The Charleston and Hamburg Railroad in South Carolina, when completed in 1833, was the first steam powered railroad in America. It was also the longest in the world at 136 miles. The railroad was initially referred to as the "Best Friend of Charleston." On December 25, 1830, the "Best Friend" engine made its first public run on the freshly laid railroad tracks. This milestone trip shifted the country toward an era of transportation development. With this new form of transportation came a new building type, the train station. The train station was the first building to greet people when they arrived in a new place and often was their last reminder of home when they departed.
This thesis is an effort to compile and illuminate the context and built form of the train stations on the original Charleston and Hamburg Railroad (later Southern Railway). The purpose was to create a resource that brings together the histories of these stations in one location. This research uncovered and compared the architectural typology of train stations on the Charleston and Hamburg Railroad, as well as their histories, building materials, current condition of the stations, and architectural designs each contribute to their communities.