Chattanooga Railroad Series: The Unfinished Line To Stevenson (Part 3)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - by John Wilson

The train route that was planned between Chattanooga and Stevenson was built for eight miles high on the steep sides of Aetna Mountain well above Highway 41.

The route proceeded from the Raccoon Mountain Tunnel on the east side of Highway 41 past the entrance to the Raccoon Mountain Pumped-Storage Plant, then it crossed to the opposite side.

The old bed of the line can be clearly followed as it passes above Anna's High Falls that is now owned by the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. There is no trace of a stream along the track above the interesting falls, which emerge from the side of the mountain below the old unused rail bed and disappear into a deep sinkhole at the base of the falls.

This route encountered several ravines, and the railroad had to construct large culverts across the gaps far above the highway. One is a long concrete pad for a trestle that was to have been built later.

There are two interesting culverts above Sullivan's Grocery. When there was a cloudburst in 1982, one of the culverts was damaged and the other was filled with silt at one end. This torrent washed away the original grocery established in 1929 by the river by Frank Sullivan after he left the Orme Mines. His son, Randall Sullivan, rebuilt on the uphill side of the highway at a spot that had been a ravine, but was filled in by the silt.

A major culvert is not far from the highway just past Holder Lane at Parker Gap. It was intended that the track would be built on a trestle across the culvert, which had a tunnel to carry away the water of Parker Gap Branch.

Still another interesting creation on the Stevenson Extension is under the highway just before McBrien Lane. A wash at this point created a deep ravine near the river. The culvert built by the railroad builders is topped by several layers of rock and brick. The old road to Kelly's Ferry veered to the left here and then back toward the river to avoid the ravine. However, the railroad was built across the chasm. When Highway 41 was constructed, it chose the route of the unfinished train line, leaving the old, sturdy culvert still in place.




Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALVAREZ, MARCELINO P  207 LAWS AVE #A CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 45 years old Arresting Agency: Tenn Highway Patrol DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE --- ARNOLD, DERRICK  5191 CENTRAL AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37401  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga DRIVING ON ... (click for more)

Bradley County Authorities Hold Active Shooter Drill

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Fire Department, Bradley County Fire and Rescue, Bradley County 911 Communications Center, and Bradley County Emergency Management Agency took part in an active shooter exercise early this morning at Bradley Central High School to evaluate tactics and technologies for responding to and containing rapidly escalating shooting incidents. ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)

Orange Overwhelms White, 34-7, In Tennessee Spring Game

KNOXVILLE – After almost a month of spring camp and four quarters of ones versus twos, one glaring question remains: how much will the fall arrival of graduate transfer Keller Chryst change the dynamic of the battle for starting quarterback?   While new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was calling for an electric atmosphere at Saturday’s Orange and White game, the ... (click for more)

Stoker, Tate Prevail In 50th Chickamauga Chase 15K

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise for the oldest and longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club’s schedule. Temperatures were cool, but not cold, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.   Add to that the fact there was very little wind and you have perfect conditions for the 50 th Annual Chickamauga Chase. A lot has changed with this ... (click for more)