Atlantic and NC Railroad Freight Depot  

Historical Background

Conributed by Sloan Mason

At their forty-fifth annual meeting in September 1899, the stockholders of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad observed that warehouses along the line were not sufficient to handle the increasing freight traffic. By the 1890s, North Carolina was undergoing rapid industrialization, lead by textile, tobacco and furniture interests. The state's farms were producing much of the raw materials used in these industries, and the need was great for an improved rail network to transport these materials to the manufacturing plants and the finished goods to markets within the state and beyond its borders.

During the 1880s, farmers had complained of the poor service afforded them by the railroads, particularly of excessive freight charges and lack of adequate facilities at the rail stops. After much agitation on the part of farmers and "veritable agrarian revolt in 1890," the legislature in 1891 created a state railroad commission to regulate certain aspects of railroad operations. A Corporation Commission replaced the railroad commission in 1899; the new group was empowered to supervise railroads, banks, telegraph and telephone companies, street railways and express companies. After 1900 this commission gained further powers, among them, " require the adjustment of train schedules, to order the provision of adequate warehouses, and to promote improved handling of freight".

When the new president of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, James A. Bryan, took office after the 1899 stockholders meeting, he ordered a thorough examination of the road and its facilities. It was found to be " such a dilapidated and worn out condition, that we were unwilling to assume its management." until the Board of Internal Improvements certified the examination. The examiners found the Kinston warehouse facilities to be in poor condition and inadequate for the amount of traffic which was passing through the town. The company ordered the construction of a new brick warehouse to be 220 feet long by 40 feet wide with a height of 18 feet from floor to joist. It was believed that, "This house will give ample accommodation for years to come, and not only add to the convenience of shippers, but to the receipts of the company also".

The 47th report (1901) of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad informed the stockholders of the completion of the freight depot at Kinston at a cost of $6, 844.00.

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