Carl Ardery Presentation

In September 2015 Carl Ardery, grandson of Frank Ardery the longtime ticket agent at the Aiken depot, spoke to members of the Friends of the Aiken Depot (FARD) and guests about his grandfather’s experiences at the Depot.  His presentation included highlights from a scrapbook that Mr. Ardery had compiled during his tenure in Aiken.  Following is Part One of a series of write-ups outlining some of the highlights from that presentation and scrapbook.

Southern Railway Aiken Freight Depot

Ardery Freight DepotThis photo depicts the Southern Railway Aiken freight depot which was located at the corner of Park Avenue and Williamsburg Street.  The building was demolished but a section of the structure was incorporated into the building across Park Avenue now occupied by Sutton Marine.  A small structure, used by the Aiken Railway, now occupies the space. Aiken Railway parks its locomotives in this area when not in use. The concrete unloading ramp at the far end is still in place. 

1935 Centennial Celebration

Ardery Best FriendThis photograph was taken during Aiken’s centennial celebration in 1935. The costumed gentleman probably represents a passenger on one of the early trains between Charleston and Aiken. In the background is a portion of the operating replica of the Best Friend of Charleston train which was loaned to Aiken by the Southern Railway for the celebration. The original depot passenger shed can be seen at the top of the picture.

Ardery Ink Blotter

Ardery Ink BlotterThe fountain pen was the primary writing instrument in use during Mr. Ardery’s tenure as ticket agent in Aiken.  Ink blotters, such as shown here, were necessary to avoid smears and keep documents legible.  The most interesting thing about this blotter- Mr. Ardery’s telephone number.

Old Depot Interior

ardery1This a digital photograph of the only known picture of the interior of the original 1899 depot. Notice the “pot belly” stove which was the principal heat source for employees and passengers.

Ardery Old Depot

ardery2This is a close-up of the ticket sales office. Mr. Ardery can be seen behind the middle window. Notice the decorative wood trim surrounding the perimeter of the three windows. When excavation work began on the foundation for the new depot, the piece of trim shown (see photo on the right) was unearthed.

Wood Trim

ardery3It is believed to have come from the upper corner of the window, and represents the only known remaining object from the interior of the 1899 depot. FARD hopes to obtain the original photograph and have it professionally restored. The wood trim will be displayed in the Depot museum.