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Georgia State Railroad Museum,
Savannah, GA

This National Historic Landmark site, formerly named the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, is the oldest and largest existing nineteenth-century railroad operations complex in the nation. Construction began in 1850. Thirteen of the original structures remain today. The Central of Georgia Railway handled freight, passengers, maintenance, and manufacturing at this single location.

The complex is owned by the City of Savannah and has been operated since 1989 by the Coastal Heritage Society. Five of the buildings house permanent exhibits, including the roundhouse with its operating turntable. Visitors can see steam and diesel locomotives, rail cars, steam-powered machinery, model railroads, and a 126-foot brick smokestack with privies around its base.

Across Old Louisville Road from the museum is the former Central of Georgia passenger station (301 M.L. King, Jr. Blvd.), now the Savannah Visitors Center. Built in 1860, it is one of the oldest railroad stations in Georgia. Inside are exhibits on the history of the city. Under the train shed is Central of Georgia No. 103, a Baldwin steam locomotive built in 1890.

Across the parking lot from the passenger station are two more former Central of Georgia buildings. The red brick Romanesque Revival structure at 233 M.L. King, Jr. Blvd., designed by Alfred Eichberg and Calvin Fay and built in 1887, once housed railroad offices and an outbound freight warehouse. Rehabilitated by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to house its School of Building Arts, it is now known as Eichberg Hall.

Next door at 227 M.L. King is the SCAD Museum of Art. This 1856 Greek Revival building was originally the railroad's administrative offices.

1891 view of the complex.

Among the museum's steam locomotives is Central of Georgia No. 223 (above). This 1907 Baldwin C-3 class 2-8-0 was formerly displayed at the Iron Works convention center in Columbus before being moved here in 1998.

No. 223 before it was repainted.

This 0-4-0 tank engine was built by H.K. Porter in 1905.

Davenport industrial locomotive with Caterpillar engine.

The 85-foot turntable was made in 1907 and was moved from the Central of Georgia shops in Columbus.

Central of Georgia passenger and office cars.

More photos.

For a detailed look at railroad shops and their operations, see Railway Shop Up To Date; A Reference Book of Up to Date American Railway Shop Practice (1907). Online at Internet Archive here.


RailGa.com. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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