The depot catches the traveler's eye through its alternating bands of red brick and dyed-green concrete panels, as well as a large and welcoming portico.
North Charleston, South Carolina
4565 Gaynor Avenue North Charleston, SC 29405
- Annual Station Revenue (2013)
- Annual Station Ridership (2013)
|Parking Lot Ownership||CSXT|
|50 Long Term Parking Spaces||50 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Payphones|
|Accessible Platform||Accessible Ticket Office||Accessible Waiting Room|
|Accessible Water Fountain||Baggage Storage||Bike Boxes|
|Checked Baggage||Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area|
|Help With Luggage||Pay Phones||Quik Trak Kiosk|
|Restrooms||Shipping Boxes||Ticket Office|
- Silver Meteor
(202) 906-3918 (ph)
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The North Charleston station, built by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (ACL) near the city's Park Circle, opened in 1956. It reflects then-popular mid-century modern design, characterized by clean lines and minimal ornamentation. Typical features of the mid-century modern aesthetic found in the depot include a flat roof, large groupings of windows with horizontal lights, and shallow cantilevered canopies at the first and second floors.
Red brick and dyed-green concrete panels arranged in alternating horizontal bands emphasize the building's rectilinear lines while also creating a striking color combination that attracts the eye. In the center of the street facade, the concrete panels are used to create a full height portico that welcomes travelers and offers protection from inclement weather. Principal public spaces feature exposed brick on the lower walls and floors of durable green terrazzo; both materials can stand the wear and tear of large crowds and are easy to maintain. At one time, the second floor served as the Atlantic Coast Line’s freight office for the Charleston Division; that office closed when it became part of CSX Transportation's (CSXT) Florence division.
The new depot was built to replace old Charleston Union Station in downtown, as well as the former ACL North Charleston station that was located south of the current building. Erected in 1907 at a cost of $250,000, Union Station was a beautiful double-towered edifice serving the Atlantic Coast Line, Seaboard Air Line and Southern railways. It caught fire on January 11, 1947 and was destroyed, but the train shed remained standing until 1954. The smaller North Charleston depot, used by trains to avoid the congested trip into the heart of the historic city, was replaced with a Railway Express Agency building after passenger services were moved to the new facility.
Since 1997, the city and regional transportation providers have discussed building a new intermodal transportation hub, intended to serve Amtrak, local and intercity buses and taxis. As of late 2013, the Charleston Area Rapid Transit Authority (CARTA), which is managing the project, is seeking approval from CSXT and the Federal Transit Administration to place the intermodal facility at the current Amtrak-served station.
Charleston, originally named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England, was founded in 1670 on the west bank of the Ashley River by Anthony Ashley-Cooper, one of the eight Lords Proprietor of the Carolina Colony. A few years later, the settlement moved to its current site on the peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. Charleston served as capital of the colony until 1712 when it was split into North and South Carolina; Charleston then became capital of the southern portion.
In its first decades, the seaport was attacked by American Indian groups, the French and Spanish, and even pirates such as the infamous Blackbeard. To address this security problem, a series of seaside forts and walls was constructed. By the mid-18th century, Charleston had become a major port and center of commerce. It was an important outlet for the agricultural products of local plantations, some of which were produced by slave labor. The opening shots of the Civil War occurred on April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery fired on Federal forces stationed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
In railroad history, the first locomotive to be placed into regular service on any American railroad was the “Best Friend of Charleston,” which was built at the West Point Foundry, New York, and came into service on the South Carolina Railroad (now the Southern) in Charleston on December 25, 1830.
North Charleston, where the Amtrak station is located, is a suburban city in Charleston and Dorchester counties. Since the early 1900s, this area was set out as a planned industrial community with its growth geared directly to the industrial, military and business communities. The Charleston International Airport and the Charleston Air Force Base are both located there.
In 1912, a group of Charleston businessmen laid out the industrial city. Park Circle was planned as one of only two garden city models in the U.S. at the time, and most of the original planning concept remains today. In 1972, North Charleston was incorporated as a city.
Amtrak provides ticketing and baggage services at this station, which is served by four daily trains.