The initial president of the South Atlantic & Ohio Company was a man from Scott County named Major Henry Clinton Wood. A railroad was completed via prison labor through Gate City by about 1887 and through Big Stone Gap by May of 1890. The railroad’s arrival to Scott County and Bristol signified not only a greater and more extensive connection with outside regions, but also an economic boom for the city in exchange for a drastic decrease in local manufacturing.
By around 1892, the South Atlantic & Ohio Company had been overtaken by a larger company. In 1898, its property was foreclosed and purchased by bondholders. In 1899, the property formerly of the South Atlantic & Ohio Company was purchased from a syndicate by the Virginia and Southwestern Railroad Company. The Virginia and Southwestern Railroad Company was the product of a merger between the Ohio Railroad Company and the Bristol, Elizabethton, and North Carolina Railroad.
The first floor of the building includes a few alterations from the its initial appearance when it was constructed nearly 135 years ago. The first floor once featured two soldier-course arches and stone keystones, but they were filled and covered with brick at an unknown date. Additionally, the metal commercial doors in the front are additions installed sometime around 1980. The second-floor front facade includes additional windows with soldier course arched openings and stone keystones.
The third floor features five window bays. Each bay now includes a one-over-one replacement window installed around 1990. The front of the building also includes an additional large two-story brick wing which was completed around 1910. The façade of the 1910 wing includes a large window and entry bay with a commercial door, all installed sometimes around 1980. This bay has also since been filled in with brick. The backsides of both buildings appear quite irregular. The rear of the initial structure includes a shed roof canopy and is connected to the back of the 1910 addition. Both buildings once included additional windows and entrances which have since been filled with brick or covered with plywood.