A site of bustling activity and excitement, the original depot was built in 1858. The trains stopping at the depot delivered manufactured goods, new ideas and visitors from afar. Local agricultural and mining products found their way to the markets of the world.
During the Civil War, the first depot building was burned in Stoneman’s raid. In June, 1866, the Norfolk and Southern Railroad rebuilt the depot on its original site. In 1870, it was expanded to include a freight station, the present day Arts Depot building.
After more than a century of service, the freight depot was closed in 1981. The Town of Abingdon purchased the property. Four thousand hours of volunteer work and financial contributions of local citizens were invested in renovating the aging landmark to create a new home for the Depot Artists Association (formerly, the William King Artists Association).
The Depot Artists Association was originally founded as the William King Artists Association. In 1990, the organization changed its name and moved to the old Norfolk and Southern freight station which is now known as the Arts Depot — home of the Depot Artists Association.