Savannah & Atlanta Railway Coaling Tower, Sardis

The text that follows is abridged from a plaque at this site, which was dedicated to the people of Sardis in 2017. To me, the most unusual thing about the tower is how modern it looks, even if it resembles an old frontier fort. Though the text doesn’t definitively say when it was built, I believe it was during the ownership of the Savannah & Atlanta Railway, circa 1917-1921.

The Sardis Coal Chute, also known to locals as the Coaling Tower, is a reminder of the days when steam locomotives dominated the railroads and when Sardis was a booming little town. This intact coaling tower…was once used to load coal into the tenders of steam locomotives using a gravity feed system. The tower was built with solidly reinforced concrete and stands approximately 90 feet tall…The 142 mile rail line, Savannah & Atlanta, ran from S&A Junction, between Camak and Warrenton, to Savannah…

Sardis did not have a railroad until 1911 when the Brinson Railway was extended from Millhaven to Waynesboro. Later, on March 26, 1914, the line became the Savannah & Northwestern and even later, in July 1917, became the Savannah & Atlanta Railway. The line entered receivership in 1921 and was sold to Robert M. Nelson in 1929. The Central of Georgia bought it from Nelson in 1951. In 1962 the Central of Georgia abandoned the line between Waynesboro and Savannah and Sardis was once again left without a railroad.

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