locked Re: Depot for St. Elmo, TN

Warren Stephens

To be honest I am not totally certain where St. Elmo ends and Chattanooga and/or Alton Park begins. This gentleman is obviously referring to the new Southern alignment which was being crafted partly by upgrading Belt Railway of Chattanooga trackage to mainline and then an entirely new right of way from just south of Shipp yard. This junction of upgraded Belt and new right of way was called “Southern Extension” in TAG employees timetables. Just below the meeting of old a new trackage a natural wye occurred on what was still the Chattanooga Belt. It was here that TAG turned their large steam engines after they outgrew their turntable at Alton Park. The new right of way began a climb to Lookout Mountain tunnel almost immediately after Shipp and was therefore elevated by the time it reached what I have always believed to be St. Elmo city limits. St. Elmo had always been connected to down town Chattanooga. By street car and by the Chattanooga Union Railway steam dummy and by the Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain Railway but as the letter stated only the street car remained by this point. Vintage maps indicate that there was a St. Elmo station on the Chattanooga Union Railway (later Chattanooga Belt) trackage used by Chattanooga Southern (later TAG) to reach the state line. I assume it was used by TAG and steam dummy trains and I can’t see it being very elaborate. By virtue of the fact that the new AGS alignment was elevated through St. Elmo, I doubt this station was ever built. I also doubt the AGS really saw a need for a suburban station that close to Terminal Station. As the crow flys maybe three to three and a half miles? 

Warren D. Stephens
CofG and TAG fan

On Feb 11, 2021, at 8:58 AM, George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

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).


<1916-1-19 St. Elmo, TN depot request.jpeg>

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