Southeast Region: Plains Train Depot, Jimmy Carter National Historic Site

Painting of the Plains Depot beside railroad tracks
Plains Train Depot

By Kenneth P. Craig, from the Jimmy Carter NHS museum collection [JICA 6927]

Quick Facts

At Home in Plains
Photograph of the Plains Train Depot

The Plains Train Depot in Plains, Georgia served the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad from 1888 to 1951. The establishment of the railroad line was the impetus for the development of Plains, a rural southern community centered on agriculture, church, and school.

Plains, Georgia is the birthplace of the 39th president of the United States, James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. When Carter ran for governor and then for president in the 1970s, the depot became his campaign headquarters. The wood-framed building with both board and batten and lap siding served as the central meeting point for the Carter family, volunteers, and supporters.

Site plan showing existing conditions of the Plains Train Depot landscape
Jimmy Carter with campaign supporters in Plains, Georgia.
Jimmy Carter makes a campaign stop at his hometown of Plains, Georgia in 1976.

Photo by Thomas J. O'Halloran, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

It continued to be used as a backdrop for campaign announcements and press conferences. To the voting public tuned in from around the country, the depot was a tangible representation of the southern, small-town character of candidate Jimmy Carter.

When Carter won the presidential election in 1976, he celebrated the victory at the Plains Train Depot. When he lost the 1980 re-election, he returned to the familiar depot to thank supporters.

This watercolor was painted by Kenneth P. Craig, an artist and retired Presbyterian minister from Huntersville, North Carolina. Reverend Craig finds inspiration in Jimmy Carter and in the National Historic Site, particularly the Boyhood Home and the Depot landscapes, and he has shown the landscapes in other watercolor paintings.

Plan your Visit to Plains, Georgia

The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site includes several cultural landscapes in and around the City of Plains: the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Home, Plains High School, the Carter Compound, and the Plains Train Depot.

Visit the park website to plan your visit and find information about things to do in the area, including the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail and the train ride from Cordele to Plains.

Cultural Landscape Hierarchy for Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
Cultural Landscape Hierarchy site plan for Jimmy Carter National Historic Site


Last updated: June 28, 2018