Georgia State Railroad Museum

Coordinates: 32°04′33″N 81°06′05″W / 32.07571°N 81.10126°W / 32.07571; -81.10126
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Central of Georgia Railway: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities
Entrance to the Georgia State Railroad Museum at the former Central of Georgia Railway: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities
Georgia State Railroad Museum is located in Georgia
Georgia State Railroad Museum
Georgia State Railroad Museum is located in the United States
Georgia State Railroad Museum
LocationWest Broad Street and Railroad Avenue
Savannah, Georgia
Coordinates32°04′33″N 81°06′05″W / 32.07571°N 81.10126°W / 32.07571; -81.10126
Area33.2 acres (13.4 ha)
ArchitectAugustus Schwaab; Et al.
Architectural styleLate 19th and 20th Century Revivals, Late Victorian
NRHP reference No.78000970[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 2, 1978[2]
Designated NHLDJune 2, 1978

The Georgia State Railroad Museum (formerly the Roundhouse Railroad Museum) is a museum in Savannah, Georgia located at a historic Central of Georgia Railway site. It includes parts of the Central of Georgia Railway: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities National Historic Landmark District.[1][3] 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.[4]

The museum is across the street from the Central of Georgia Depot and Trainshed, also part of the historic district. The complex was constructed in 1853 by the Central of Georgia Railway (CofG) before the outbreak of the American Civil War. Savannah Shops and terminal buildings were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, a listing which was expanded in 1978 to include additional buildings in the complex.[2][3][5]

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 Planing 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 Historic Railroad Shops complex is among the finest remaining examples of Victorian railroad architecture and design and is the most intact antebellum railroad repair complex in the country. It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. On-site displays include antique shaft driven machinery, locomotives and railroad stock, model train layouts, an operating turntable, and the oldest portable steam engine in the United States. The Historic Railroad Shops offers a valuable educational experience for students and has also become a popular local tourist attraction.

The complex has been maintained as the Georgia State Railroad Museum and a general industry museum by the Coastal Heritage Society with the assistance of the City of Savannah.

Site history[edit]

The Central of Georgia Railroad 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.[6] 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.[7]

The roundhouse, turntable and other structures were rebuilt in the late 1920s after a major fire in 1923, as well as to accommodate larger locomotives and rolling stock.[6] Passenger trains operated to the Central of Georgia Depot until 1971.[8]

Transition to museum[edit]

The Southern Railway purchased the CG in 1963 and closed the Savannah shops.[7] 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.[9]

Museum facilities[edit]

Museum attractions include:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Central of Georgia Railroad Shops and Terminal". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Eric N. DeLony (February 15, 1978). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Central of Georgia Railway: Savannah Shops & Terminal Facilities" (pdf). National Park Service. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help) (includes 7 pages of drawings) and Accompanying 13 photos, from 1976, 1973, and 1962 (of which 3 show the Depot that is part of the NHL) (32 KB)
  4. ^ U.S. National Park Service. "Central of Georgia Railway: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities." National Register of Historic Places No. 78000970. 1978-06-02.
  5. ^ "UNESCO World Heritage Site Tentative List Nomination for Central of Georgia Railroad: Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities" (PDF). National Park Service (via Google cache). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Coastal Heritage Society, Savannah, GA (2009). "Central of Georgia Savannah Repair Shops and Passenger Station: Historic Building Inventory and Phases of Construction." Archived April 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Georgia State Railroad Museum, Savannah, Georgia (2008). "Central of Georgia Railway Repair Shops." Brochure.
  8. ^ "Passenger Trains Operating on the Eve of Amtrak" Trains magazine Archived 2012-08-26 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Coastal Heritage Society. "Georgia State Railroad Museum." Accessed 2011-06-11.

External links[edit]