The Montpelier Train Depot

Mansion & Grounds

The 1910 Montpelier Train Depot: In the Time of Segregation

The Restored Montpelier Train Depot
As you approach Montpelier from the north, you will see a yellow building on your left, just before turning in to the main entrance. This small train depot and post office was originally built by the duPont family in 1910. Pursuant to existing laws in Virginia and across the South, when designed and initially constructed, this building was segregated, thereby physically separating black and white passengers into two waiting rooms, one marked "white" and the other marked "colored." James Madison's Montpelier recently restored this segregated building to its original 1910 layout, to document this unjust period of legalized segregation in American history.

Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the exhibit In the Time of Segregation is self-guided. Interpretive panels found in and outside the depot address the local African-American community who lived in this area throughout the period of segregation, the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given "separate but equal" accommodation, a look at those who worked in the depot as agents and postmasters, and the operation of passenger, freight and mail service by rail.

Today, the Montpelier Station Train Depot is home to the exhibit described above, while it continues to house an active U.S. Post Office, located in the restored freight room.

Further Reading
Remembering Jim Crow | American RadioWorks
The History of Jim Crow
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow |
For information on the logistics of sending mail via the railway, please see the National Postal Museumwebsite.

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Montpelier Train Depot

Built in 1910 by William duPont from plans provided by the railway, the Train Depot allowed duPont to travel to his work in Delaware and receive goods shipped to Montpelier.