Georgia Railroad Freight Depot

Built in 1869, the Georgia Railroad freight depot is the oldest building in downtown Atlanta. Constructed four years after the Civil War ended, the structure was designed by Corput and Bass, an Atlanta architectural partnership that contributed several buildings to the recovering city and its environs. Max Corput also designed Atlanta's second Union Station, completed in 1871.

The adjacent parking deck once featured a Whaling Wall mural by the artist Wyland. The whales were shown life-size.

When the Georgia General Assembly is in session, the depot is the scene of many legislative banquets, luncheons, and receptions. It is also available for weddings, receptions, and other events.

Although the French doors with their delicate fanlights are a bit out of place on a freight depot, the building's rehabilitation as a banquet facility is a huge improvement over its 1970s use as a parking garage. Much of the credit is due to the late Steve Polk, a former director of the Georgia Building Authority and a railfan, who understood that railroad heritage and economic development can be effective partners. The plaza beside the depot is named for Polk.

From 1993 to 2010, an adjacent parking garage had a huge whale-themed mural that towered over the depot. It was removed in a recent renovation.

Text of historic marker in the building.

The depot's western end once featured a three-story Italianate office block topped by a cupola. After a 1935 fire the upper two floors were removed.

The depot is visible on the right side of this photo taken from the capitol dome. (See also 1898 photo at Atlanta History Center).

The photo above shows the same scene in more recent times. The depot is directly under the whale mural.
From: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, HABS, Reproduction number HABS GA,61-ATLA,3--92. Cropped. Full photo at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ga0413.photos.056920p/

 

1899 map showing the depot and roundhouse.


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