Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.
For my older readers and those who haven’t been to Huntington for a while, when you read “Heritage Station,” you may think I’m referring to a restaurant at the corner of 11th Street and Veterans Memorial Boulevard.
However, since 2009, Heritage Station has been the name for what was once “Heritage Village,” and the B&O Railroad Depot before that. The old restaurant space is now occupied by a bakery and coffee shop called Nomada with an attached gift shop called the Red Caboose.
Heritage Station was first constructed as a passenger depot for the Ohio River Railroad in 1887. That line was purchased by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and incorporated into the B&O system in 1901. The former freight house adjacent to the main building to the east and south was constructed in 1890 and expanded in 1897, 1911, and 1916. The entire complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
In the 1970s, after the consolidation of the B&O and several other railroads formed CSX Transportation, and passenger travel moved to Amtrak, the old depot was converted into a shopping center called Heritage Village.
For decades, the depot sat hidden and virtually unused just two blocks from the city center. That is, until the Create Huntington organization got involved and the Huntington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau made it their Huntington Welcome Center in 2006. The name was also changed to the more appropriate “Heritage Station.”
In 2022, Heritage Station is now an artisan retail destination with locally owned shops that is home to public events like the Heritage Concert Series and the annual Diamond Teeth Mary Blues Festival, named for the legendary blues singer born here in Huntington. In addition to Nomada and the Red Caboose, current tenants include several boutiques, a yoga studio, a craft beer bar, and a Cajun restaurant.
In front of the main building are the remaining tracks from the B&O line to Parkersburg, upon which sits an original 19th century steam engine and “Pullman” train car which can be rented out for private events.
The newest addition to Heritage Station is a bed and breakfast called “The Chessie Room” that is housed upstairs in the historic Bank of Huntington building, which is—according to local folklore—the easternmost bank robbed by the James-Younger Gang in 1875.