The Norge Depot looks like an unassuming building adjacent to the James City County Library on Croaker Road. But in reality, it’s a celebration of a grand history: the founding of the Norge area.
The 34-by-89-foot depot was built in 1907 and originally located at the end of Peach Street. It served as a hub for the original settlers of Norge, mainly Norwegians and Scandinavians moving east from Midwestern locales such as Wisconsin.
The depot now sits next to the James City County Library.
“The railroad was very important to the people coming from the Midwest,” said Paul Cieurzo, of the Norge Depot Association. “This was how they got there.”
He said many of those original settler’s descendants still live in the area. The museum’s doors opened after renovations were made in 2012.
“They managed to get quite a bit of railroad artifacts and set it up quite nicely,” Cieurzo said.
The interior of the depot is lined with pictures and clothing of the era. A caboose, nearly a century old, was added in 2015 and recently renovated as well.
“They did a nice job inside and outside,” Cieurzo said.
He said the museum’s busiest time is during Grand Illumination weekend, when Ford’s Colony hosts its annual model train show at the library and attracts hundreds of visitors. The point of it all is to appreciate where we are now, thanks to our past.
“In today’s day and age, with the cars and the airplanes, nobody thinks about trains, but the railroad played a key role in the development of that area,” Cieurzo said.
Want to go?
The Norge Depot is open 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays and 2-4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.