BACKSTORY: Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Savannah contains many historic buildings, such as The Scarbrough house: The Scarbrough House/Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is the elegant setting for the Museum's collection of ship models, paintings and maritime antiques. It was built in 1819 for one of the principal owners of the Savannah, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Scarbrough's architect, William Jay from England, created one of the earliest examples of the Greek Revival in the South. Used as a public school from the 1870's, the mansion was abandoned for twenty years and then restored by Historic Savannah Foundation in the 1970's. After another period of vacancy, Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum restored the house again in 1996-97, building a new roof based on a documented William Jay design, adding a new rear portico and enlarging the garden.
And The Georgia State Railroad Museum: This National Historic Landmark site, formerly named the Roundhouse Railroad Museum, is the oldest and largest existing nineteenth-century railroad operations complex in the nation. Construction began in 1850. Thirteen of the original structures remain today. The Central of Georgia Railway handled freight, passengers, maintenance, and manufacturing at this single location. The complex is owned by the City of Savannah and has been operated since 1989 by the Coastal Heritage Society. Five of the buildings house permanent exhibits, including the roundhouse with its operating turntable. Visitors can see steam and diesel locomotives, rail cars, steam-powered machinery, model railroads, and a 126-foot brick smokestack with privies around its base.
Across Old Louisville Road from the museum is the former Central of Georgia passenger station (301 M.L. King, Jr. Blvd.), now the Savannah Visitors Center. Built in 1860, it is one of the oldest railroad stations in Georgia. Inside are exhibits on the history of the city. Under the train shed is Central of Georgia No. 103, a Baldwin steam locomotive built in 1890.
Across the parking lot from the passenger station are two more former Central of Georgia buildings. The red brick Romanesque Revival structure at 233 M.L. King, Jr. Blvd., designed by Alfred Eichberg and Calvin Fay and built in 1887, once housed railroad offices and an outbound freight warehouse. Rehabilitated by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to house its School of Building Arts, it is now known as Eichberg Hall. Next door at 227 M.L. King is the SCAD Museum of Art. This 1856 Greek Revival building was originally the railroad's administrative offices.
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