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Atlee

C&O Milepost 94.5


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Station Number: 93
Code Number: 0140
Tel. Calls: AB

There are two stories about the origins of the name Atlee. One is that the station takes its name from a farmer named A. T. Lee who lived there. Trains would stop “at Lee’s”, hence the name. A more likely alternative is that the station was named after Jacob S. Atlee, a delegate to the State legislature, who also lived in the area. According to a recent article in the Richmond Times Dispatch, the earliest record of the name is in the 1853 Virginia Central Board of Directors’ Minutes.

During the Civil War, Atlee Station was of strategic importance as the nearest telegraph office north of Richmond. On March 1, 1864, Confederate troops attacked and drove off Federal soldiers camped near the station.

At one point, there were both East and West Atlee stations. They were combined into a single station in 1921. The telegraph office was discontinued in 1931. The following year, Atlee was discontinued as an agency station. The station building itself was replaced by a combined passenger and freight shed in 1944. Atlee appeared on the 1947 timetable as a flag stop and apparently remained so as late as 1960. In late 1956, the C&O petitioned the State Corporation Commission for authority to discontinue handling freight at Atlee. Reportedly, the C&O removed the shed in 1962, though it still appeared on the 1963 track charts. There was also a Section Foreman’s house in Atlee. The passing siding (track number 821) in Atlee could hold 71 41' cars. The house track (track number 822) could hold 12 41' cars. The house track was retired in January of 1978.

Photos


The station at Atlee predated the Civil War. After a time, a second stop developed to the west of the original station and, as noted above, there was an East Atlee and a West Atlee station. This photo is of the West Atlee station. The building is an 1880’s C&O standard and this is the only known photo of such a station. Mary-Beth Johnson has identified the man in the photo as her great grandfather Jefferson Grant Thomas. He was the telegraph operator at Atlee until telegraph operations there were discontinued. (Photo courtesy of Mary-Beth Johnson. Used with permission.)
This is the Atlee station circa 1923. It replaced the East and West Atlee stations in 1921 and lasted until 1944. (From the collection of Thomas W. Dixon, Jr. Used with permission.)
This is the Atlee waiting shed in January, 1963. It replaced the Atlee station in 1944. This photo raises a question, though. According to my track charts and Valuation Maps, the Atlee hourse track was in place until 1978 and should be visible beyond the shed. It clearly is not. Does anyone know when it was really removed? (Photo by Jack Spangler. Used with permission.)
The eastbound Sportsman, behind an E8 in tricolor paint, passes Atlee in January, 1963. (Photo by Jack Spangler. Used with permission.)
Another eastbound Sportsman at Atlee in the early 1960’s. (Photo by Jack Spangler. Used with permission.)

This building, mostly hidden by trees, stands near the north end of the Atlee siding. It bears a resemblance to other buildings I’ve seen along the Piedmont Sub, so I snapped a photo. It also caught the eye of Gerald Boeselager, who provided the black and white shot. According to Mary-Beth Johnson the building used to be Verlander’s Store. (Color photo, 1999 by Larry Z. Daily; B&W photo, 1997 by Gerald Boeselager, used with permission)

Map


This map was prepared from U.S.G.S. topological maps, C&O track charts dated 1963, C&O Side Track Records dated 1937, a copy of the Side Track Records updated through the 1990’s, and C&O Valuation maps, also updated through the 1990’s.

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