As lovers of Hanover County's history know, railroads played a star role in establishing our region's heritage. And even today, kids and adults are endlessly fascinated by trains. That's why the concept for the Mid-Atlantic Railroad Park proved so popular with I-95 travelers in a recent research study. This exciting walking-tour attraction can become a reality for Hanover/Ashland, but a $50,000 grant from the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation must be matched by Nov. 30, or the entire grant will be withdrawn. This is the very best chance to make this compelling attraction a reality and to raise awareness of our region's unique railroad history.
The park's theme will be the importance of America's railroads, both past and present, through the unique lens of Hanover/Ashland's parallel heritage dating to 1836. Please see a full description and 2-minute video about the concept at ashlandvirginia.com/railroad. Recognizing its potential, VDOT has already pre-approved the attraction for permanent brown signs on I-95.
The Mid-Atlantic Railroad Park will strengthen our region's visibility and economy for years to come as well as help area businesses rebound from covid-19's damage. Open 365 days a year and free, it will be a fun, informative experience for visitors, residents and school groups and will enhance the quality life for the entire area. When it opens (as early as Dec. '21), the attraction will be maintained by the Town of Ashland.
Supportive organizations include the Downtown Ashland Association, Virginia Port Authority, Ashland Museum, Hanover County Black Heritage Society, Marketing Ashland Partnership and CSX. Let's add members of the Hanover County Historical Society to that list!
So please join in by donating securely online at ashlandvirginia.com/railroad, or write your check to Downtown Ashland Assoc. and mail it to P. O. Box 33, Ashland, VA 23005 (write 'Railroad Park' on the memo line). NOTE: a permanent plaque will recognize donors of $5,000+ as Honored Founders and donors of $1,000+ as Honored Supporters. Any and all donations will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for helping to make this happen!
President, Hanover County Historical Society