The Bristol Train Station has been central to much of the local history. Indeed, local historian Bud Phillips believes "there would have been no Bristol had it not been for the coming of the railroad." The railroad was the venue through which Bristol received goods, news, mail and new residents. It was also a conduit for local goods to be transported to other markets. Local residents fondly remember shaking hands with President Herbert Hoover, meeting friends and family, and taking vacations or business trips on Number 42 to New York City. College students came to Bristol or left for university by rail. For decades, the Train Station was the center of Bristol's community, beginning with the arrival of the first passenger train on October 1, 1856. The first train arrived at Bristol's original depot which was burned during Stoneman's raid on December 14, 1864. After the Civil War ended, a freight car was set up as a depot. In late 1865 and early 1866, a new depot was built for Bristol. By 1881, Bristol had outgrown this depot so it was replaced by a new building in January 1882. By 1889, a totally new depot had been designed. Although that depot was never built, the present Trainstation which was finished in 1902 bears a striking resemblance to that design. After passenger service from Bristol was stopped, the Train Station was used for shopping & dining and then was left empty. In 1999 the Bristol Trainstation Foundation purchased the building to renovate it to its former glory and as not only a glorious meeting facility, but also a centerpiece of downtown revitalization.
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