There is a small town in southern region of the U.S. state of Virginia called Pamplin City. The origin of the town and how the town got its name is unknown. It is known that a man named Thomas Merriman bought property in the region in the early part of the nineteenth century where he built a home and a shoe shop. There was also a man named Nicholas Calvin Pamplin who bought property in the region in the mid-1840’s.
In the 1850’s, a representation of the Norfolk and Western Railway approached both of them about acquiring property for the railroad. Nicholas Pamplin saw the benefit that the railroad would bring to the region, and he donated land to the railroad. For this reason, the town is named for him.
The Norfolk and Western Railway came to town, and the town grew. The main street was lined with stores, hotels, and banks, and great homes were built through the town. The town also had a clay smoking pipe factory. When the railroad declined, so did the town.
If you visit Pamplin City today, you will see a ghost town with abandoned stores. The Norfolk Southern Railway now passes through but does stop here. One of the rail lines that came to the town is now a rail trail. The old train station remains, and it houses the town offices and has a meeting room that can be rented out for parties and events.
The town of Pamplin City is located off U.S. Route 460 on Virginia Route 47 east of Lynchburg. The old train station is on Main Street, but it is not open to the public. It may look like a ghost town today, but history may come alive as you look around.