Forsyth holds a 175 Years of Trains Festival

wcrenshaw@macon.comNovember 9, 2013 

FORSYTH -- On the morning of Dec. 10, 1838, a very noisy and momentous event occurred in Forsyth.

The steam engine Ocmulgee belched into town towing cars loaded with dignitaries from Macon as a large crowd applauded.

They were celebrating the completion of the Macon-to-Forsyth rail line.

“The train left Macon at 9 a.m. and it took them about an hour to get here,” said Ralph Bass, president of the Monroe County Historical Society. “There was a large crowd, and they gave a lot of toasts, then got back on the train and went back to Macon.”

On Saturday, hundreds came out to the same location again to commemorate the 175 anniversary of the first train to come to Forsyth.

The event was dubbed the 175 Years of Trains Festival, and plans are to make it an annual event.

Hundreds of people attended the daylong festival, which included live music, food and children’s rides. It was organized by the Historical Society and Forsyth Main Street.

It was held on Adams Street, where two of the old passenger depots have been restored, even though trains don’t stop there any longer. One is a museum and the other is a meeting space for the Historical Society.

The Central Georgia Model Railroad Club had its large, glass-enclosed model railroad set up inside the Historical Society building.

Bass said there wasn’t a lot to Forsyth when the railroad came.

However, the line to Macon was a boost to cotton farmers because cotton could then be taken by rail to Macon, and to the coastal ports by water.

It also helped with the growth of Tift College, and in the late 1840s the rail line was finished to Atlanta.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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