When the town of Lake Waccamaw’s 1904 train depot was abandoned 46 years ago, the local women’s club came to the rescue and purchased the deserted building for $200. Now,
When the town of Lake Waccamaw’s 1904 train depot was abandoned 46 years ago, the local women’s club came to the rescue and purchased the deserted building for $200. Now, sitting near the shore of the town’s namesake lake, the preserved whistle-stop showcases artifacts that date from the Neolithic era to the Civil War to present-day lake life, thanks to a dedicated crew of creative, tireless curators and residents. “We wanted to preserve the history here at the lake so that future generations would not forget that this depot was the beginning of Lake Waccamaw,” says Nancy Sigmon, a board member who also served as a town commissioner and mayor. “We’re real proud of it.”
The railroad’s arrival in the 1850s connected the southeastern corner of the state with the rest of the nation on a line that covered more than 5,000 miles across the South. When the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad built Lake Waccamaw’s depot in 1904, a community began to grow around it. The railroad strengthened local industries like lumber, turpentine, and toolmaking, and turned the whistle-stop into a summer destination for tourists to enjoy boating, hunting, and dancing on lakeside docks.
Today, at the Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum, the turn-of-the-century ticket office houses vintage railroad memorabilia and — according to curators Karen Gore and Becky Lane — boasts “the best little gift shop in the area,” featuring works by local artisans and authors, locally roasted coffee beans, and homemade chocolate peanut brittle. The train yard features a bright red caboose, gifted by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
The freight room, where goods were once stored for shipment, now serves as the town’s family room: Acoustic music jams, Rummikub competitions, and various club meetings fill the museum with laughter and life. Plus, “the women’s club still meets here,” Gore says. “A lot of them have served on the board and as curators. This is a really small town, and our museum is the hub of it all.”
Lake Waccamaw Depot Museum
205 Flemington Drive
Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450