Were you wondering what was going to happen with the old B&O Station in Aberdeen? We have had many questions about the future of the structure that has had a long history of importance, and later neglect.
When we compiled the Historical Society of Harford County's bulletin for Aberdeen's centennial year, in 1992, we focused on the historical importance of railroads in the city. "If it had not been for railroads, the history of Aberdeen would read quite differently," we wrote.
Railroads provided transportation necessary for the products of the surrounding dairies, farmlands and canneries to reach markets in the large cities. By the time Aberdeen was incorporated in March 1892, there were two flourishing rail lines with steam locomotives giving definition to the community. According to the first tax records in 1892, the B&O Railroad paid $82.88 in taxes that first year of incorporation. This railroad was not only a source of revenue, but added convenience for quick and comfortable transportation. Both it, and the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore, (now Amtrak) were considered assets when the federal government chose the area adjacent to Aberdeen for the site of Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1917. During World War I, World War II and the Korean War, the railroads served the nation in transportation of troops and materials.
This standing reminder of all those important services it provided to the community since 1885, when it was designed by Frank Furness, remains. It has long been out of service to the CSX, and has deteriorated, and in June 2003 was condemned by the City of Aberdeen and scheduled to be razed. Efforts have been made by the Historical Society of Harford County, in concert with the Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum, to prevent the demolition temporarily. Individuals and a grant have contributed to a feasibility study which indicated that the building, in very bad repair, still could be saved.
We have written in this column the stories people tell about the role the railroad station played in their lives, wedding trips, shopping trips, call to war and just pleasure trips on the Royal Blue.
So, what is the future of the building? What has been done so far?
The shed dormer, the back roof of the building has been "buttoned-up." This is part of a bracing to strengthen the building by Comer Construction.
The Historical Society has gotten a foundation permit. The cement and gravel have been donated, and they are looking for block.
As we all know, the winter weather has prevented many projects from being started, continued or completed. The B&O is one of those projects, so as soon as the weather is more conductive for work to begin, the move will begin. The mover is anxious!
The Aberdeen library has a March showcase featuring the B&O Station. The Record and The Aegis have run very informational articles and photos.
The Aberdeen Room has a permanent display about our railroads and offers brochures to all visitors with histories of both the B&O station and its designer Frank Furness.
Come on, springtime, and let's get going!