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The Morehead, Kentucky Passenger Depot was built in 1881 by the Elizabethtown, Lexington, and Big Sandy Railroad Company. The depot and station was later purchased by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company in 1892 and closing in the late 1960s. In 2016, the depot was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Later that same year, the city of Morehead approved its transformation into a local history museum, one which chronicles not only railroad history but the history of the area as well.


  • A picture of the museum as it appeared following its initial construction in 1881.
  • A front view of the current museum.
  • A side view of the museum.
  • A profile view of the museum.
  • One of the museum's model train displays.
  • One of the museum's railroad displays.
  • A historical display.

The Elizabethtown, Lexington, and Big Sandy Railroad company ordered the construction of a depot in Morehead, Kentucky in 1880 shortly after installing the town's first rail system, which spanned almost the entirety of Rowan County in Kentucky and stretched through the majority of the state of Kentucky. By 1881, construction on the depot was complete, with the final result being a large, one-story wooden building which sat along First Street in the heart of the city. Under the Elizabethtown, Lexington, and Big Sandy Railroad Company, the station offered both passenger and freight transportation options and continued to do so even after it was purchased by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company in 1892 until 1904, when it began servicing freight only. By 1960, the depot has ceased service entirely. 

In February 2016, the old depot was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a result of its status as the oldest commercial building in not only Morehead, but Rowan County, Kentucky, as well as its connection to the history of the railroad industry in Kentucky. Later that same year, local historians and county officials transformed the depot into the Morehead Railroad and Historical Museum. The museum chronicles both railroad history and the general history of Morehead, Rowan County, and Eastern Kentucky. Today, the museum houses artifacts from the six historic railroads which were established in the area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in addition to artifacts ranging from those relating to the infamous Rowan County Feud to the agricultural history of the region.

These artifacts have been carefully curated by museum officials and arranged in a plethora of displays, many of which bring the museum a great deal of tourism. These displays include a small recreated blacksmith shop, an antique tractor, and an old moonshine still. In addition to this, the museum also possesses a number of Native American artifacts and scale models of steamboats and various trains. The museum also features a theater room where informational videos are shown and offers an annual bus tour which allows participants the opportunity to trace the routes of the six railroads which ran through the area. 

The Rowan County Railroad and Historical Museum is opened every Thursday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and welcomes visitors of all ages.

Morehead Museums. MoreheadTourism.com. . Accessed July 30, 2019. https://www.moreheadtourism.com/explore/railroad-musuem/.

Morehead Railroad and Historical Museum. gluseum.com. . Accessed July 30, 2019. https://www.gluseum.com/US/Morehead/1045640595485819/Morehead-Railroad-%26-Historical-Museum.

Hitchcock, Paul. Morehead C & O Railway Freight Depot Added to National Register of Historic Places. wmky.org. February 26, 2016. Accessed July 29, 2019. https://www.wmky.org/post/morehead-c-o-railway-freight-depot-added-national-register-historic-places.