Preserving the history of the C&O Railway:
The Chesapeake & Ohio Historical Society is a non-profit corporation dedicated to interpreting the American Railway experience using C&O Railway's history through drawings, documents, and artifacts which the Society collects, preserves, and makes available to as broad an audience as possible.
The Society was organized in January 1969 with the first publication of a monthly newsletter, and in 1975 was incorporated as a non-profit eleemosynary organization within the meaning or subparagraph 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Society started as a volunteer operation with an initial aim of publishing a newsletter for people interested in C&O history. Its success led to a formal organization which collects archival materials, photos, etc. Even with becoming incorporated in 1975, the organization remained volunteer-based until 1987 when a building was purchased in Clifton Forge, Virginia, and a full-time archivist hired. The Society has grown steadily since then into its present configuration.
Primary Goal and Vision of the COHS:
To collect, conserve, restore, index, archive, and make available materials on the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway to as wide an audience as possible. To interpret the American railway experience through the Chesapeake & Ohio's historical experience, using data, photographs, drawings, publications, small artifacts, and full-size railroad rolling stock.
- 6,000 square foot archives/headquarters building (owned), state-of-the-art temperature controlled archives facility within.
- 2,000 square foot Archives Annex storing archive material that is yet to be cataloged and indexed (leased).
- 8 acres of land at C&O Smith Creek Yard (leased) which is the location of the C&O Railway Heritage Center, Clifton Forge VA (owned).
- Displays and Gift Shop housed in historically accurate replica 1895 C&O Passenger Station (owned).
- 200,000+ engineering drawings circa 1870's - 1960's.
- 60,000+ mechanical drawings circa 1920's - 1980's.
- 1,500 linear feet of general reference files.
- 7,000+ books and periodicals.
- 200,000+ photographic images circa 1870 to present including about 150,000 official photos taken by C&O, Chessie System, and CSXT.
- 50 linear feet of Corporate Minute Books and Records of 136 companies predecessor to C&O (published finding guide available).
- 16 freight, passenger cars and locomotives of C&O heritage.
This is believed to be one of the largest collections pertaining to the technological development of a single railroad institutionally held in the United States.