Atlanta Terminal Station

Terminal Station. View from Spring Street. (Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976, Special Collections Department, Georgia State University Library.)

Opened in May 1905, Terminal Station served Southern Railway, Central of Georgia, and Atlanta & West Point. Beginning in 1916 it also served the Seaboard, which previously used the 1871 Union Station. Until November of 1933, it served the AB&C, which moved to the 1930 Union Station nearby.

Terminal Station closed in June 1970 and was demolished in 1971-72. (Photos of the demolition are online at Georgia State University Library's Digital Collections website.)

The station and train shed were built for the Atlanta Terminal Company at a cost of $1.6 million. The architect for the project was P. Thornton Marye, who also designed Atlanta's Fox Theater.

The train shed was torn down in 1925. The main terminal building was also altered by the removal of the upper belfry sections of its twin towers.

Next door, at 99 Spring Street, was Southern Railway's Atlanta office building (still standing and still in use by Norfolk Southern Railway).

The Richard B. Russell Federal Building now stands on Terminal Station's site. Across Spring Street is the Sam Nunn Federal Center, a complex of federal office buildings built on the site of the former Rich's, once one of the largest department stores in the South.

During the 50s and 60s, many small town Georgians would board the Nancy Hanks II at various stations along the Central's Savannah-Atlanta line for a trip to Terminal Station and a day of shopping at Rich's. The tradition came to an end in the early 70s when the Nancy was discontinued.

Terminal Station. View from high above Spring Street. (Tracy O'Neal Photographic Collection, 1923-1975, Special Collections Department, Georgia State University Library.)

The bronze statue of Southern Railway's Samuel Spencer is visible in the corners of some of these images. Placed in front of the station in 1910, it was moved to Peachtree Station in the 1970s when Terminal Station was demolished. The statue now stands in front of Norfolk Southern's offices on Peachtree Street in Midtown.

From: Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Souvenir Album, 1911. Online at Internet Archive here.

From: Atlanta Souvenir, Atlanta: Johnson-Dallis Co., 1914. Online at Internet Archive here.

Note the nearly full parking lot in this image.

The station was situated at the edge of the "railroad gulch," a Y-shaped area underneath the downtown streets. On the left is the Mitchell Street viaduct.

In the background on the right is a huge holding tank for gas manufactured at Atlanta Gas Light Company's adjacent plant. It was located between Thurmond and Foundry streets on the present site of the World Congress Center.

An idealized view from an old postcard.

A similar photographic view.

View of the train shed and the Mitchell Street viaduct. The shed was demolished in 1925. (From J. D. Cleaton. Atlanta; The Metropolis of the South. Franklin-Turner Co., 1907. Online at Internet Archive.

Not only did the station lose its trainshed, it also had its two tallest towers shortened. (From: Terminal Station, Atlanta, Ga., Georgia Postcards, Boston Public Library on Flickr, Creative Commons License.)

The train shed was replaced by canopies over the passenger platforms.
(John Collier photo, 1941. Online here at Library of Congress.)

A drawing from a 1922 proposal to expand and modify the station is online at Georgia's Virtual Vault.

Terminal Station in Atlanta GA 1967. Photo credit: George Lane, SSAVE. Some photo rights reserved; see this link at Creative Commons. For source photo, see this page at Flickr.


Suggested Reading:

David H. Steinberg and the Southeastern Railway Museum. When Atlanta Took the Train. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2018. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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