Central of Georgia Railway
In response to the innovative South Carolina Railroad that was diverting cotton and other products from the Piedmont area to Charleston, South Carolina,
With tracks that passed through some of the most productive cotton lands in the state, the Central was a vital element in the antebellum Georgia economy. The extensive and innovative roundhouse complex built in Savannah in the 1850s survives today as the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the nation.
In the postbellum era the railroad underwent another phase of expansion and profitability. It expanded operations into Alabama and Tennessee, founded numerous short lines that connected Georgia cities and towns, created a steamboat line that linked Georgia to the major port
In the early twentieth century the Central promoted the development of Birmingham, Alabama's coal and iron industry, actively recruited chemical and textile industries into Georgia, and fostered investments in new agricultural, forestry, and clay products as substitutes for the declining economic importance of cotton. As part of its passenger service, the Central lured tourists to Tybee Island, among other southern destinations, and it offered relatively inexpensive connections between Atlanta, Macon, Columbus, and Savannah. Nevertheless, economic hardships forced the Central into receivership in 1932, where it remained until 1948.
The Central of Georgia Roundhouse Railroad Museum is administered by the Coastal Heritage Society and has been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Max Dixon, "Building the Central Railroad of Georgia," Georgia Historical Quarterly 45 (March 1961): 1-21.
Jackson McQuigg, Tammy Galloway, and Scott McIntosh, Central of Georgia Railway (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 1998).
Richard E. Prince, Central of Georgia Railway and Connecting Lines (Millard, Neb.: R. E. Prince, 1976).
Dorothy Houseal Stewart, "Survival of the Fittest: William Morrill Wadley and the Central of Georgia Railroad's Coming of Age, 1866-1882," Georgia Historical Quarterly 78 (spring 1994): 39-65.
Mark R. Finlay, Armstrong Atlantic State University
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.