Now owned by Goodwill Industries, this building was the center of local public transportation in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It housed the streetcars used by many area residents to move throughout the Kanawha Valley. After the demise of the trolley car lines this building was used as a garage for the maintenance storage of buses.
Constructed around 1903, the streetcar barn has been the home for many different mass transit companies. W.W. Hazard purchased a horse-drawn form of transportation in 1898 and electrified the lines. Hazard formed a partnership with a gentleman named Brown, and the two created the Kanawha Traction Company. 1 This company would change hands many times throughout the following three decades. The lines were extended throughout Kanawha County over the years to St. Albans on the west and Cabin Creek in 1916 on the east. In some locations the track bed is still evident, such as the wide right-of-way along Edgewood Drive on Charleston's West Side and the area across from McKinley Middle School in St. Albans.
Buses began to take business from the streetcar lines in the Kanawha Valley in the 1920s, eventually replacing them completely before the outbreak of World War II.3 Once this happened, the former streetcar barn became home to a fleet of buses.
Over time, the bus garage moved to different locations under different ownership. The Virginia Street car barn was abandoned for other forms of business to inhabit, including McMillion Chevrolet in the early 1950s. Goodwill Industries later obtained the property and have used it as offices, storage, and a retail location at different times.2
1. Cohen, Stan, and Richard Andre. Kanawha County Images: A Bicentennial History, 1788-1988. Charleston, W. Va: Pictorial Histories Pub. Co, 1987.
2."The Charleston Gazette | Sign for Iconic Car Dealership Discovered During Construction Work." The Charleston Gazette. Accessed May 1, 2015. http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20150408/GZ01/150409307.
3."E-WV | Streetcar Lines." E-WV | The West Virginia Encyclopedia. Accessed April 28, 2015. http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/612.