History of the Train Depot Building

Railroad Station at Manassas, ca. 1928

The existing depot, between West and Battle Streets, was built in 1904 as a replacement for the original frame depot located to the east about 200 yards. The depot burned in 1912 and was rebuilt in 1914 on the foundation of the earlier structure. The rehabilitation project was carried out through funding from the Federal Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), the Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission, and the City of Manassas.

The building was donated to the city in 1995 by the Norfolk-Southern Railroad and has been transformed into a multi-use facility. As originally designed, the depot had “White and Colored” waiting areas, served by a joint ticket room. The former “white” waiting area is retained as a space for Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express passengers. The ticket room has been designated the James and Marion Payne Railroad Heritage Gallery, housing historical exhibits on the region rail history. The former “colored” waiting room contains the Historic Manassas Visitor Center, and the redesigned baggage area houses the offices of Historic Manassas, Inc.

A major challenger of the rehabilitation project was returning the building as closely as possible to its 1914 appearance while accommodating its modern uses. During the process, much of the original building was reestablished, with the character-defining architectural elements preserved. Restored features include original paint color, wood moldings, reproductions of original doors and light fixtures and most significantly the return of a distinctive clay-tile roof. The clay tiles were supplied by the Ludowici Tile Company, the same firm that manufactured the original 1914 roof.


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