(follow Depot St. NE from N. Franklin St.)
The town of Cambria, originally known as Bangs, grew up around the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad depot, first built in 1856 about a mile away from the Christiansburg town square. Union forces burned the original depot in 1864. In 1868, a new depot was constructed in the Tuscan Italianate style. The Christiansburg Depot is one of only two railroad depots in Virginia built during the Reconstruction period and still standing today. In 1906, Cambria incorporated as a town and a new passenger station was built down the tracks east of the old depot, which was converted to a freight station. The old depot was the hub for all goods shipped by rail into Montgomery and Floyd Counties for almost a hundred years, until service was discontinued in 1960. The 1868 building was restored in the 1980s. (630 Depot St. NE)
Cambria became a part of Christiansburg in 1964. There are several sites of note for visitors to this small railroad community. The Surface-Lee Block, across the street from the Christiansburg Depot, was built starting in 1908. The Colonial Revival commercial structure housed the General Mercantile Company, a grocery, and many other businesses. The original freight elevator can be seen inside the building (now Cambria Emporium antique mall). Also facing the small central square of Cambria is the Dew Drop Inn building, which housed the Altamont Hospital in the early twentieth century and then a popular hotel. Cambria was one of the most significant sites for the economic development of Christiansburg and Montgomery County.
Railroad workers at the Christiansburg depot before 1906.
The 1868 depot before restoration.
An early postcard view of Cambria.
(photos courtesy of the D. D. Lester Collection)