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Stop 9 12:02 pm
Great American Stations
Manassas, VA (MSS)
Address: 9431 West Street, Manassas, VA 20110
Annual Ticket Revenue (FY 2022): $1,225,029
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2022): 28,823
In July of 1861, this tiny railroad community became one of the most important places in American history as the site of historic battles in the Civil War. Both Union General Irvin McDowell and Confederate General J.T. Beauregard recognized the importance of the town’s location: by capturing the railroad junction, the Union would take possession of the best overland route to Richmond, the Confederate capital. The Confederacy was prepared to defend the junction at all costs. Confederate soldiers, under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson marched to the site of the First Battle of Bull Run through the Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains.
The first Manassas Junction rail depot was a small log building located to the east of the present station and on the north side of the tracks where the Alexandria and Orange and Manassas Gap railroads crossed in 1852.
After the Civil War, the first depot on the present site was a long frame building constructed in the 1880s following the typical depot designs of the Richmond and Danville Railroad Company, which purchased controlling interest in the Orange & Alexandria in 1886. This frame depot was dismantled in 1904 and replaced by a brick passenger depot. On June 25, 1914 a fire broke out in the baggage room and the depot burned, leaving only the foundation and walls.
Work on the third and present depot was completed in October 1914, in a red-brick Victorian style with a ceramic tile-covered hipped roof. The structure partially incorporated the walls of the burned depot, which measured about 20 feet by 77 feet, and had four new rooms; an office, a ladies’ waiting room, men’s waiting room and a baggage and express room. The “new” structure is about 32 feet longer than the earlier one permitting a modified room arrangement and included the addition of an umbrella shed on the front and east side, the installation of electric lights, and an attractive tile roof.
Today the structure houses the offices of Historic Manassas, Inc.; the Tourist Information Center; and the James & Marion Payne Memorial Railroad Exhibition Gallery, operated by the Manassas Museum System.
Pop Art, Music, Literature
The depot also has a place in music history. In 1972, the platform served as the backdrop for the cover of the Stephen Stills album, Manassas, made with fellow ex-Byrd Chris Hillman. The “Manassas” sign on the station’s overhang serves as the title for the album.