Camak Railroad Days
The Georgia Railroad Company was chartered December 21, 1883, to build a line of railroad from Augusta to Athens with branches to Madison and Eatonton. The charter was accepted March 10, 1834, in Athens, Georgia at the home of James Camak, for whom the town is named. Construction began early in 1835, from Augusta and was under the supervision of John Edgar Thomson, a young civil engineer from Philadelphia.
The charter was amended in 1835, to permit the company to go into the Banking Business. Under the amendment, the company became The Georgia Railroad & Banking Company. The road was opened to Thomson in 1837, and was completed to Crawfordville in June, 1838. Upon the opening of the road through Warren County, stations were established west of Thomson at Camak. By further amendment to the Charter, a branch from Camak to Warrenton was authorized. This line was completed and opened for business in 1839. The first passenger service on this branch was provided by a small car pulled by a horse.
In 1861, some of the leading citizens of Warrenton, Sparta, and Milledgeville, obtained a charter to form The Milledgeville Railroad Company and build a line from Warrenton to Milledgeville. The Georgia Railroad & Banking Company made a large investment in this project. The Milledgeville Railroad reached Mayfield in 1864, and there the project came to halt because of the War Between the States. The Georgia Railroad played an important part in the period covering the War Between the States. It transported without charge over 100,000 veterans of this war as they returned to their families and homes at the end of the war.
It was on December 22, 1898, that the Town of Camak was incorporated under the name of Camak, by the General Assembly, State of Georgia, with the corporate powers being invested in A. W. Mershon, Mayor, for a term of one year. The charter was signed by John D. Little, Speaker of the House; Wm. A. Dodson, President of the Senate; and it was approved by Hon. A.D. Candler, Governor. Most of the land was owned by William Mayes, Sr., and his brothers.
As property could be obtained, homes were built on both sides of the railroad tracks, so that workers could walk to work. This resulted in the small town being laid out with the railroad in the center. Stores were also built along the side of the track, across from the depot. The present Camak Depot, was open for business in 1898. The cost for the depot was $ 1,785.60. A Western Union Office was also added upstairs in the depot. This resulted in a larger force of operators and clerks.
resident of the Georgia Railroad. Camak is the junction for the railroad leading to Savannah, Atlanta, Mac
The original Savannah and Atlanta Railroad consisted of 33 miles of track from St. Clair, Georgia, to Camak, Georgia. This was merged with the Savannah and Northwestern Railroad to reach from Savannah to Camak, with the work being completed in August 1916.
On August 22,1951, the S & A Railroad was purchased by the Central of Georgia Railroad, and on June 17, 1963, the Southern Railroad purchased the Central of Georgia, making the S & A Railroad part of the Southern Railway System. Camak, Georgia then became a joint agency for the Southern (S & A) Railroad and the Georgia Railroad. The S & A Railroad was often referred to as "the railroad that never reached home" since its original destination was Atlanta, but it never went any further than Camak.
The Georgia Railroad originally fell under common management with the Atlanta and Westpoint Railroad and the Western Railway of Alabama, commonly known as "The West Point Route."
In 1967 the ACL merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad [SCL]. In the early 1970s SCL merged with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Clinchfield Railroad to become the Family Lines System. Family Lines continued to operate the Georgia Railroad under its initial charter and thus the Georgia Railroad was maintained as a separate company, with Family Lines leasing the rail properties.
1983 saw the end of the Georgia Railroad as a separate company after Family Lines purchased the railroad properties of the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company, which had until then been the subject of the lease.
The Seaboard System subsequently merged with the Chessie System in 1986 to form CSX Transportation.