Three Notch Museum
Clark Family Cabin The Three Notch Museum is part of a local museum complex centered on a historic train station in downtown Andalusia, Covington County. The construction of the Central of Georgia Depot in 1899 and the railroad that serviced it were important to the growth of the local economy and population of Andalusia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The museum, which opened in 1987, consists of the depot and other outdoor exhibits. The depot building houses artifacts related to local county history and railroad history. It is the last commercially used wooden building still standing in Andalusia and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 30, 1984.
The depot is similar to other train stations constructed by the Central of Georgia Railroad Company in the 1890s and many other buildings in rural communities. It is a one-story wooden building with a gabled roof and board-and-batten siding. The building consists of three rooms: two front rooms used for passenger waiting rooms and a rear freight room that takes up the rest of the building. The two waiting rooms have separate entrances, a reflection of their construction during the era of legal segregation. African Americans used the room in the back of the building and whites used the front room. All the windows have security bars attached to them. The agent’s office, which connects the two waiting-room structures, has a gabled bay window.
Three Notch Museum The museum houses artifacts related to Covington County and Andalusia, including an extensive collection of early photographs, a bottle collection, a historic camera and camera accessories, tools, and military artifacts. The museum also exhibits the restored River Falls Post Office, which has a schoolroom in the back and dates from the early twentieth century. The Clark Family Log Cabin dates from the late nineteenth century and displays vintage cookware, furniture, rocking chairs, and other nineteenth-century home goods. A country store sells souvenirs typical of the early twentieth century. The museum also exhibits two cabooses and the Mark Gibson Miniature Railroad in a black boxcar behind the depot. This model railroad layout measures around 10 feet long and 4 feet wide and is and a popular children’s attraction. The complex is operated by the Covington Historical Society.
The railroad depot was built in 1899 after local businessmen offered a $5,000 prize for the first railroad to construct a line into the town, and J. M. Prestwood donated five acres of land for the depot. On September 20, 1899, the Central of Georgia Railroad Company completed construction, besting the Alabama-Florida Railroad Company for the prize. The depot prompted increased business development and population growth in Andalusia. The population doubled in one year and continued to increase as commerce in lumber, timber, agricultural products, and the turpentine industry, also expanded. The railroad continued operation until March 31, 1983, when the last train, owned by the Norfolk Southern Company, departed from the station.
Springdale Estate The museum was named after the Three Notch Trail, as are East Three Notch Street and South Three Notch Street, two important streets in downtown Andalusia. The trail was a Native American trade route later reportedly used by Gen. Andrew Jackson. Three Notch Road was constructed in the 1820s by the U.S. Army and connected Pensacola in present-day Florida to Fort Mitchell in present-day Russell County, among other places.
The museum is located on Historical Central Street at the corner of Tisdale Street and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. It is free but welcomes donations. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead for an appointment. Nearby are Springdale Estate and numerous other places of interest in Andalusia, including a historic commercial district that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Also on the Register are the Old First National Bank (ca. 1901) and the Covington County Courthouse and Jail (ca. 1914).