Macon and Brunswick Railroad
The Macon and Brunswick Railroad initially ran from Macon, Georgia to Hawkinsville, Georgia. The 5 ft (1,524 mm) gauge line was completed and extended to the Georgia coast when it opened in its entirety on January 1, 1870. Construction of the line stimulated economic expansion along its path, leading to an industrial corridor, and the founding of new towns and Dodge County, Georgia.
Initial construction and completion
The Macon and Brunswick Railroad was chartered in 1856, but track building was halted during the American Civil War. By 1867, fifty miles of track had been completed from Macon, Georgia to Hawkinsville, Georgia. By January 1, 1870, the line had been completed, extending all the way to the Georgia coast. The East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad bought the railroad line in 1881. The line later became part of the Southern Railway Company property.
In the History of Dodge County (1932), Mrs. Wilton Philip Cobb wrote about the founding of Eastman, Georgia:
In 1869 the Macon and Brunswick railroad (now the Southern) was built. Towns began to spring up all along the line, and, as this immediate section was so far removed from the county seat, Hawkinsville, it was deemed expedient to create a new county and place the county seat at this point.
During that period of economic expansion, stimulated by the railroad, Ira Roe Foster, former Quartermaster General of Georgia, operated a saw mill in Dodge County. In 1869, Foster built a residence in what would become the city of Eastman. Foster was one of many who came to the area to participate in the saw mill boom. During the boom, it was estimated that, on average, there was one mill every two miles along the industrial corridor created by the Macon and Brunswick Railroad. Unlike earlier eras, when timber was transported downstream in large river rafts, saw mills along the industrial corridor shipped their timber by rail. In his book The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia 1860-1910 author Mark V. Wetherington states: "Ira R. Foster shipped lumber to Brunswick, where it was loaded onto timber schooners and transported to international markets like Liverpool, Rio de Janeiro, and Havana." When the city of Eastman was incorporated in 1872, Foster served as its first mayor.
- Confederate Railroads - Macon & Brunswick
- "Macon & Brunswick Railroad". Retrieved 2011-03-15.
- Philip Cobb, Mrs. Wilton (1932). "History of Dodge County". Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- Mark V. Wetherington (1 September 2001). The New South Comes to Wiregrass Georgia, 1860-1910 - Timber is King. Univ. of Tennessee Press. pp. 113–114. ISBN 978-1-57233-168-6.