Attention: Train Lovers! You need to make your way to Savannah, Georgia to visit the oldest and largest existing 19th century railroad operations complex in the country. Construction on the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, now called the Georgia State Railroad Museum, began back in 1850. Would you believe 13 of the original structures remain today?
The Roundhouse Railroad Museum is located at the old Central of Georgia Railway Savannah Shops and Terminal Facilities, which served as a major repair facility for the Central of Georgia Railways. It was a vibrant part of Savannah’s industrial heritage. Owned by the City of Savannah, the complex has been operated by the Coastal Heritage Society since 1989. Visitors can see permanent exhibits in five of the buildings. There’s even a roundhouse with an operating turntable! In addition, there are historic railcars and rolling stock on display, along with model railroads, steam-powered machinery, and a 126-foot brick smokestack.
You can take a ride into Savannah and America’s past on one of the rides which rotate between the No. 30 steam locomotive built in 1913 and the No. 119 diesel locomotive built in 1947. Get the full 2014 train ride schedule here.
There is a great deal of programming available at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum as well. After your nostalgic train ride, you can take a guided tour of the museum’s office or watch a blacksmithing demonstration. And across Old Louisville Road from the museum, there’s the Savannah Visitors Center, which was formerly the Central of Georgia passenger station. Central of Georgia No. 103 is located under the train shed. That’s a Baldwin steam locomotive that was built in 1890!
But don’t stop there. There are two more former Central of Georgia buildings across the parking lot from the passenger station. The first is known as Eichberg Hall, which houses the School of Building Arts for the Savannah College of Art and Design. It is a red brick Romanesque Revival structure that was once home to railroad offices and an outbound freight warehouse. And just next door is the SCAD Museum of Art, which is housed in an 1856 Greek Revival building that was originally the railroad’s administrative offices.
So now that you know all about the Roundhouse (or Georgia State) Railroad Museum, you may want to know more about the details. The attraction is located at 655 Louisville Road, Savannah, GA 31401. If you have any questions, you can call (912) 651-6823. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. General admission is $10 for adults, and that includes train rides and all regularly scheduled activities. It’s $4 for children 6 and under and free for children under 1. If you’d like to take a locomotive cab ride, those are $10 for diesel and $20 for steam. They are subject to availability.
As you plan your trip to visit the museum, we encourage you to reserve your stay with us at the Presidents’ Quarters Inn Bed and Breakfast. Our Inn is newly decorated with both antique and period reproduction furnishings, and we have accommodations that feature king and queen beds, all dressed in complimentary designer linens. Find your perfect room here!
Photo courtesy of: Lee Coursey