Written By: Ken Hulsey
As a huge railroad geek, you can imagine my surprise, and delight, a few years back when I discovered that the CSX intermodel rail yard in Atlanta, GA, was named 'Hulsey'. At the time I discovered that little interesting fact, I thought that it was a neat little coincident, and filed it away in my little brain......until a couple of weeks ago.
After a few years of sitting on the nugget, that the rail yard in Atlanta, and myself, both shared the same namesake, I finally decided to find out some information about the subject.
Little did I know that my simple......well I thought it was simple, question, would turn into a quest that would entail several hours of internet research and several e-mails, all of which provided me with little to no information.
Let me explain.
First, I went straight to the source that I thought would be able to answer my questions, the CSX railroad. I logged onto their website, and e-mailed the company. I just simply stated that I was a railfan named 'Hulsey' who wanted to know how the Atlanta yard had come by the same name?
In my imagination, I figured that I would either receive an e-mail, or letter, from CSX with some historical information about how the yard was named.
To my delight, about a week after my inquiry, I received a letter from CSX in my mailbox. It was very thick, so I thought the company had taken some time to do the research, and was now providing me with my requested info.
That was not the case.
What CSX had sent me was a cover letter with typical company jargon, and a four page list of railroad historical societies that may be able to answer my question.
This response lead me to two possible answers. One, CSX doesn't know the answer, or two, they didn't want to devote time to look up the historical data for just some rail buff.
Well, I don't want to assume that CSX just didn't care, they did take the time to mail me and provide the enclosed list. So, I believe that they may not have actually known the answer.
I then took it upon myself to do some internet research. Simply because I didn't want to take the time to write letters to dozens of railroad historical societies. I did, however, try to contact some of them, the ones that I thought were applicable, via email. That took a bit.
Now, let me tell you something outright. If you type in the words, "Hulsey", "Atlanta", "History" and "Railroad", into Google you will get lost in a ton of information that has nothing to do with what we are talking about.
The main problem with this line of inquiry is the simple fact that there a zillion "Hulsey's" in Atlanta. That fact really bogs up any searches for information on the history of the rail yard, or the city of Atlanta for that matter.
There are also a zillion railroads that have done business, past and present, in the state of Georgia.
I did find out that the sixth mayor of Atlanta was a William H Hulsey, who was a Confederate war hero, who established the cities public school system. It is possible that the yard was named after him, but I could find no connection between the ex-rebel and any railroads.
I also learned that the prior mayor, Jonathan Norcross, was a co-founder of the Georgia Railroad. The very same railroad that originally named the yard 'Hulsey' (I was able to find that out). I found this odd, why didn't the company name the thing after Norcross?
After several hours of research, I could find no documented connection between William Hulsey and the Georgia Railroad.
I was now at an impasse.
Granted, I still have several e-mails out there to all of those historical societies, but as of this date, no one has sent me a response.
So, here I am with a bunch of assumptions, and no real information. I'm left with two thoughts, one, the yard was indeed named for former mayor, William Hulsey, or my other assumption, that the land that the yard occupies once belonged to the Hulsey family.
Really, I don't know. Does anybody know?
If I get a response that yields any more insight, I may be revising this post, or writing a follow up.
Oh, and if you are reading this, and have some more information, please feel free to reply below.
I hate puzzles that never get solved!