locked Depot for St. Elmo, TN

George Eichelberger

Until the time of WWI, one of the marks of an “up to date little town” was to have its own freight and passenger stations. The SRHA archives have many letters, similar to the attachment, touting the status of towns, or even developers’ dream of where a town will be, to the Southern in hopes of having a depot built and becoming a timetable stop.

In some cases, the Southern would decline to spend the money but would offer to let whoever was promoting the concept pay to build a combination freight and passenger station on company property to be owned and controlled by the railroad. Having an established post office in the town was almost always a requirement so mail revenue could add to the revenues.

The attached letter from the St. Elmo, TN Business League is typical. SRHA archives "Box  O File 167” does not offer information on if a depot was ever built for St. Elmo (a suburb of Chattanooga).


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