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Gwinnett County Historical Markers

Steam Locomotion at High Tide!


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Steam Locomotion at High Tide!
  • Location: With Engine 290 at Railroad Museum off US 23 in Duluth

STEAM LOCOMOTION AT HIGH TIDE!

“Born of a railroad, Atlanta grew as it railroad grew.” Margaret Mitchell in “Gone With The Wind.”

In March 1926, the 290, a Pacific type 4-6-2 steam passenger engine, was delivered to the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road Company by its builders, the Lima Locomotive Works. From 1926 until 1953, the 290 was used in main line passenger service on the Atlanta and West Point’s crack trains the “Crescent Limited” and the “Piedmont Limited” between Atlanta and Montgomery.

In 1957, a group of Atlanta citizens, headed by Leo Aikman, Atlanta Constitution columnist, and E. M. Ivie, retired railroad yard conductor, began a movement to preserve the 290 as a permanent monument to the apex of steam locomotion. As a result, in May 1958, the 290 was presented to mayor William B. Hartsfield for the City of Atlanta by the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road Company through its president, J. Clyde Mixon.

In July 1958, the old No. 290’s engine, weighing 269,000 pounds, and, and tender, weighing 78,800 pounds, were moved from the nearest track, the Atlanta and West Point Rail Road Company’s belt line, down one and one-half miles of Pryor Street and through Lakewood Park to this site. The difficult engineering feat was performed voluntarily by the 836th Engineer Battalion (Heavy Construction), United States Army Reserve, Lt. Col. J. E. Bing, Commanding.

ERECTED BY THE ATLANTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY AND THE A. & W. P. 290 CLUB