Looking back through time: Farmville Train Station turns 120

Published 5:50 am Saturday, June 10, 2023

FARMVILLE – The public is invited to celebrate a special birthday to honor 120 years of a Farmville landmark. The Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society is hosting a 120th Birthday Celebration for the Farmville Train Station at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15 at the station, 510 W. Third Street, Farmville.

During the celebration, everyone will gather for a slideshow presentation of the 120-year history of the train station. Bob Flippen, a member of the Farmville-Prince Edward Historical Society, will narrate the slides featuring old Farmville Herald articles, photographs and more that document how the train station got to where it is today. After the presentation, Flippen will play the two national Pepsi commercials that were filmed at the station.

“It included about 50 local citizens,” said Jimmy Hurt. “It took four days of filming to produce one 60-second TV ad and one 30-second TV ad. Both played on national TV during 1980 and 1981. The kids in the commercial are now in their fifties!”

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Also during the celebration, Ralph Wilson will be recognized for his time as the station manager as he served in Farmville for the Norfolk and Western Railroad for 60 years. The evening will also include door prizes, refreshments and of course, birthday cake.

Farmville train station

A look at the station as it stood in 1942.

A brief history

The whole history of the train station will be covered at the party, but here is a little taste of what’s to come.

The station opened to the public on April 28, 1903, as part of the Norfolk and Western Railroad on the corner of Third and Appomattox Streets.

“This is the third train station constructed in Farmville,” said Hurt. “The first is still standing on Main Street in Farmville next to Walkers Diner. The second was on Appomattox Street in Farmville.”

The station was built a decade before there were cars and trucks, meaning if someone needed to go a good distance the train was how. The train was used by everyone including college students going to school, families going on vacations, employees going on business trips and men going off to war in both World Wars.

The train station was used for many years for both passenger and freight services. Today, the station serves as a location to host local civic meetings, wedding receptions, family reunions and other local events. The railroad tracks were removed years ago but the station building lives on.