Located at the former Central of Georgia (C of G) Railroad Savannah Repair Shops. The Central of Georgia Rail Road & Canal Company was chartered by the State of Georgia in December 1833. Construction at this facility began in 1851 and was completed in 1855. Another major phase of construction and expansion occurred in 1924-1927. All steam locomotive maintenance & repairs, as well as construction & remodel of other railroad cars (i.e. box cars, tenders, passenger, etc.), were accomplished all within this facility.

The Repair Shops prospered through the late 1800s & early 1900s. The Central of Georgia was Savannah's largest employer for a time during this period, but eventually the decline of steam power in favor of diesel (maintained at the newer C of G's Macon Shops) led to the Savannah Repair Shops closing in 1963 after the company was purchased by Southern Railway, but it continued operating a passenger line until 1971 out of the neighboring depot.

After the Southern Railway began demolishing several of the Repair Shop structures, a group of citizens halted the destruction and the Southern Railway transferred part of the property to the City of Savannah. In 1978 the site was recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The Academy Award winning movie Glory, a story about the Civil War's African-American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, was filmed on site. The success of the film Glory sparked renewed interest in the property and in 1989 the City of Savannah asked Coastal Heritage Society to bring life back to the derelict buildings and operate it as a historic site focused on heritage tourism.

In 2003, the first of several Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) votes passed which would bring millions of dollars to preserving this facility as a historic site & museum. Regularly scheduled and active passenger rides (site tour by train) began in 2009, as well as a daily offering of various historic interpretation & guided tours to enhance the guest experience of the museum. The former Central Repair Shops are now the largest and most complete antebellum railroad facility of its kind in the world.