N.C. Highway Marker Dedication Saturday, Sept. 24 Celebrates Atlantic Coastline Railroad

Atlantic Coastline
RALEIGH
In the heyday of rail travel, the Wilmington-based Atlantic Coastline Railroad was known for its excellent customer service. It competed with Southern Railway and Seaboard Air Line and provided transportation from Virginia to Florida. The dedication of a N.C. Highway Historical Marker Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m., will salute that history and service. N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz will speak at the dedication at North Third and Campbell Streets.
 
"North Carolina's Highway Historical Marker Program is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation," Kluttz said. "I'm always delighted to add to our growing roster of more than 1,600 roadside markers, which commemorate historically significant N.C. places, people and events. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad was a significant part of Wilmington history, and is such a great addition to this program." The Historic Wilmington Foundation recently awarded Kluttz their Preservation Award of Leadership for her successful efforts to reinstate the historic tax credit.
 
Founded in 1889 by two Baltimore businessmen, the rail line weathered the Great Depression and was profitable every year except 1933-35 and 1938. The company came to be led by Champion "Champ" McDowell Davis, who began work for the railroad at age 13 as a messenger boy. He rose through the ranks and assumed leadership of Atlantic Coastline in 1942.
 
Davis streamlined the company with personal flair, choosing purple as its official color and converting all the locomotives from steam to diesel. One of the engines is on exhibit at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer.
 
The rail line left Wilmington for Jacksonville, Florida, in 1960, taking 3,500 jobs from the Port City. Two large buildings remain, one at 519 Nutt St., which houses the Wilmington Railroad Museum.
 
For additional information, please call Michael Hill, head of the N.C. Office of Archives and History Research Branch, at (919) 807-7290. The N.C. Highway Historical Marker Program is within the Office of Archives and History and administered by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The Highway Marker Program is collaboration between the N.C. Departments of Natural and Cultural Resources and Transportation.
 

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to
experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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