Established in 2003 in Ashland, Virginia by owner Jim Donlon, Train Town Toy & Hobby served central and northern Virginia, the seacoast and Charlottesville areas with great success for many years.
Now located in Summerville, South Carolina, Train Town Toy & Hobby conveys the same friendly atmosphere with a welcoming and knowledgeable sales staff. It has quickly become a favorite stop of local residents and tourists.
Summerville's history is tied directly to the railroad. Situated on a pine-forested ridge, it was first inhabited around 1785 as Pineland Village as South Carolina Lowcountry planters and other inhabitants sought respite from the summer heat in the tiny forest colony soon dubbed Summerville.
In 1830 travel to Summerville modernized with the arrival of America's first passenger train service. Built by the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company, a new steam train consisting of an engine and four cars, was dubbed "The Best Friend of Charleston." The rails started in Charleston and ran through Summerville to Hamburg, over 136 miles.
In order to induce settlement in Summerville, in 1831 the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company purchased a large tract of land, about 1,500 acres, in what is now known as Old Summerville, and auctioned off 300, 1-acre parcels. It was a great success, creating a true "train town." Within just a few years, six passenger trains were in service on the line from Charleston.
Today the single rail line that runs through downtown Summerville carries freight only. The last station was built in 1900 and survived until the 1960's.
A full-size replica of "The Best Friend of Charleston" is on display in downtown Charleston, SC, near the Visitors Center.
Summerville, South Carolina http://www.visitsummerville.com
Summerville Dorchester Museum http://www.summervilledorchestermuseum.org
The Best Friend of Charleston http://www.bestfriendofcharleston.org
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