The Brief History of the N.C.&St.L. Depot Jackson TN. Complied By J. H. Driver The Tennessee Midland Railroad opened its doors at the Jackson Depot in June 1888 and was there until 1906 when it was moved 200 yards east of its location to be used as a general freight office. The present depot was then built by the N.C. & St.L. Railroad in 1907. Mayor Hugh Anderson welcomed dignitaries to the new structure with a grand opening. After several years of of unsuccessful train service, the L. & N. railroad bought the Tennessee Midland in 1895 and became the N.C. & St. L.. At this point, the L. & N. turned around and leased the N.C.&St.L. For 99 years. The depot had many surrounding attractions including Lancaster Park which its water was famous for its “healing powers”. Other areas of interest were a zoo, ballpark, swimming holes, lake and Johnny Popcorn. Two circuses, Ringling Brother, Haggenback and Wallace, and a carnival, the Royal American shows that played Cotton Carnival in Memphis, unloaded here and presented their shows. Streetcars played a big part, running from Highland Park to all parts of the city. On Sunday afternoons people would board the streetcars and go to Lancaster park for picnics. On June 30, 1939, streetcars were taken out of service. In 1919 the Summers Brother opened Hub City Bottling Works across the street from the depot, at 111 O'Conner Street . Here they introduced their new drinks, Cherry Coke, Pop Kola, Nu Grape and others. Seems like the depot was in the right place at the right time with all of its surroundings. Across the street from the depot in the year 1901, Mr. Neeley built a hotel and sold it to Mr. Murphy in 1946. Travelers stayed in this hotel while waiting for their train to depart. Also across the street was South Royal Cafe which was built in the 1890's. Inside was a saloon and rooms. Ex-president Teddy Roosevelt spoke at the depot in 1912 while running on the Bullmoose ticket for president. Franklin D. Roosevelt passed through here on a special train at 3 am. On the morning of March 20, 1942 on the way to Nashville and to Washington. The National Guard left Jackson in the 1940's with units out of Memphis and Medical groups of about 500 men gathered at the station with the American Legion band playing. In 1928 when a young boy darted out in front of the train, a machinist from the M & O shops named Eldrige Partridge dashed in front of the train in attempt to save the boy and was killed. Two local boys boarded the train here on the way to camp during world war I and were killed near Nashville in a head- on collision. That was the worst train disaster in the US history. The bodies were brought back and buried in Hollywood Cemetery on July 9, 1918. The N.C. & St.L. Railroad played a big part in the nations railroads. This was the only railroad that made money during the depression. They had a passenger train named after the city of Jackson called the Jackson Belle. It ran from Jackson to Memphis in 3 hours 15 minutes. In the late 40's they put on a train called the City of Memphis that made the round trip from Memphis to Nashville and back in a days time. The Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railroad called the Dixie Line had a fabulous career. Today is a new name for the five merged railroads – CSX -(Chessic, Seaboard, and many times more.) In 1933 the C.&O. Railroad asked Guido Gruenwald a Viennese artist, to come up with a name and logo. He called it the , the Chessie System and named it after one of his favorite cats, Chessie.
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