The Appomattox Volunteer Fire Department competes in the "Water Battle," 1999 Photo: Bobby Swanberg
The Historic Appomattox Railroad Festival
arrival in 1850 of the Atlantic, Mississippi and Ohio Railroad
(today known as the Norfolk Southern), the railroad has played a
vital role in the development of Appomattox. In 1865, General Lee
retreated toward Appomattox with the strategy of capturing Union
supply trains, but Sheridan's cavalry forced back the advance of
the Confederate guard and foiled Lee's plan. A few days later, on
April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court
Appomattox continued to develop as a trade and
business center built around the railroad, but the 1960s and '70s
saw its decline due to competition from shopping centers located
next to arterial highways. In October 1973, the Historic Appomattox
Railroad Festival was first held to attempt to reverse that decline
and foster renewal and restoration of Appomattox's downtown.
Centered on the railroad theme, today the festival attracts a crowd
of over 25,000. Highlights of the annual celebration include a live
bands, arts and crafts demonstrations, fireworks, a fireman's
competition, "Good Ole' Days," showing how items were made at the
turn of the century, and the "Teddy Bear March," a parade featuring
children marching with their most prized teddy bears. Documentation
includes photographs and a report tracing the history of the
Originally submitted by: Virgil Goode, Jr., Representative (5th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.