Chattanooga Railroad Series: Bell Buckle, Tn.

Thursday, April 23, 2015 - by John Wilson

A community with the colorful name of Bell Buckle, Tn., was once a stop along the railroad between Nashville and Chattanooga.

Bell Buckle, which is north of Cowan and near the horse country at Shelbyville, is said to have gotten its name from the fact that Cherokees had carved a bell and a buckle on a tree. The buckle was meant as a warning to potential settlers and the bell as a threat that their cattle would be killed.

Bell Buckle grew into a thriving settlement with the advent of the railroad in 1852. It was a prominent shipping center, and many fine homes and stores were erected.

A fire during the Depression years destroyed many of the town buildings. A new set of stores was built that mainly faced the tracks.

The depot is long gone, but a red caboose now sits at that location.

Bell Buckle's stores are now mainly filled with antiques and collectibles. One old store is well-known for its ice cream cones and another has crowds lined up for its delicious food.

The Webb School still operates at the edge of town past the historic homes.



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