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Description: This unused tinted photographic postcard is 3 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. It has the words “Wilmington, N.C. Atlantic Coast Line General Offices” on the front. The image was taken looking West up Red Cross Street. The railroad offices are on the left. There are men, wagons, a sandwich board sign and barrels with trash in the image. The postcard has a smooth finish. It was produced by Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland, Maine.
History: This postcard depicts the Atlantic Coast Line General Offices, which were located in Wilmington on Red Cross Street. Henry Bacon McKoy (1893-1991) donated this postcard to the Museum in 1984. Mr. McKoy wrote a book, Wilmington, N. C. — Do You Remember When?, and was an avid collector of local objects and lore. This postcard is one of the many hundreds of items Mr. McKoy donated to the Museum. After his death, his family members donated more of his collection to the Museum.
Wilmington has a long railroading history. The first railroads came into the region in the 1840s. At the time of its opening, what came to be known as the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad was the longest rail line in the country, stretching 161 miles. The Wilmington and Weldon, along with Virginia’s Petersburg Railroad and more than 100 other companies, merged into the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad by the end of the 19th century. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad system owned more than 5,000 miles of track in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The Atlantic Coast Line was headquartered in Wilmington until 1960, when its main offices moved to Florida. Before the move, the company was one of the city’s largest employers, and the corporate offices, centered around Red Cross and Front streets, dominated the north side of downtown.