Norcross Train Depot (1909-1959) The Crossing of Norcross
Construction of this historic train depot began in 1909 and the building served passengers until 1959. The building was donated to the city by Norfolk Southern and has been repurposed as a historically-themed restaurant. The railroad depot was essential to the community of Norcross during the age of rail travel and is largely responsible for the growth of this community which was originally founded in 1870. The community was the first stop north of Atlanta along the Richmond Danville Railroad, Norcross is Gwinnett County's second-oldest city. The former rail depot is a contributing property of the historic district of Norcross, an area known for its many historic homes and buildings in the downtown area. Along Peachtree Street and throughout the downtown area, each building is identified with a plaque noting the date of the buildings construction as well as a short history of the building.
Backstory and Context
This area is located at the eastern continental divide, which directs the water flow either east to the Atlantic Ocean, or southwest to the Gulf of Mexico. The Cherokee and Creek Indians used the eastern continental divide as a travel and trade route that connected them to other tribes via the Chattahoochee River. This path would eventually become what is today’s Peachtree Street after William Nesbit widened the path into a road to accommodate modern travelers.
Prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, construction began on the Richmond Danville Railroad heading north from Atlanta. Construction was quickly halted due to the war, but resumed shortly after the war ended. In 1869 a prominent Atlanta business man, John J. Thrasher, bought two-hundred and fifty acres of land along the first stop on the newly constructed Richmond Danville Railroad. The two hundred acres purchased by Thrasher along the railroad and today’s Peachtree Street is where the town began. Thrasher named this town after his friend and the fourth mayor of Atlanta, Jonathan Norcross.
Today Norcross is a rich and vibrant historic community with many historic homes and buildings that have been built over the centuries. Many of these homes and buildings have been repurposed for modern use into restaurants, shops, and private residences. The Crossing Steak House at the center of the downtown area was once a train station that doubled as a passenger and freight depot. The original depot had a warehouse for cargo, railroad offices, a passenger waiting area, and ticket counter. The depot hustled and bustled with the activity that a train known as the "Air-Line Belle" created carrying commuters into Atlanta and back every day of the week, except for Sunday. Today patrons can enjoy a wonderful meal at this historic train depot and watch as train engines pass through Norcross just as they did in the past. Though it is no longer an active passenger rail line.
The town of Norcross has worked hard to preserve its historic community and small town atmosphere and was the first site to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Gwinnett County.
"Welcome to an Engaged Community." Norcross, GA - Official Website - History of Norcross. Accessed May 25, 2017. http://www.norcrossga.net/index.aspx?nid=325.
"Asset Detail." National Parks Service. Accessed May 25, 2017. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/AssetDetail?assetID=3a390e3d-4537-43fb-b047-d6ee28475291.