If you have a train lover in your family we have all the info you’ll need to make the most of an afternoon at the Hub City Railroad Museum! Our review includes a brief the history of the Hub City, some history and details about this free museum, and when to go.
COVID-19 Museum Opening Update
“The Governor has allowed museums to open, with restrictions, on Friday, May 22nd. The Hub City Railroad Museum will not be opening on the 22nd, but will be opening in the future when there are fewer restrictions, or once we have properly prepared the museum to meet the recommended health and safety requirements to protect visitors and our volunteers. Please check back to our web site or Facebook site for updates. Thank you for your understanding.”
If you’ve spent any time in downtown Spartanburg, you’ll probably have noticed the nickname Hub City used frequently.
Starting in the late 1800’s seven train lines fanned out from the city’s center, similar to the hub of a wheel. By the 20th century, Spartanburg was a major transportation hub. The cars that passed through the city carried everything from passengers to the textiles manufactured here to places all over the country.
About the Hub City Railroad Museum
The Hub City Railroad Museum is housed in the historic Magnolia Street Station. The station was originally built in 1915 and served as a packaging services facility for the Southern Express Company. While the station outlived all the other train station structures on the property, it has seen its share of problems. In 1996 it was damaged by a fire and was most likely headed for demolition. A young man stepped in and through a letter writing and public awareness campaign, he managed to save the historic building that now houses the museum.
Inside you’ll find a display of items from the rich history of the Hub City. The textile mills, peach industry, and more are represented along with a lot of the actual items from the original train station.
The item that most caught my seven-year-old’s attention was the replica model of the original station. The replica, which took two men 700 hours to complete, shows in historically accurate detail what the station originally looked like.
Something that is sure to be the highlight of your museum visit, for children and adults alike is the red caboose that is next to the station. The caboose has lived an interesting life! The little red caboose, which was built right here in Spartanburg in the 1940’s, spent almost 30 years in service. It was donated to a Boy Scout troop, abandoned, and almost became a hot dog stand at the beach before being restored and finding its home at the museum.
Note – According to the website, “The Restored Southern Railway Caboose number X-3115 is currently closed to the public. It is undergoing a major renovation that is expected to take several months to complete.”
The caboose is air conditioned and contains a working model train, railway videos and more railway artifacts.
The model train is definitely a favorite of children visiting the museum.
With some 40 trains passing thru the station on any given day, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be there to see one of the Norfolk Southern trains come through. Plus, the station is still an active Amtrak stop.
If you don’t already have a train lover in your home, the museum might create one!
Visit the Hub City Railroad Museum
The Hub City Railroad Museum is run by volunteers from the Carolina Railroad Heritage Association.
298 Magnolia Street, Spartanburg
Wednesdays & Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm
Admission is free but donations are accepted and sincerely appreciated.
Visit the Hub City Railroad Museum.
What is your family’s favorite thing about the Hub City Railroad Museum?