depots spotted in North, SC : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I need help identifying two depot structures I stumbled on just south of North, South Carolina. They are located along the east side of US-321 south of the junction with US-178. The ex-SAL Savannah-Columbia main parallels hwy. 321 just to the west. One is a small SAL wooden combination depot painted overall tan, including the nameboard, unfortunately. I could almost make out "SWANSEA S.C.", but my eyes may have been tricking me. It's partially obscured by brush on private property, and knocking on nearby doors proved fruitless. The second one is barely a quarter mile south. It's a larger Asbestos-sided tall-roofed structure now being used as a beer joint. It wears a fake red barn facade on its front. My guess is that this larger one was the depot in North, while the smaller one was transported from another town. Any info. will be greatly appreciated.


-- Bob Venditti (, August 24, 2001


Hi Joe. The small depot I saw at North may very well not be the one from Swansea; this is only speculation on my part. Someone did too good a job with a paintbrush when they covered over the nameboards. I've looked hard at the slide I shot of the depot, but I'm not able to make out what lettering lies beneath. The North Air Force Auxiliary Airport is very active these days, as I found out much to my surprise. While in North, a very large transport jet swoopped past at what I consider far too low an altitude. I practically ran my car off the road upon hearing what sounded like a tornado overhead. The field is southeast of town, but I don't recall seeing any rail spur headed off the ex-SAL in that direction. Hope your travels turn up some answers.

-- Bob Venditti (, September 05, 2001.

Opps, my finger got the best of me.


Your posting is intersting to me for several reasons. Foremost is what's the Swansea depot doing in North? Also from around 1913-1921 (construction began in 1911) the 17 mile long Orangeburg RR ran along the 'east' side of the North Edistoe River between the city of Orangeburg and North. Earlier this year I post an inquiry about this line at

In either 1941 or 42 the Army Air Force constructed an airfield directly south of North and I have been told that a spur ran to into it from the SAL. Perhaps your larger depot maybe related to the airfield which by the way is still active.

In 1922 the assets of the ORR were sold off with the SAL reclaiming their rails which were leased to the ORR and the buildins purchased by private parties. So I doubt that either of the two depots you saw were related to the ORR. But why was the Swansea depot relocated down the line to North and if so, when? As I travel daily between West columbia and Orangeburg and occassionally make the journey by way of North and Swansea I plan to check this out in the near future.

Joe Bartolini

-- Joe Bartolini (, September 05, 2001.

-- Joe Bartolini (, September 05, 2001.

I meant Bob, not "Jim". sorry.

-- Bob Venditti (, August 26, 2001.

Hey Jim, Being just south of North, South Carolina is confusing enough. But one doesn't have to wander too far to visit Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, SC...all on the Seaboard! Pack a passport!!!

-- Bob Venditti (, August 26, 2001.

Well, this question has all the directions covered. The depot is EAST of the main which is WEST of the road in NORTH, SOUTH Carolina.

Is there anything NORTHEAST or SOUTHWEST of town?

-- bob lowry (, August 26, 2001.

Tom, You are also correct.In the early days there was no state shown.

-- j (, August 25, 2001.

Messers Brennan and Oates are correct about the state designation on SAL station nameboards... At least in our life times! I was mislead by looking at pre-1920 postcards. But, when I looked at John Gilbert's book, CROSSTIES TO THE DEPOT, Virginia RR Stations, there, plain as day, was the VA after each station name. Should have searched further before posting. Which begs the question, When did the SAL start this practice, and why?

-- Tom Underwood (, August 25, 2001.

You are very correct,professor.Seaboard station signs included the state.

-- Joseph Oates (, August 25, 2001.

I'm puzzled by one statement in Tom's answer. As far as I know, SAL was one of the few railroads that DID include the state name (or abbreviation) on depot signs- a practice now followed by Amtrak. I took a quick glance through a few books and confirmed this. I always wondered why SAL did this when most roads didn

-- Larry Brennan (, August 25, 2001.

First. I'm dubious about the nameboard, SWANSEA S.C., as I can find no evidence that the SAL used a state designation on their station signs. The sign would have read just SWANSEA.

Second. If these are railroad constructed buildings, they are well away from their original location. The stations and mileposts on the SAL south out of Columbia are as follows: Columbia(mp.359.7), Cayce(361.6), Dixiana(366.7), Ehrlick(368.6), Gaston(375.0), SWANSEA(380.8), Woodford(386.1), NORTH(388.7) and North Edisto River bridge(390.1). Both Swansea and North were flag stops from circa 1930 until at least the SCL merger. If there's a county historical society in Columbia, someone there may know the origins of these buildings

-- Tom Underwood (, August 25, 2001.

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