Chattanooga Railroad Series: Ringgold Depot

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - by John Wilson

One of the stops on the Western and Atlantic Railroad - the first train into Chattanooga - was nearby Ringgold, Ga., which was a promising farm to market community in the days before the Civil War.

Ringgold was also the county seat of Catoosa County, and the courthouse was near the depot. It was founded just a few years before the railroad arrived and named after Samuel Ringgold, a hero of the Mexican War.

Ringgold's historic depot still stands, having been in continuous use since opening in 1850. Today it serves as a town visitors center and as the home of regular performances at the Ringgold Opry.

The Ringgold Depot came into special prominence when it was a centerpiece of the famed raid by James Andrews and his men to try to ruin sections of the W&A to thwart the Confederates. Andrews was able to make it past the Ringgold Depot, but The General floundered just north of the train station. The bold, but futile, effort ended just 18 miles short of Chattanooga.

During the Civil War Battle of Ringgold on Nov. 27, 1863, parts of the depot were blown away. It is obvious from the reconstruction which parts were original and which were used to make the repairs. Bullet holes can still be seen in the depot walls.

Several historic homes and buildings remain near the depot,including the two-story brick Whitman-Anderson House that is being remodeled.

Nearby is the Old Stone Presbyterian Church, which was built about the time of the railroad's arrival and now serves as a Civil War museum.

Trains no longer stop at the Ringgold Depot, but they regularly pass by the historic train station. A viewing stand has been built across the tracks from the depot for train buffs.


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