Tri-state (TN-AL-GA) Rail Stops - Northside Consolidated Railway, Chattanooga Traction Company

Friday, October 21, 2016 - by Chuck Hamilton

NORTHSIDE CONSOLIDATED RAILWAY, 1891

 

This railway began as two separate railways in 1891, the Chattanooga and Northside Railway, which served Hill City and Vallambrosa, and North Chattanooga Street Railway, which served North Chattanooga, Chattanooga Golf and County Club, and Riverview, later adding Normal Park.  The two companies changed hands several times, at one time combined as the Signal Mountain Railway.  Under this company, the two separate lines were called the Vallambrosa Line and the Riverview Line, named for their termini.

Both were purchased by Rapid Transit of Chattanooga in 1900, which merged them under this name as Northside Consolidated Railway.  Chattanooga Railways Company purchased Rapid Transit in 1906 and integrated these two lines into its system.

The community here began with Camp Contraband during the Civil War, home to freed slaves.  In time, the settlement grew into Hill City.  After the North Chattanooga Land Company entered the development scene, residents began to debate changing the name.  Another company called Northside Land Company owned the the section south of Colville Street between Tucker Street and Beak Avenue.  After the township of North Chattanooga incorporated in 1915, Northside disappeared as a separate entity.  The western boundary of the township was Forest Avenue, with the unincorporated section to the west still known as Hill City, until its residents voted in favor of annexation by North Chattanooga in 1925.

Hill City

This station and the car shed stood on the fifth lot north of the intersection of West Peak Street and Upper Ferry Road (now North Market Street), on the west side of the latter.  Vallambrosa included the area west of Stringer’s Ridge north of what is now Williams Street along

The post office of Harveyton was established here as in 1883, changing to Hill City in 1884 and operating until 1912 when it was discontinued and service moved to North Chattanooga, according to USPS records.

Vallambrosa

This station stood on the crest of Stringer’s Ridge directly over the tunnel.  After 1900, Rapid Transit discontinued service to this station.  Vallambrosa included the area west of Stringer’s Ridge and north of what is now Williams Street between Whitehall Road and Ladd Avenue, including at area at the northern mouth of the tunnel through the ridge where Cherokee Motel is and where the Outlaws MC once had their clubhouse.

During the Civil War, Fort Wilder near here served the later Chattanooga’s leader’s brigade as an artillery emplacment from which to shell the town during the Second Battle of Chattanooga 21 August-7 September 1863.  During the Federal Military Occupation, it anchored the center of the line of blockhouses from Fort Whitaker at the southern end of Stringer’s Ridge on Moccasin Point to the redoubt in North Chattanooga proper.

North Chattanooga

This station stood on Tremont Avenue at the top of the hill.

During the Federal Military Occupation, a redoubt anchored the eastern end of the line of blockhouses mentioned above, located in what’s now Valentine Circle.

A post office of North Chattanooga existed at some time, according to the previously mentioned USPS records and a few other notations in various sources, but no other information is available.  However, since the Hill City post office transferred in 1912, it had to have been operating at that time, and may have continued to do so until the town was annexed to Chattanooga in 1930.

Normal Park

From 1896 to 1907, North Chattanooga hosted the Chattanooga Normal University.  A “normal” school or university in the late 19th-early 20th centuries trained teachers.  After it opened, the railway added a station for its instructors and students.  The area east of Beck Avenue and south of Tremont Street developed into Normal Park.  In 1907, Hamilton County took over the university here, turned it into a grammar school, Normal Park Elementary, and transferred the teacher training department to the new University of Chattanooga.

Chattanooga Golf and Country Club

The depot here stood conveniently at or near the walkway to the entrance of the clubhouse.

Riverview

This station stood at about 1635 Riverview Road, which then hosted the tracks for the railway, next to the 2nd hole of the golf course nearby

 

CHATTANOOGA TRACTION COMPANY, 1913

 

While this was strictly an electric railway operation, I’m including it because of its connection with the Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railway (CNO&TP) and because it reached areas not included in any of the steam or diesel railways.  In addition to being the last major electric railway lines built in Chattanooga, they were also the last railway lines built by C.E. James.  The main purpose for building the first line was to carry passengers to another venture of his, the Signal Mountain Inn.  “Traction” in the title of the company refers to the kind of engine using electric power for propulsion.

The Chattanooga Traction Company (CTC) built three lines north of the river, the Signal Mountain Division, which opened in 1913; the Dry Valley (or Red Bank) Division, which opened in 1916; and the Hixson Division, which was sold to Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific Railway in 1917 before it opened. 

In building this last line, CTC had intended to load freight at CNO&TP’s Tenbridge Station to carry on its lines to haul into Chattanooga but discovered it would come under scrutiny of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and sold the line to CNO&TP.

Unified Line

North Chattanooga

This station stood at the north end of the County Bridge (now Walnut Street Bridge) until John Ross Bridge opened, when it moved to a spot just west of that bridge.

Signal Mills

This station stood at the former Signal Knitting Mill on Manufacturers Roads now serving as the home for Food Works.

Magnolia

Roughly halfway between the stations in either side, this station may have served the needs of the Magnolia Petroleum Company, which had a presence here in the early 20th century.

Divine

This station stood where Power Corporation Drive runs under US 27.  The brick depot here is one of the very few (possibly the only) surviving such structures from the CTC days.  The railway’s car barns sat nearby to the east.

Tennessee Paper Mills

This station stood at the eponymous factory on Manufacturers Road.

Riverside

This station was at Riverside Road and Manufacturers Road, and a spur line from here ran south down to Moccasin Point, not quite reaching the end.

Valley Junction

This depot was at the intersection of Pineville Road and West Elmwood Drive and was the junction from which Signal Mountain and Dry Valley Divisions went their separate ways.

Signal Mountain Division

Passenger service on this line operated from September 1913 until 4 July 1934.

Pineville

This station stood at the Pineville Road crossing.

Williams Island

This station stood approximately at the Baylor School Road crossing, and there was a spur line from here onto the school’s campus.

Silver Creek

This station stood at the Old Signal Mountain Road crossing.

Crystal City

This station was about where the northern entrance to the Wal-Mart complex in Signal Mountain Boulevard is now.  From the station there was a road that circled Crystal Lake, a feature which long ceased to exist long before Wal-Mart came.

Jones Station

This station stood behind Food City on Signal Mountain Boulevard.

Glendale

This station stood at the intersection of Glendale Drive with Signal Mountain Boulevard.

Elks

This station stood just below the first sharp curve to the east on Signal Mountain Boulevard.

Sub Station

This station stood below Williams Point, roughly at the intersection of Sunset Drive with Signal Mountain Boulevard.

Shoal Creek

This station stood approximately at the intersection of Shoal Creek Road with Signal Mountain Boulevard, below Brady Point.

Wilder

This station stood near where North Palisades Drive crosses Shoal Creek.

Adams

This station stood at the intersection of Adams Street with Palisades Drive.

Oakwood

This station stood near the intersection of Ladder Trail with Palisades Drive.

Hollywood

This station stood near the intersection of Wood Street with Mississippi Avenue.

Fairview

This station stood at the intersection of Fairview Avenue with Mississippi Avenue.

Tennessee Avenue

This station stood at the intersection of Tennessee Avenue with Mississippi Avenue.

Exchange

This station stood approximately at the intersection of Mississippi Avenue, James Boulevard, and Brady Point Road.

Signal Mountain Inn

The Signal Mountain Inn, the terminus of the Signal Mountain Line, is now the Alexian Brothers of Tennessee Retirement Community.

Since there is no “Signal Mountain Station”, I will add the postal information here.  The post office of Signal Mountain was established in 1915 and continues to this day.

Dry Valley Division

Passenger service on this line operated from March 1917 until 31 March 1928.

Woodland

This station stood at the McRoy Road crossing.

Hillside

This station stood at the Signal Mountain Boulevard crossing.

Valdeau

This station stood at the Dayton Boulevard crossing.

The post office of Valdeau operated from 1897 until 1915, when service was moved to Chattanooga.

Midvale

This station stood at the Midvale Avenue East crossing.

White Oak

This station stood at the Memorial Drive (formerly Whiteoak Road) crossing.

Walters

This station was at the east end of Signal View Street, which once went to the tracks.

Flora

This station was at the Culver Street crossing.

C & D Junction

This station stood at the junction of the Red Bank Division with the Hixson Division, at what’s now the intersection of Harding Road and Dayton Boulevard.

Morrison

This station stood at what’s now the insection of Newberry Street East with Dayton Boulevard.

Ford

This station stood at what’s now the intersection of Euclid Avenue with Dayton Boulevard.

Red Bank

This station stood at what’s now the intersection of East Leawood Avenue with Dayton Boulevard.

The post office of Red Bank operated from 1875 until 1902, when it was moved to Valdeau.

Hixson Division

This line was completed in 1917 and sold to CNO&TP before CTC ever operated on it.

C&D Junction

This station was at the junction of the two railways.  See the entry under the Red Bank Division.

Lupton City

The passenger depot, if there was one, probably stood at the end of Mill Street, near where it meets the tracks.

The post office of Lupton City operated from 1925 until 2009.

Tenbridge

This station was the junction of this line with CNO&TP’s main line into Chattanooga.

For more information, see the entry in the section on the Cincinnati Southern Railway.

Chuck Hamilton

<natty4bumpo@gmail.com>


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