Ashland is so much of a railroad town that tracks run right down the center of the main drag. And these are not just dormant historic rails. Loud train horns and crossing chimes fill the air every half hour or so.
Much of the Ashland Railroad Run 10K course followed a small road next to the tracks. Between the 10K, 5K and kids’ 1-miler, about 500 people took part in the Railroad Run, a major fundraiser for the Hanover Arts & Activities Center. The center is located along the rails in a former Baptist church.
Trains started rumbling through the area in the mid-1800s as they made their way between Fredericksburg and Richmond. The town grew around a vibrant resort called Slash Cottage started by a railroad company in the 1840s. Ashland and the resort were destroyed in the civil war, but the town started to grow again when Randolph-Macon University, which moved to the area in 1868, began to expand in the 1870s and 1880s.
Randolph-Macon, which was all-male until 1971, now has an enrollment of about 1,200 students.
Ashland, with a population of about 7,000, is in Hanover County. The county just north of Richmond has just under 100,000 residents and is home to Kings Dominion Amusement Park.
16 runs down, 118 to go.
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