Valley Rewind: Southern Railway Station

Courtesy of Swannanoa Valley Museum
Special to Black Mountain News
Black Mountain's Southern Railway Train Depot, pictured here, was once considered one of the busiest train stops in North Carolina.

This month, the Swannanoa Valley is celebrating many of the historical buildings that create the character of our valley. Black Mountain's Southern Railway Train Depot, located on the southeast corner of Sutton and Black Mountain Avenues, was once considered one of the busiest train stops in North Carolina. Southern Railway completed the structure in 1909 but was forced to rebuild the building after a fire ravaged Black Mountain in 1912. In the early 1900s, Black Mountain saw the arrival of up to 10 passenger trains a day. These passengers came to the Swannanoa Valley as tourists exploring the scenic vistas of the mountains, tradespeople seeking their fortune and ailing visitors looking for cures for respiratory ailments such as tuberculosis.

The Southern Railway promoted the “Land of Sky” as the “Pleasure Park of America” and the “World’s Greatest Playground.” The last regularly scheduled Southern Railway Passenger Train ran from Asheville through Black Mountain to Salisbury on Aug. 8, 1975. Since passenger service ended, the depot has served as a shop for local artists. It is currently owned by The Old Depot Gallery and Association. 

The depot has maintained much of its historic facade, making it a wonderful example of early 20th-century design. It is a one-story rectangular building of decorative novelty wood siding and pebbledash in the craftsman style. Hipped roof and flared eaves are supported by massive triangular, carved, heavy-timbered brackets. The interior is in original condition with narrow headboard walls and ceiling. All interior woodwork is intact including the office and ticket window.