Gordonsville, Virginia – A Railroad Town
On January 1st, 1840 the Louisa railroad reached Gordonsville, Virginia and was an event that had a profound effect on the town’s growth. It provided passenger travel and the transportation of freight goods making Gordonsville a transportation center for farms and plantations of the area. In 1850, the Louisa railroad became the Virginia Central.
In 1854, the Orange and Alexander railroad extended its tracks from Orange County to Gordonsville to connect with the Virginia Central line and the first depot was built. The second depot was constructed in 1870, and the last one in 1904. The Orange and Alexander and Virginia Central where positioned in such a way that they formed a triangle by the convergence of several lines of a single railroad.
The arrival of the railroads heralded a new era for Gordonsville. The depot was a hub of activity where people gathered. They were thrilled at the sight of the mighty locomotive as the smoke poured from its flaring smokestack.
Passengers arrived at the depot near the south end of Main Street and frequented the nearby Richard F. Omohundro’s tavern and “eating house.” Fire destroyed the inn in 1859, and Mr. Omohundro immediately built the ornate Exchange Hotel on the same site.