Tucker owes much of its existence to the railroad that runs right through the middle of town. Most Tucker residents have likely seen the small, unassuming white building next to the tracks on Railroad Avenue, but many might not realize that the history of Tucker is wrapped up with the history of that old depot.
While the area known as Tucker today was settled during the land grant boom of the 1820's, it wasn't until the late 19th century that Tucker began life as a railroad community when, in 1892, the first train rolled into the Tucker depot carrying 150 passengers and bunch of mail. The railroad that carried that train was owned by the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railway and leased to the Seaboard Air Line, the culmination of 6 years of activity that ultimately connected Atlanta to the entire Atlantic seaboard. A great many travelers in the early 20th century found their way to Atlanta by way of Tucker, GA, and the train depot was the literal center of the community.
The depot was known as the "Tucker" depot because Seaboard Air Line had a habit of naming depots after company officials, with Captain Rufus S. Tucker taking the honors here. A great many people claim the community is actually named for a local family, but none other than Charles Murphy Candler apparently confirmed in a speech in 1922 that the community was named for the Captain.
For the next 30 years or so, business was good for Seaboard Air-Line, and a large stream of visitors and new residents visited the burgeoning railroad community. Tucker had a train stop, a post office, and a booming downtown area. But then the Great Depression hit, forcing Seaboard Air-Line into bankruptcy (largely due to their unwise expansion into Florida), and hitting the Tucker community especially hard.
Though World War II and the post-war boom helped revive the local economy, passenger train service just never quite rebounded, so in 1967 Seaboard Air-Line started a nearly 20 year process of being gobbled up into bigger and bigger railroad giants. By 1983, Seaboard Air Line was no more, one of a host of old lines that were now part of the logistics giant CSX.
The old train depot, which was once the beating heart of the community of Tucker and its literal reason for existing, took on its current role as a CSX field office for repair and maintenance. Though the railroad may not carry visitors into town any longer, the spirit of old Tucker remains, as the gateway to the city of Atlanta, and a popular destination for the visitors from Dekalb County and beyond.