The 1890s were a tough time to come of age for young men in America. Many left their small towns in search of work by hopping freight trains. Carl Sandburg was one of those youths, spending four months in his 19th year living the hobo life. That time would infuse Sandburg’s life and works ever after. For several years he would often forego the “inside ticket” and grab a ride on a freight train when traveling, even when he could afford it.
Passenger train service in Hendersonville began in 1879, one year after Carl Sandburg’s birth, and stopped in 1968, one year after his death. The current historic Craftsman-style depot was the second to be erected in the town and was completed in 1904. Sandburg had stopped hoboing by that time and whenever he got off the train here it was probably from a Pullman club car and not an open hopper car. He would no doubt recognize the station, however, as looking like many that he was run off of by station bulls, as the railroad police were called.
There is no more appropriate venue to celebrate Sandburg in September than the historic Hendersonville Train Depot and the Friends and the Apple Valley Model Railroad Train Club have lined up a day of special activities that include:
Tours and discussion of the depot with types of trains Carl Sandburg once rode
Discussion of hoboes and life in the railyard
Hobo Nickel demonstration
Hobo Crafts for the Kids: shoebox banjos, comb harmonicas and more