The impact of the proposed third track through the Town of Ashland can be conveniently organized into the following three categories:
- Safety and Environmental;
- Cultural — including the impact on historical buildings and sites; and
We plan on publishing a series of posts illustrating concerns to do with all three areas. The first post in the series falls into the “Cultural” category; it is to do with loss of access to a home that Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson slept in.
One of the many historical homes on Center St. is known as the McMurdo house. Built around 1858, Jackson stayed there to meet with senior officers the night before the Seven Days’ Battle in 1862. The home was later used as a Civil War hospital.
The map below, which was downloaded from the project site, shows the location of the McMurdo home and the proposed third track down Center St. (the yellow lines show the existing track, the red line is the proposed new track and the orange arrow points to the McMurdo home.) Were a modern-day Jackson to visit this home he or she would have to take the side door — the street itself will be gone.
To visualize the impact of the proposed third track please glance at this video — imagine a train running at high speed along the proposed track, which would be between the existing track with the train on it and this historic home.