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The 1857 Section Foreman Guest House
Lynda Campbell
Abingdon, Virginia, USA

Welcome to the 1857 Section Foreman Guest House. I hope you enjoy your stay with me as I am celebrating my 150th birthday this year.

Just think of all the changes I have seen in my life time! I was built before the Civil War and survived General Stoneman's Raid December 14th, 1864. I was spared during his raid upon Abingdon for whatever reason - that is still a mystery. General Stoneman ordered everything burned to the ground that was related to the railroad, but I survived! I was home to railroad families until 1963, when I was sold to the last Section Foreman family for $100.00. The Section Foreman was replaced at that time by modern machinery, which took over maintainence of the railroad tracks.

Captain Bill Childress
was the last section foreman
to walk these tracks.

As you look through my kitchen windows, close your eyes and pretend you are seeing what I once did. I saw the pain and glory of the Civil War, men dying and the slaves set free. I saw the trains pass through carrying hobo's, Elvis Presley, and the President of the United States. First Ladies got off the trains at the station and visited downtown Abingdon. Wall Street was elbow to elbow with every walk of life - blue collar to white collar, First ladies to ladies of the night, pool hustlers to bankers and lawyers. During each war the caskets were unloaded here, bringing home the fallen soldiers. The hotels and shops on Wall Street eventually fell to newer and more modern concrete structures located by the highway. Tasteless buildings built by machines, and not by the sweat of the brow like I was. My structure consists of railroad ties, 8 x 6's, tongue and groove, and handmade brick - constructed on site by men who worked for 20 cents a day.

In recent years I have been restored and updated to make my new job as a guest house more pleasurable for your stay, while retaining a feeling and appreciation of my past. I hope you enjoy your stay with me, and that you will return with new friends to visit again in the future. I am proud to be one of the few surviving Section Foreman railroad houses, available for you to spend the night within.

left: The bridge across the railroad tracks provides easy access to
downtown Abingdon from the side yard of the guest house.
right: View of Abingdon from the upper deck of the house.

Across the tracks from the house, you'll find the Train Station, home to the Washington County Virginia Historical Society. The freight depot, rebuilt by the railroad after Stoneman's Raid, is the home of the Depot Artists Association with working studios and galleries open to the public. The old Depot Square hotel now houses antique booths, as well as an art print and frame shop.

In Abingdon, you can find nearby eateries in walking distance along the main street of town, which is accessible by the bridge walkway above the adjacent tracks. While walking down Main Street you will also find a variety of gift and clothing stores and half-a-dozen antique shops.

If you are in town for the Virginia Highlands Festival in August, you can walk to the main festival grounds or catch the trolley transportation to the Antique Market on the grounds of the communty college.

If you are here for the NASCAR races at nearby Bristol, Tennessee in April or August, you have easy access and about a 15 minute drive via the direct by-pass route.

If you are here to enjoy the region's musical or natural offerings, they are only a short pedal or a quick ride. Some of these offerings include the Virginia Creeper Trail for hiking, biking or horse riding, the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, and the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, near Gate City.

Whatever your interest, your stay at the 1857 Section Foreman Guest House provides you with the privacy and comfort of a fully furnished house, from which you can explore the culture and scenic beauty of a historic mountain town.

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