Wednesday.

It once was the Hill City's artery to the outside world. Now years later, it's still very much alive, and still very important.

It's the city's only station, where for years, thousands of trains have transported millions of people. Wednesday, was a day for the history books, and one that almost never came.

"As railroad lines go in Lynchburg, this is rather recent. This opened in 1911, and the station opened in 1912," said 30 year Amtrak employee, and train enthusiast, Garland Harper.

But as Harper explained, the Kemper Street Station, nearly pulled out of town. It was too big, too old, and trains, they were old news.

"There was a time in the late '90s when we thought we would leave this location, and find another spot in Lynchburg," he said.

But the station, survived, and now, has a legacy to show for it.

"For one, it's one hundred years old and it's still standing!" said Harper.

It was 100 years ago when the first train pulled into Lynchburg's Kemper Street Station. And since, this landmark has seen as much change as the city it serves.

"As you can see from the photographs, at one time there were steps coming down, and covered walkways," said train enthusiast, Howard Gregory.

Gregory took a picture of the station more than fifty years ago. He presented it as a gift to the station; that's now been remodeled, updated, and serves hundreds of travelers every day.

Not to mention, serves as a special spot for a lot of Lynchburg locals.

"Hopefully we're beginning to appreciate some of the architectural gems, some of the buildings that we have, and the building is in great shape," said Harper.

"It's certainly a momentous occasion, the 100th anniversary of anything is quite significant," said Gregory.

The loyal fans were on hand right at 3:57 p.m. Wednesday, when according to a 1912 newspaper, the first train pulled in to the Kemper Street station.