Duffields Depot (above) — Richard Duffield built this stone structure in 1839 to serve the newly-constructed B&O Railroad line that ran through his farm. The still-active rail line is now owned by CSX, with MARC passenger trains stopping at the open platform a few hundred yards to the west (on the location of a former stockpen). In service until 1884, this depot complex was originally much larger and housed the stationmaster’s quarters along with passenger and freight services. The nearby water tower, grain elevator, and attached wooden warehouse structure no longer exist. In 2006, a private group acquired the property and obtained a grant to help fund the installation of a new metal roof on the original stone structure. In 2018, this group transferred the depot property to the Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission, which is continuing fundraising and work to maintain and restore the historic structure.
Note from the Editor
We have driven past the MARC train parking lot in Duffields for years, not realizing that the historic depot (above) was just a few hundred feet up the track. From the descriptive sign in front of the building, it sounds as if it was quite the bustling complex in its heyday. One wonders what busy areas of Jefferson County today will be similarly transformed in the next fifty years.
A lot of what happens in county government focuses on daily operations — maintenance, public safety, and emergency response. It’s important to keep those “trains” running on time and on budget. But the county government also plays a significant role in how (and where) the county grows (or shrinks). Likewise, the county schools measure results in the classroom daily, weekly and at the end of the year — but the long term payoff comes from educated citizens who have the skills to participate in a twenty-first century economy that is both local and global in the same place.
While it can be tempting to create drama and amplify headlines in pursuit of electoral victory, we hope that the candidates who step up to run for local offices in 2022 will keep in mind that we are all neighbors, perhaps with differences of opinions and priorities, but nevertheless deserving of respect.By Steve Pearson