Atlanta Union Station of 1853

Atlanta's Union Depot during the Civil War

Atlanta, September 1864. (From The photographic history of the Civil War : in ten volumes, 1911, vol. 3. Online at Internet Archive here.)

Atlanta's first union station, constructed in 1853, stood in the block now bounded by Central Avenue, Wall Street, Pryor Street, and Alabama Street (next to today's Underground Atlanta). Designed by civil engineer E. A. Vincent, it was initially known as the "passenger depot" but came to be better known as the "car shed."

This building served the Western & Atlantic, the Georgia Railroad, the Macon & Western, and the Atlanta & West Point. It was the center of the antebellum southern rail system that extended from Atlanta to Memphis, Mobile, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, Alexandria, and Louisville.

View westward to station. Photo cropped from a larger view available here at Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Close-up view of the station. Photo cropped from larger view "Atlanta, Georgia. Railroad yards" available here at Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

Atlanta, Ga. Ruins of depot, blown up on Sherman's departure.
(From: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Higher resolution versions available here.)

The car shed was destroyed by Sherman's troops in 1864. Six years later a new station was built on the same site.

(This 1853 station was the model for the main depot of the Scenic Railroad at Stone Mountain Park.)

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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