Cartersville Depot
Type:Welcome Center, Railroad Depot
One of the few original Western and Atlantic Railroad depots still in existence, the Cartersville Depot is now home to the Downtown Development Authority and the Cartersville-Bartow County CVB.

Cartersville DepotAlthough the roadbed to Cartersville had been graded before 1840, the railroad remained uncompleted for another 6 years. The town of Cartersville almost did not get a station, with Etowah Station (where the rail line crossed the Etowah River) and the city of Cassville so close. The railroad fueled some growth in Cartersville, but the other nearby towns saw more of the positive effects of the rail line before the War Between the States.

During the Atlanta Campaign, Cartersville Depot was the site of a pitched battle. With William Tecumseh Sherman occupying Kingston Joseph E. Johnston had little choice but to retreat from Cassville towards the Allatoona Mountains and entrench for an attack by his adversary. Rear guards stationed in the Cartersville area began to see increased skirmishing on the morning of May 20, 1864. Sherman had chosen to test the strength of the Confederate Army in the area, even though he had let the army retreat unopposed the day before. Rebels barricaded themselves in the depot, one of the few buildings in the area not made out of wood. The depot, the Confederates thought, was important because Sherman had been marching down the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Although they prepared the building for battle by knocking out gun ports, Sherman was intent on other matters and essentially left the building alone after a brief, bitter struggle.

Almost 6 months later General Sherman returned to Cartersville and ate lunch at a hotel across the street from the depot while Union soldiers sent messages to Washington, D. C. and Nashville. After the messages were completed a soldier climbed the building and cut the telegraph wire. The March to the Sea had begun and it would be six weeks before Sherman again communicated with the North.

Railroad depot, Cartersville, Georgia
Although the soldiers burned the city and tried to destroy the depot, a significant portion of the original building remained standing. Both Cassville and Etowah (the town near Etowah Station) were destroyed as well. In 1868 the state legislature moved the county seat from Cassville to Cartersville, and the depot began to play an important role in everyday life of the city and the surrounding area.

One benefactor of the depot's presence was Sam Jones, a minister whose fame was spread far and wide by railroad patrons who would layover in Cartersville just to hear him speak. The famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, long-time home to the Grand Old Opry, was built for Rev. Jones.

Over the years the depot served local citizens. Inside you can still see 2 ticket counters and two waiting rooms, one for blacks, one for whites. As passenger service declined in the 1960's the depot continued as an L&N/CSX freight depot, which it was until the building was completely restored to house city government agencies, including the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Bureau features local maps and travel information about local attractions and things to do in the state of Georgia.

Adjacent to the depot is Friendship Park, where Cartersville and Bartow County's rich history is brought to life.

Location: On Depot St in Downtown Cartersville
Directions: I-75, exit #288, west on Georgia 113 for 2 miles to downtown. Turn right just after the tracks and park.
Additional information:
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: January 27, 2004

Other Attractions in Cartersville
Allatoona Pass Battlefield
Red Top Mountain State Park
Etowah Indian Mounds State Park
Allatoona Lake Visitor's Center
Roselawn Museum

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