126 Years Later: How a Treasured Piece of IAM History Ended Up on ‘The Walking Dead’

The site of the first Machinists Union meeting, a rail yard just minutes south of downtown Atlanta, was the filming site for a recent episode of The Walking Dead.

The first members of the Machinists Union were facing dangerous work, long hours, and unfair pay when they gathered in a dusty Atlanta locomotive pit on the night of May 5, 1888. They met in secret, since management would have responded harshly if they knew their employees were forming a union.

The 19 machinists had a long list of concerns, but that list probably didn’t include zombies.

The founders of the IAM met for the first time in an Atlanta locomotive pit in 1888.

The since-abandoned rail yard in which the IAM was founded 126 years ago was the shooting location for a recent episode of The Walking Dead, a post-apocalyptic TV drama about a world overrun by flesh-eating zombies. The episode aired on March 30 – a little over a month before the IAM celebrated its 126th birthday.

Click here to watch a behind-the-scenes look at how The Walking Dead’s producers turned the area into “Terminus,” a safe-haven community – or so the show’s main characters initially think – for some of the last remaining humans.  

“We were very fortunate to find the Terminus location,” said Grace Walker, a production designer for AMC’s hit show. “So many great textures and buildings and spaces. It was just such a great find.”

The rail yard’s roundhouse, once used to service locomotives, is depicted as a church memorializing the dead.

“We’re all really pleased with it,” said Walker.

Terminus was the final destination in the last episode of The Walking Dead’s fourth season. AMC hasn’t announced a date for the premiere of Season 5, but it would make sense that Terminus, and the IAM’s birthplace, will be featured prominently.

Stay tuned.