Roundhouse Railroad Museum
|Georgia State Railroad Museum|
|Location||655 Louisville Road
|Website||Georgia State Railroad Museum|
The Georgia State Railroad Museum (formerly called the Roundhouse Railroad Museum) is located at the Savannah Shops Complex of the Central of Georgia Railway (CG) in Savannah, Georgia. The complex is considered the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States. The museum, located at 655 Louisville Road, is part of a historic district included in the National Register of Historic Places. The historic railroad structures at the Georgia State Railroad Museum site include a partial Roundhouse with operating turntable, partial Machine Shop, Tender Frame Shop, Blacksmith Shop, Boiler House, Storehouse & Print Shop, Lumber and Planning Sheds, Coach and Paint Shops, and a partial Carpentry Shop which now houses Savannah Children's Museum. Many of these structures are open for visitors to explore.
The Central of Georgia Railway started as the Central Rail Road and Canal Company in 1833, and built a passenger station, freight terminal and some shops in the Louisville Road area of Savannah around 1836. However, none of those structures remain today. By the mid-1840s the railway had expanded to 190 miles (310 km) of track, and the CG began construction of new shops in 1851. The first completed building was the carpenters' shop in 1853, followed by the original roundhouse, machine shop, tender frame shop, blacksmith shop and several other buildings in 1855. Additional buildings were constructed at the complex into the 1920s.
Transition to museum
The Southern Railway purchased the CG in 1963 and closed the Savannah shops. Subsequently the railway transferred the complex to the City of Savannah. The Coastal Heritage Society, a non-profit organization, opened the museum on the site in 1989.
Museum attractions include:
- Massive roundhouse with an operating turntable (length 85 feet (26 m))
- Numerous historic railroad buildings
- Historic machinery and stationary steam engines
- Steam and diesel
- Office cars & cabooses.
- Daily tours and activities, sometimes including a short site tour by rail.
- Central of Georgia Railroad: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities - National Register description
- U.S. National Park Service. "Central of Georgia Railroad: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities." National Register of Historic Places No. 78000970. 1978-06-02.
- Coastal Heritage Society, Savannah, GA (2009). "Central of Georgia Savannah Repair Shops and Passenger Station: Historic Building Inventory and Phases of Construction."
- Georgia State Railroad Museum, Savannah, Georgia (2008). "Central of Georgia Railroad Repair Shops." Brochure.
- Coastal Heritage Society. "Georgia State Railroad Museum." Accessed 2011-06-11.