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Home North Carolina Richmond County City of Hamlet Historical Markers Hamlet Station

Hamlet Station

Hamlet Avenue at Wilmington Street, Hamlet, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 34° 53' 15.3492", -79° 41' 52.2564"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Built in 1900 to serve Seaboard Air Line Railroad. Depot was major stop for passengers on east-west & north-south rail lines. About 2 blocks east."
     The town of Hamlet developed with the growth of railroads. The principal north-south and east-west rail lines were laid so as to intersect at the small village, making it one of the most important hubs in the southeast for both travelers and freight transfer. The town was incorporated in 1897 and is defined by its position on the railroad, with five spurs radiating towards Richmond, Wilmington, Atlanta/Birmingham, Savannah/Charleston, and Columbia.

     To reflect its importance as a railway hub, particularly since it served as the headquarters for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, an impressive passenger depot was constructed in Hamlet in 1900. Land for the depot was purchased from one of the town’s founders, Frank Shortridge, for a nominal fee. Shortridge had moved to the area by 1874 and had helped to choose the location and name for the town near his textile mill. One of the state’s finest passenger stations, the depot features a large building with long porches and a prominent pavilion at the intersection of the two main railroad lines. The depot served both passenger and freight traffic for many years.
     To preserve the importance of the Hamlet station to railroad traffic, Seaboard in 1954 built a new automatic pump-retarder yard stretching three miles north of the depot. When it was new, the rail yard was said to be the most modern facility in the world with a capacity of 5,000 cars. As passenger train travel fell by the wayside once automobiles and airplanes took over the transportation market, the depot became less efficient and was closed. In an adaptive re-use program, the building was renovated to accommodate the National Railroad Museum, which opened in 1976 and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans are underway for a full-scale restoration of the building, which was moved to its present location for preservation.

James E. and Ida C. Huneycutt, A History of Richmond County (1976)
Catherine Bishir and Michael Southern, A Guide to the Historic Architecture of Piedmont North Carolina (2003)
National Railroad Museum website: http://www.micropublishing.com/railroad/
Piedmont and Western Railroad Club website: http://www.pwrr.org/nstation/hamlet.html
Hamlet Station North Carolina