After 1923 – Railroad Avenue looking north
In 1920′s, several new buildings have appeared in the commercial district. The first building visible at the left edge of the photo, on the south side of Thompson St., is the “new” Cox Department store. Today, the Ironhorse restaurant occupies the ground floor of this building. A Safeway Grocery is on the northwest corner of Railroad Ave and Thompson St. That location used to be a picket-fence enclosed lot for tying up horses next to Stebbins store. Stebbins store is a hardware store in this era. Next to it is a two-story building with a little lean-to. Continuing north, the building with an awning facing the tracks is Barnes Drug, home to Homemades by Suzanne today. Next door is the stately “new” Hanover National Bank building, now home to professional offices and small companies.
Notice that the road is paved. Cars have begun to rule the road, but the train still has a large presence in town as well. The old freight depot is still on the east side of the street, across from the train station. The railroad “wye” is curving to the right across England Street to behind the freight depot. What is a “wye?” A wye is a Y-shaped track that allowed a train to be turned around. The RF&P wye was used to turn the Ashland Accommodation Train back toward Richmond.
Ashland’s wye ran from in front of Cross Brothers Market northeastward across England Street to the middle of the next block where it met the other leg of the wye that had started at College Avenue running southeastward. The two legs of the wye joined and curved toward the east, running down the alley to Henry Street behind the old St. Ann’s Church. There was a sidetrack running parallel to and a few feet east of the main track that joined the two legs of the wye creating a triangle. Most of the old Ashland wye is under the pavement of the Randolph-Macon College parking lot and the alley behind.