Wilmington & Weldon

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I have read that ACL was created in 1893, yet I have come across a copy of a letter dated April 16, 1889, on "Atlantic Coast Line" letterhead, from H. Walters, VP. & Genl. Manager, in Wilmington, N.C., regarding a contract made by the Wilmington & Weldon R.R. in February 1889. I understand that the W&W was merged into ACL in 1900, and it looks from this letter as if ACL was affiliated with W&W as early as 1889. Does anyone know precisely what "Atlantic Coast Line" entity existed in 1889, and what its relationship was to the Wilmington & Weldon?

-- James M. Guinivan (jguinivan@harkinscunningham.com), September 08, 1999


The Wilmington and Weldon, completed in 1840, has a long history witht he ACL. The two men who would help design the ACL - Benjamin F. Newcomer and William T. Walters, bought interest in the line in 1865 after Robert Bridgers sought capital to rebuild after the Civil War. Using both the W&W and Wilmington, Columbia and Augusta, they wanted to create a rail system from Virginia to Florida. The first use of the name "Atlantic Coast Line" was in 1871, to describe passenger service from Richmond, VA to Charleston, SC. Henry Walters, son of Walter T., took over the project of consolidation in 1884 when he became president of the W&W in 1884. The Atlantic Coast Line Association and Atlantic Coast Dispatch were both formed in 1887, and, as you say, the Atlantic Coast Line Company was formed in 1893. In 1889, the Atlantic Coast line was just a paper consolidation of several lines, including the W&W, that began formal merger in 1898 when the Richmond & Petersburg, Petersburg Railroads became the ACL of Virginia and all roads below NC became the ACL of South Carolina. The W&W stayed independent until final merger on January 12, 1900 of all subsidiaries. I can send you a paper on the history of the W&W I wrote for a presentation that describes this activity in more detail. Let me know.


-- Larry K. Neal, Jr. (lkneal@ncsl.dcr.state.nc.us), September 13, 1999.

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