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C&O Milepost 105.4
Station Number: 105
Code Number: 0158
This stop undoubtedly served the Hickory Hill plantation, home of the Wickham family since 1827. The 3,500 acre plantation was traversed by the Virginia Central Railroad, affording the Wickhams quick and easy access to the markets in Richmond. Hickory Hill produced wheat (its major crop), corn, oats, and other fruits and vegetables. Unlike other Hanover County plantations, which sold locally, Hickory Hill sold its produce in Richmond where it brought a higher price. The plantation was quite successful before the Civil War, but the changes wrought by that conflict resulted in several unprofitable decades for the Wickham family. This situation was somewhat alleviated by the income brought in by Williams Carter Wickham; he held several high-level positions with the C&O.
Hickory Hill remained a working plantation until well into the 20th century. A passenger shelter was erected in Wickham in January, 1927. The 1937 Side Track Record showed both a 1895' passing siding (track number 830) and a 500' loading track (track number 831) in Wickham. According to my records, the passing track was retired in 1942. The stock pen was retired in 1943 and the loading track in 1944. The C&O still had some sort of passenger facility at Wickham in 1948. In December of 1956, the C&O petitioned the Virginia State Corporation Commission for permission to discontinue Wickham for freight purposes. All C&O facilities at Wickham were gone before 1963.
|This culvert passes under the tracks in Wickham. Because it’s made out of brick, I suspect that it is a very old structure; newer culverts tend to be made of poured concrete. I also found the fact that CSX excavated the culvert interesting. It seems to be part of a general effort to upgrade the Piedmont Sub. (November 2001 photo).|
|In 1872 Jed Hotchkiss published an article in Scibner’s Monthly that described a trip along the C&O from Newport News to Allegheny. This image is from that article and shows a C&O train passing the Wickham plantation. Note the culvert under the tracks: is it the same as the one in the photo above? Hotchkiss referred to this station as Wickham’s Turnout and noted the proximity of a marl-bed. Marl is a type of soil rich in calcium carbonate and is used as a fertilizer for soils lacking in lime.|
This map was prepared from U.S.G.S. topological maps, C&O track charts dated 1963, C&O Side Track Records dated 1937, a copy of the Side Track Records updated through the 1990’s, and C&O Valuation maps, also updated through the 1990’s.
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