We have the state of West Virginia to thank for preserving the Roundhouse and associated buildings, which closed in 1980, even though a devastating fire in 1991 that took out one of the two roundhouse buildings on the premises.
When West Virginia seceded from Virginia in 1861, everything was thrown in turmoil. Despite joining the Union, the community surrounding the roundhouse was largely southern sympathizers, but the railroad was why this region was carved out of Virginia and forced to join the North.
|This is me waiting for something to happen.|
|In the base of the turntable.|
The railroad remained inoperative until April 1862. Eventually, all machinist tools and engines except one were returned to Martinsburg.
After the war, the town’s fortunes began to change for the better when in 1866, the B&O began reconstructing the roundhouse and the associated shops that stand on the site today, completing them by 1872. Once again, the B&O Railroad yards were a major regional transportation node and one of the major employers of the region.
|Me doing what I do.|
Architecturally, the buildings are rare and outstanding examples of their types, designed by the engineers of the B&O. It is believed that all original design concepts were developed in-house by B&O. The Martinsburg Roundhouse is the only iron framed roundhouse still standing in the world today.
The ghost hunt provided a wonderful opportunity to photograph these incredible buildings in the long angles of the setting sun.
The ghosts that haunt the rail yards include Civil War soldiers moving about the grounds (skirmishes for control of the rail yards took place on the grounds), a mysterious woman who walks on the second floor of the bridge shop, children killed in nearby carriage/wagon accidents are seen playing on the grounds, and several rail yard workers still toil endlessly on in service to the railroad.
|Possible orbs in the rafters of the Bridge Shop. The top photo is for comparison.|
|A weird orb-like thing on the second floor of the Bridge Shop.|
|A rather crisp orb caught in the base of the turntable in the roundhouse.|
|Note the blueish mist changing shape slightly in the
rafters of the roundhouse in the center of the photos.
The white “orbs” at the bottom of the photos are round paper lamp shades.
We believe we encountered the ghost of Ernest Shickle, a B&O railroad employee, while on the second floor of the bridge shop, conversing with him through the dowsing rods and the EMF (electro-magnetic field) meter. He gets grumpy when folks are in his space because they interfere with his getting his work completed.
|Just when you become impressed with the orb photos,
someone turns on the flashlight to show you all the dust motes.
Dowsing rods indicated that Ernie misses his wife, who died in childbirth. Although we didn’t catch any decent EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), previous ghost hunters have caught “Ernest” and “Ernie” on EVPs there.
Whether by day or by eerie night, the Martinsburg Roundhouse is a fascinating place to visit and explore!
Getting there: 98 E Liberty St, Martinsburg, WV
Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. April thru October
|The Belle Boyd House is close by the Roundhouse.|
Curious for more B&O Railroad history? Check out the following articles:
- B&O Railroad Station Museum Ghosthunt
- History Along the B&O Old Main Line Trail
- Exploring the Old Main Line in Spring
Looking for more to explore in West Virginia? Check out West Virginia Daytrip Destinations
Can’t get enough ghost hunts? Check out the following ghost hunts and paranormal investigations we’ve participated in!
Cape May – Lewis Ferry Terminal
East End Breakwater Lighthouse
B&O Railroad Museum (Ellicott City)
Eastern State Penitentiary
Farnsworth House Inn