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B & O Railroad Depot and Willard Hotel, Grafton WV



The Grafton B & O Railroad Station and Willard Hotel were the hub of activity in the early 1900's. The railroad was a fundamental part of Grafton’s economy for nearly a century and kept the passenger station busy.

In 1907 John T. McGraw, a local contractor, offered to provide land and build a hotel if the railroad would construct an adjoining passenger station. The business deal was completed and construction began.

On August 11, 1911, the B & O Railroad Station was dedicated. The structure was unique with its marble floors and imposing columns. It housed the necessary offices, ticket and baggage departments, a restaurant and an elegant passenger lobby. At one time there were 33 passenger trains arriving and departing daily from the station.

The Willard Hotel was named for Daniel Willard, the president of the B & O Railroad. It was officially opened on April 17, 1912. This hotel was truly the luxury hotel of its time. It was built with one of the finest ballrooms in the area and was the location for many prominent social gatherings.

The B & O Railroad ended passenger service on May 1, 1971, when engine #12 made a final run out of Grafton. This marked the end of an era for the City of Grafton.

It is the sincere hope and goal of the city to keep the structures preserved for the future. Grafton is currently working on plans for renovation of the buildings. Possible future uses include a railroad museum located in the passenger station. The hotel may be re-adapted to provide retail shops, long term apartments and hotel rooms to accommodate excursion train passengers and visitors to the railway museum.

 
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