Railroads have been an integral part of North Carolina since the 1850s, allowing goods and people to travel across the state or to other areas of the country. For many years, the main focus of small towns and large cities in the state was the railroad depots. Residents could purchase train tickets, businesses sought to ship or receive goods for market, and kids loved to visit and wave to the passing train crews. During the Christmas season, presents ordered from catalogs would arrive by Railway Express and were delivered to homes across the area. Mail was also delivered by rail to the depots, even if the train did not stop at a particular community. This book hopes to provide rail enthusiasts, local and economic historians, and history lovers in general a look back at the heyday of railroads and how much they affected daily life in North Carolina.
Larry K. Neal Jr. currently works as manager of Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site near Midland, North Carolina. He developed an interest in railroads and railroad depots while growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, photographing trains and remaining railroad structures. His previous Arcadia books are Southern Railway's Historic Spencer Shops and Salisbury.