For more than 125 years, railroading was Wilmington’s chief industry. In 1840 the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad was finished and was the longest continuous rail line on the planet at 161 miles long.
Near the turn of the 20th century numerous railroads up and down the eastern seaboard, including the Wilmington & Weldon, merged to end up being the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The ACL company headquarters was found here in Wilmington.
During its heyday the railroad contributed heavily to the area’s industrial and industrial growth and offered tasks and revenue for the regional economy. In 1960 the ACL moved its head office from Wilmington to Jacksonville, FL. It was the biggest single relocation of workers ever staged by a southeastern industry. The railroad moved over 1,000 workers, their households, their valuables, and the business files and workplace equipment more than 450 miles by rail.
Begun in 1979 by three females and a table of ACL Railroad artifacts, the Wilmington Railroad Museum was committed to maintaining the rich history of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the history of railroading in the southeastern United States.
By 1983 the Museum discovered a home in the previous ACL Freight Office Building at the north end of downtown Wilmington. Exhibitions quickly expanded, helpd by contributions of a classic engine, boxcar, and caboose. For the next 25 years, the Museum added to its collections, obtaining artifacts and supplying info that analyzed the growth and effect of railroads, along with individuals who dealt with them.
In 2007 the Museum transferred to an authentic 1883 railroad freight storage facility, a setting that provides more space for the collections and greatly enhances convenience and ease of access for visitors. Countless hours of volunteer time were invested in remodeling and moving, and visitors are universally impressed with the exhibitions and screens.
At the entrance to the Museum, we maintain a visitor register where visitors can check in. Over the past year, we delighted in meeting people from 20 foreign countries, 48 states, and 147 North Carolina towns and cities (from Aberdeen to Zebulon). It’s a great testimony to the Museum as an attraction among the many offerings in Wilmington.
Your Wilmington Railroad Museum has a substantial library of railroading history. A few of the available posts are duplicated in the History area. To look into the complete set of readily available info please visit the museum.
Learn more about The Children’s Museum of Wilmington