Railroad House History
A visit to the historic Railroad House is certain to evoke memories of the era when railroading was synonymous with high adventure. This unique restoration project is a tribute to the days when Sanford, North Carolina was born of, and because of, the coming railroad.
How and why is this house important to Sanford's past? The Raleigh & Augusta Airline Railroad was extended from Raleigh, NC to the area where downtown Sanford is now located. At that point it intersected the Western Railroad, built a few years previously. Only about 200 people lived in that area at the time and housing was very scarce. Railroad officials erected a dwelling at the northwest corner of Hawkins Avenue and Carthage Street as a home for the family of its first depot agent, Mr. W.T. Tucker. Mrs. Tucker operated a school in this house, now regarded as the oldest house in Sanford. In later years the house was used as a dwelling by several families, and at one time a tea room was operated in it. Sanford was incorporated in 1874, primarily due to the efforts of Mr. W.T. Tucker, and was named for Colonel C.O. Sanford, who was the chief civil engineer for the railroad.
In 1962, the owner of the old dwelling, which had become known as the Railroad House, leased the land for a service station and the house was slated for demolition. A group of interested citizens rallied to save the old building. They formed the Railroad House Historical Association to preserve and restore it as a historical landmark. The house was moved to the present location at 110 Charlotte Avenue, which at the time was on the depot grounds of the Seaboard Airline Railway. This was done with the approval and cooperation of the Seaboard officials. The house was renovated and restored with the help and financial assistance of dozens of local citizens. It has now been established as the local museum. Artifacts, documents, pictures and other items of historical significance are being preserved by the museum.
The building was occupied and kept open by the Chamber of Commerce for approximately 30 years. It is now fully utilized as a museum. The Railroad House Museum is open to visitors most Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00-4:00 P.M.