Chattanooga Railroad Series: Belt Line (Highland Park And Ridgedale)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - by John Wilson

When it was decided in 1886 to add passenger service to the Belt Line, the first route placed in service went through the promising new suburb of Highland Park to near the foot of Missionary Ridge at Ridgedale.

The new track curved away from the line that ran by the National Cemetery at Bennett Avenue. It went straight for Missionary Ridge along Anderson Avenue starting at Greenwood Avenue.

The track crossed Highland Park Avenue, Hickory Street, Holly Street, Hawthorne Street and Beech Street. It went on across Orchard Knob Avenue, Willow Street, Beech Street, Kelley Street and Lyerly Street.

After Watkins Street, and just before reaching Buckley Street, it veered straight south to head for Fort Cheatham and East Lake.

The line was an immediate success for owner Charles E. James. It initially used one locomotive and two coaches to carry passengers from the downtown station at Chestnut Street. There were seven round trips per day - leaving downtown at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. as well as 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Cost of a trip one way was five cents.

Within the first week, it was hauling as many as 2,200 passengers a day. By November 1886, the line carried up to 3,500 passengers a day.

But by 1889 the new electric streetcars - faster and with more direct routes - began siphoning off the Belt Line passengers.

In February 1892, the Belt Line passenger service to Highland Park that had seemed so promising was discontinued.

Freight service continued on the Belt Line, including servicing the Dixie Mercerizing Plant built on Watkins Street in 1920 to process Mercerized cotton.

It is still easy to trace the Belt Line's Highland Park route, though most of the tracks are gone.

The curve that begins at Bennett Avenue near the National Cemetery is near the Lucey Boiler facility and is now called Lucey Street.

The old rail bed is evident in a wide grassy expanse just to the left of Anderson Avenue.

The first tracks come into view as the line approaches the old Dixie Mercerizing facility. More tracks are on Watkins Street, along with a metal support over a ditch.

The line extends on near Buckley Street to what is now the Ridgedale Greenwalk.

The right of way then goes near Buckley Street to just south of the old Cotten Patch drive in on Main Street. Some of the heavy cross ties from the Belt Line were used on the Cotten Patch parking lot.


    Woman, 22, Charged In Robberies In Chattanooga, East Ridge

    A 22-year-old woman is charged in connection with robberies in Chattanooga and East Ridge. Ebony Faye Cousin, of 1217 Shomar St., is charged with aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, theft of property, driving on a revoked license, striking a highway fixture, reckless driving, speeding and not having insurance. Police said Ms. Cousin pointed a pink handgun at a clerk at ... (click for more)

    Grand Jury No Bills And True Bills

    Here are the latest no bills and true bills from the Hamilton County Grand Jury: No Bills: CHUBB, JIMMY ALLEN B 35 M 0 1 GS 1607438 FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CHUBB, JIMMY ALLEN B 35 M 0 2 GS 1607437 VIOLATION OF REGISTRATION LAW SHAW, COREY NEAL W 29 M 0 1 GS 1643617 DOMESTIC ASSAULT aka SHAW, COREY N True Bills: BANKS, SHARON LAGRAMADA B 45 F 300727 1 3 ... (click for more)

    Bikers Need To Have Licenses And Insurance - And Response

    I am okay with Haslam’s idea of raising the gas tax and lowering the food tax.  But, I want to see a tax of bicycles since they have their own lanes now and they also have to be maintained. How much revenue would that bring in?  I would think if we have enough bike riders to have the lanes in the first place, there must be enough to generate some money for road improvements. ... (click for more)

    Roy Exum: Just One Year Later…

    If I hadn’t actually seen it happen, I would never have believed it. Not only did I wonder if it could ever happen, more often than not my disgust and dismay of such rampant disorder has filled me with more gloom and doom than you’ll find in a liberal Democrat on this, Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day. But I have got to proclaim that Thursday night I have never been as proud of the ... (click for more)

    Smooth-Operating Cameron Leads Tyner Past 'Canes

    Tyner may occasionally have an off night scoring, but that Rams defense is always spot-on. East Hamilton saw that first hand Thursday night in a hot Tyner Academy gymnasium. It didn’t rain points. Neither offense was sparkling, but the Rams had a distinct edge on one end of the court throughout the game – East Hamilton’s. The Rams got to almost every loose ball, most ... (click for more)

    Cleveland Wrestlers Whip Walker Valley, 60-12

    The undefeated and top-ranked Cleveland Blue Raider wrestling team just keeps rolling along, winning the close ones and also winning the ones not so close. Thursday night at Walker Valley, the Blue Raiders recorded five pins, three technical falls and two forfeits in a 60-12 victory over the Mustangs. Those pins came from Bryce Pond, Colton Landers, Austin Sweeney, Dylan Jones ... (click for more)