Chattanooga Railroad Series: Belt Line (Fort Cheatham)

Friday, March 21, 2014

(Chattanooga, in the 1890s had 10 railway outlets with 66 passenger trains arriving and departing daily. The town was criss-crossed with train tracks, including not only the main lines but the connecting Belt Line. It's not so often today that you get a glimpse of a train in Chattanooga, but many of the old tracks remain. Many Railroad Crossing signs and switches are still in place, but these days receive little or no use).

Once the Belt Line Railroad reached Dixie Mercerizing at the top of Anderson Street, it veered straight south in the direction of the old Civil War Fort Cheatham.

The sturdy earthworks not far from the foot of Missionary Ridge was named in honor of a Tennessean, Major General Frank Cheatham.

The Belt Line was put through in the direction of East Lake just over three decades after the fierce Civil War fighting in that vicinity.

The line, which was initially designed for freight, went by a number of manufacturing facilities - or they were later constructed nearby to take advantage of the opportunity for shipping and receiving.

It went near the route of Buckley Street, which continued to Missionary Avenue (today's 23rd Street). It then went along Avenue J (8th Avenue).

The freeway that went across Missionary Ridge was built in the 1960s just north of the old fort. It  swallowed up a swath of the Belt Line.

There are signs of the Belt Line along an old right of way looking south from the Cotten Patch at Main Street.

At 17th Street, the Belt Line begins to come into view with now and then a glimpse of track. The old Southern Skein and Foundry Company (now Mitchell Industrial Tire) is a block away from the Belt Line, but vestiges of a spur that served it are still visible.

The line went by the old Thatcher Spinning Company that grew to become Standard Coosa Thatcher. Hulking remnants of the once stately brick plant now rise at several points just west of the Belt Line.

Just south of I-24 you can see one remaining section of Fort Cheatham in a small park at the rear of the East Lake Courts. The Belt Line went nearby, but it has been obscured until 28th Street, where there is the first of a series of Railroad Crossings. The only track at 28th Street is a length of curving spur into a nearby business.

But not far away the Belt Line track is intact and looks ready to accommodate a locomotive and several rail cars. The track is firmly in place at several intersections on the way to East Lake.

A manual track switch, long unused, still stands by the track. But it has been many a year since the switch was "thrown."

 


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report - And Mug Shots

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALLEN, KIMBERLY M 2744 6TH AVE CHATTANOOGA, 37407 26 Chattanooga ASSAULT ALVEREZ-CRUZ, LISANDRO 7102 SHEPHERD VIEW CIRCLE CHATTANOOGA, 37421 19 Chattanooga SPEEDING DRIVING ON SUSPENDED LICENSE ANGLAND, JOSHUA JAMES 1843 BAYHILL DRIVE HIXSON, 37343 29 Hamilton County VANDALISM/MALICIOUS ... (click for more)

Mother Gets 20 Years In Death Of 4-Year-Old Son, Severe Injury To 3-Year-Old

Patricia Brewer was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for the abuse death of her four-year-old son and severe injury of her three-year-old son. She appeared before Judge Rebecca Stern and entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated child endangerment. Police said the injuries came after the mother left them alone in the care of her boyfriend, who has a history ... (click for more)

Thanks For Publishing The Stokes Photo Book

I pre-ordered the Stokes Photo Book and picked it up Wednesday . The covers and content are very high quality and contain photos you will not see anywhere else.  This book of photos is worth much more than $35.  I have seen many historic photos of my hometown Chattanooga, but this collection is amazing. My favorites are National Cemetery, Confederate Cemetery near ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Saban: ‘Ratings Don’t Matter’

When the first College Football Playoff rankings were released earlier this week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban got it right on the button when he shrugged, “I don't even care, to be honest with you." "To me, none of it matters, What does it matter?” he laughed at the Tide’s No. 6 ranking. “I mean, it only matters where you end up at the end. So what matters to us is how ... (click for more)

Owls Beat McMinn, 30-12, To Complete Unbeaten Regular Season

Undefeated. Sounds nice, huh. After a sluggish first half that produced only three points on a Laszlo Toser field goa., third-ranked Ooltewah came to life in the third quarter, riddled McMinn County’s defense with three Kelvin Leon touchdown passes in the third quarter and went on to beat the Cherokees, 30-12, at James N. Monroe Stadium to secure the school’s third unbeaten ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Clobbers Grundy Co. For 7-AA Title

Notre Dame coach Charles Fant is always hoping that his Fighting Irish football team can get off to a fast start. He never thought it would be as quick as what he saw Thursday night at Jim Eberle Field. With a District 7-AA championship on the line on an evening when they honored all of the fall senior athletes, a football game turned into a track meet and eventually a victory ... (click for more)