Historic Train Depot Not to be Missed on Visit to Flowery Branch!
Since being moved to its current location at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street, Flowery Branch’s Historic Train Depot, which houses a wonderful museum and also serves as a gathering place for weddings, receptions, and meetings of all kinds, has been a focal point of this great community and an icon that helps bring out the charm and lovability of this city.
The group Friends of the Depot and members of the City’s Special Events Program have long been involved in the Depot, Mrs. Roxanne Rose recalls that she has been involved with the Depot since 1996. Today, the trustworthy stewards of the Depot are volunteers Francis Turner and Roxanne Rose, both of whom have volunteered to staff the Depot every Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (thought they often stay until the visitor is gone, no matter what the time!) They are truly devoted to the Depot, and when asked why they give so much of themselves and their time to this great project, they almost answer in unison, Because we love it! We just enjoy it so much.
Although hundreds each year come to tour the Depot and the Historic Caboose (see story on Caboose), literally thousands pass through the Depot each year as a part of the many family events held at the Depot and Depot Park (immediately behind the Depot) year in and year out.
Many people, (such and Andrew Long and Candi Turner – pictured above) use the Depot for weddings and many other celebrations! To rent the Depot, just call City Hall at (770) 967-6371. Thanks to the many community volunteers who have worked so hard through the years to see the Depot restored, it is truly a wonderful place to visit.
- 1873 Tracks laid from Atlanta to Charlotte
- 1874 City of Flowery Branch established
- 1890 Flowery Branch Depot built – 1901 First date Depot thought built
- 1957 Last scheduled stop
- 1957 to late 1960s Depot was a flag stop (trains stopped when flagged down)
- Typical employees of the Depot included a Depot Agent (Stationmaster), Freight Handler and Porter.
- The Depot is located .1 mile south of the mile post marker #594 or 594 miles from Union Station in Washington D.C.
- Some of the original Flowery Branch Depot Agents were J. A. Nelms, 1890 and Archie Holland, 1920 to 1950.
- Mail drop was located at the northbound
- Track and another at the southbound track.
Now a Community Center and Museum in the heart of Flowery Branch, the Depot was transformed from an endangered building to a historic treasure. The Depot was moved in April 2000 from across the street next to the tracks to its present location. The pacesetting restoration was completed in 2001.
The railway system was originally conceived in 1858 by the Georgia Airline Railroad and was built in 1873 from Atlanta to Charlotte. The City of Flowery Branch was established in 1874 and the railroad was for many years, the primary transportation artery for people, mail, cotton and other goods.
Known as the town where “Cotton was King” Flowery Branch was the place where farmers in Northeast Georgia brought their crops to be ginned, sold and shipped by rail. Latter businesses that depended on the railroad manufactured furniture, leather goods and buggies.
The Depot has twice marked periods of major growth for Flowery Branch. The original construction at the turn of the century marked the establishment of Flowery Branch as the transportation center of the surrounding region. The rehabilitation of the Depot gives focus to the rapid growth emanating from metropolitan Atlanta. The Depot, on the comer of Railroad Avenue and Main Street was meticulously researched, and great attention was given to maintaining the original integrity of design and detail. The exterior is typical of Craftsman Style with a low-pitched, gabled roof with deep, four-foot over hangs, copper downspouts, triangular knee braces and stick work with train symbol in the gables. The interior reflects the transition between the Victorian and the Craftsman Style. Beaded board in two different styles, applied in several different directions, covers both walls and ceilings. The Depot includes two passenger waiting rooms, Depot agents’ office, freight room and the newly added lower level. The original waiting rooms each contained benches and a pot-bellied stove. The agents’ office has a bumpout desk area where the agent can look up and down the tracks.
A creative addition to the Depot is the simulated railroad track walkway along the Railroad Avenue side of the building. A gravel bed underlies a sidewalk with an outline of the track and irregularly spaced crossties. Just north of the Depot next to the track is Railroad Marker #594, marking its location as 594 miles from Union Station in Washington D.C.
It was originally believed that the Depot was built in 1901; however, during rehabilitation, construction workers found Bills of Lading dated 1890 and 1891 written to the agent at Flowery Branch. The documents were found in the freight room wall. The wall was constructed of horizontal ten-inch rough cut wallboards extending from the floor to a height of only about five feet. The wall was used as a bumper for the huge bails of cotton being weighed and processed through the freight room before being pushed out to the ramp to be loaded on the train. The space above the boards was open, possibly with a shelf to hold paperwork. It is likely that the long hidden papers fell between the studs in the wall and down to the floor where they remained until their discovery. Experts speculate that the freight room could have been built in 1890 or before, and the passenger facilities added in 1901.
The last scheduled stops in Flowery Branch ended in 1957. From 1957 into the late 1960s, the train was flagged down to stop for passengers or freight. The train no longer stops in Flowery Branch.
Most of the wall finishes in the waiting rooms and agents’ office are original. Some had to be removed due to water damage and rot. Original can be distinguished from new because the original bead board has a fuzzy appearance where paint could not be removed in the cracks. New bead board detail is crisp and sharp. There are 2 styles of bead board which are run in 3 different directions. Original finish had a natural wood tone and was later painted. An example of this can be seen in the comer behind the door in the Museum room. The pine floors in the Depot are replicas. Doors and windows in the waiting rooms, are replicas of the originals, hardware is original. A single light in the ceiling of the waiting rooms and agents office was added when electricity became available. Ticket windows slid up and down for ticket sales. The 10 inch planks that originality ran up 5 feet in the Freight room were replaced with new all the way up to the ceiling. The ceiling is original, open beam. The large working doors in the Freight room are original. Hardware is all original on the natural finished door.