Ridgely Railroad Station

 

The center and heart of the village was the railroad, which did not get as far as Ridgely until sometime in 1868. For several years before this, it did not extend below Greensboro where it was met by a stage from Easton. When the founders of Ridgely arrived on the scene, they entered into an agreement with the railroad company whereby the Land Association was to furnish the ties from Greensboro to Ridgely, and the railroad company lay the rails. The result was that the little village soon found itself possessing the dignity of a railroad center, which was a matter of primary importance to an inland community nearly one hundred miles distant from both Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Because of its railroad facilities, it became an important point for travel and a ready market for all kinds of country produce. Much of the town’s business was centered around the original train station, erected in 1867. This building was spacious enough for the accommodation of all enterprises that knocked on its doors. It welcomed the school, several different mercantile firms, public entertainments, and the post office, as well as performed its primary work of maintaining a railroad office and lodging for its different agents. It was replaced in 1892 by the small station that is in existence today. The original station was bought by a Mr. Sinclair and “now (1919) adjoins the Holsinger Store.” It is no longer in existence today, its fate unrecorded.

Changes in the size and condition of Ridgely came with the general shift from rail to highway transportation in the 1950’s. As business and industry began to concentrate in larger urban areas and in more central rural centers, the factories and processing plants in Ridgely could no longer compete with larger and more modern facilities operated by large regional and national corporations.

After the demise of active rail operations, the Commissioners of Ridgely purchased the railroad station from the Delaware Railroad Company in 1966, and it has served both as the town office and a doctor’s office. The rail line has been officially abandoned and plans are in the making to convert the right-of-way to a recreational trail stretching from Greensboro to Hillsboro, passing through Ridgely and Tuckahoe State Park.