The original train made its first trip in 1830. Six months later, the Best Friend’s boiler exploded, destroying the engine. The replica was built in 1928, from the original blueprints, to recognize the S.C. Canal and Rail Road Co.’s 100th anniversary. The company was chartered by the Legislature to explore connecting Charleston with inland markets via rail.
The replica is owned by the city of Charleston. It was returned to the city after six years on loan to Norfolk Southern headquarters in Atlanta.
The Best Friend was the first engine built entirely in the United States – at West Point Foundry in New York – and was the first to carry the U.S. mail.
The Best Friend of Charleston Museum is located at:
23 Ann Street
in historic downtown Charleston behind the Charleston Visitor Center.
The train may be seen at any time through the windows on the John Street side of the building.
Open daily (Except major holidays) 9 AM to 4 PM