Information on the union station in Savannah, GA : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

I am a student at the Savannah College of Art and design. I am doing a paper on the Union Station that was located here in Savannah from 1902 to 1962, until it was razed for the I-16 overpass. I was wondering if you might have substantial or any information about the building, ie. its traffic, architect, materials used in construction, or anything that I might be able to utilize for my paper. Any information as to why the decision was made to build a station in Savannah and how the whole thing was conceived would be really wonderful. I have been utilizing the Georgia Historical Society for information on this topic, however there resources are very limited. If there is anything that you could possibly provide, information on the building or locations elsewhere to find the information would be greatly appreciated.

-- Christoph Weiss (, September 28, 2001


Interesting images and background info on the station can be found in 'Savannah' published by Arcadia. The Georgia Historical Society authored the work and contact names are noted. It can be ordered at or purchased at better bookstores in the Savannah area.

-- Gregg Turner (, September 29, 2001.

Hey Chris,

The Savannah Union Station (SUS) was built around 1901. I can't be exactly sure on the date because I've heard several conflicting accounts. The station was built to accomodate the Seaboard Air Line RR, Atlantic Coast Line RR, and the Southern Rwy. It was built on the site of an infamous local black ghetto called Frogtown, and most of Frogtown was torn down to clear land for the depot and the displaced folks were relocated elsewhere in the city. Anyway, before the depot was built, the Atlantic Coast Line was using a depot down on the corner of Liberty and Wheaton Street, where they had a large freight yard and a connection with the Chatham County Streetcar lines. This was a stub-end line (much of it is still in place, although the station and most of the vintage buildings are gone) and so Coast Line financed the construction of a new depot nearer to their mainline in west Savannah. Seaboard was using the Central of Georgia depot which was (as still is) located on West Broad Street (now known as ML King Blvd). Southern was probably using the Central depot too, but there's an outside chance that they were also using the Coast Line depot downtown since Southern trains got into and out of Savannah on the ACL. Building a station close to he city made a lot of sense, and it was located quite close to all the major road's mainlines. SAL and ACL had just incorporated on/about 1900, so by 1905 they had just begun physical plant improvements on a huge scale...that hadn't really ever been seen in the South before. The South was largely undeveloped in 1900, so there was plenty of room fro growth and industrial devlopment. The SUS was part of that major expansion/development program. There are a few photos of the depot in the Cordray-Folz Collection in the Ga Historical Society, but not much information remains on who built it and what was used. You'd probably have to go through the Savannah Morning Press newspapers from those days, and that would truly be an agonizing search. I have a few photos that I can e-mail you if that would help. There are also a few maps available in the Ga HS; look for the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps that are available there. There are also some aerial photos available in the Ga HS too, but I can't recall where they're located. It was beautiful; Spanish style, big, with a round rotunda and a large train shed in the back. There was also a small locomotive facility with a roundhouse and a turntable, plus about eight tracks for handling trains and many other tracks for handling freight and perishables. Hope this helps!

Yours Very Truly, John Golden

-- John Golden (, September 29, 2001.

I don't recall that we have anything available in our collection that would help you. One of our books, Orange Blossom Special, does have one photo each of the building's interior and exterior, a Savannah track map, and some information on train operations into the station. You should find the details you need in the trade magazines and newspapers of the day. I would especially recommend the Railway Age and Railway Gazette trade magazines, which typically published extensive descriptions of all major stations when they were built. Many larger libraries have bound volumes of these magazines; I don't know if any Savannah libraries do, but you can find them at the Ga. Tech library in Atlanta.

-- Larry Goolsby (, September 28, 2001.

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