CENTRAL — Some towns are built on mining resources, others are built to be port cities. Central owes its origins to something else – railways.
In 1873, the Atlantic and Richmond Air Line company expanded their tracks through Pickens County. With the main hubs being Atlanta and Charlotte, the railroad needed a centralized location for their base of operations.
According to the local historical society, “Central Station” was originally a repair and refueling station for the engines. Later, as the station received more and more traffic, shops and eateries were installed for employees. Then came the houses and later, hotels.
The town of Central was born.
Some years later, when Atlantic and Richmond Air Line moved their operations to Greenville, the town almost died. Central was saved by the textile industry and then later by what is now Southern Wesleyan University.
Today, trains still play a large part in the little town’s day to day operations. Although Central Station has long since closed, the town celebrates its heritage every year with the Central Rail Road Festival, occurring annually in mid April.
The Central Railway Museum offers a unique tourist attraction to visitors with their Heritage layout, a display showcasing the railroading traditions of the Western Carolinas and Georgia in the 1950’s.
One of the more famous land marks in the town is the Red Caboose that sits right on Main Street. The caboose was donated to the town by the Norfolk Southern Railroad in 1988. Always a fun attraction for children, the inside of the caboose was closed to the public until last year when tours began during the train festival. The car now permanently sits in a grassy area directly in front of the town’s baseball field.
The architecture of the area is everything one would expect from a small Southern town. Spacious lawns, low sloping roofs and wide front porches adorned with wind chimes and hanging ferns – perfect for sitting back in a rocking chair and sipping a glass of iced tea.
Central, simply put, exemplifies the best parts of the South – elegance, charm and a rich history.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.