There Once Was An Incline Railway Going Up Cameron Hill (Part 2)

Friday, May 13, 2022 - by David Steinberg

Changes in the Horse Car Route

By December 27, 1889, the Pine Street horse car line had been slightly altered. Apparently management had decided to only operate the cars along Pine Street from West 9th to West 4th, thereby abandoning the 4th to the river segment for obvious lack of patronage.

In its stead, the company had re-routed the cars along Pine Street from West 4th, east along 4th to Market Street downtown.

A 10-minute schedule was being maintained at that time from both Market Street and the 9th Street termini and a fare of 15 cents offered a patron a round-trip ride from either 9th at Pine or Market Street at 4th on the horse cars and over the incline railway to the crest of Cameron Hill.

The price also included entrance to visit the Cameron Hill park at the crest overlooking the Tennessee River. The pagoda was then reported to be nearly complete and lacked only some finishing touches by the painters. The incline cars were also being operated on a 10-minute headway throughout the day.

Yet Another Problem

By January 4, 1890, the pagoda on the hill and the standpipe were reported virtually complete, but yet another problem cropped up to plague the Chattanooga Water & Power Company.

The January 5, Sunday Times reported the alleged difficulties, followed up by Manager Roland C. Cook’s hurried reply to the allegations detailed in the January 6 newspaper.

Unquestionably, there were tremendous internal problems then brewing within the Chattanooga Water & Power Company and the seesawing battle between Dean vs. Cook and Coffin & Stanton had totally undermined the company. In this power struggle, the January 7, 1890 Times contained a letter from Dean to the effect that the company’s internal lawsuits should be left to the courts to decide, but since Cook had used the newspapers as his forum, Dean felt similarly compelled to answer in kind.

He then went on to accuse Manager Cook and the New York bankers of trying to swindle him out of his money.

Additional Injunctions

The Cook-Dean war warmed up somewhat more on January 8, 1890. Mr. Cook, along with two of the company’s charter incorporators sought from the courts to have Dean removed from the presidency of the company, whereupon Dean applied for an injunction to have Cook removed as company manager.

The January 9, 1890 Times explained the events of the previous day.

On January 9, 1890, John Dean asked for the appointment of a receiver to operate the affairs of the company and the January 10 Times again detailed the latest developments.

On that Friday, January 10, 1890 date, the proposed hearing was postponed until Monday, January 13, to allow the New York bondholders, Coffin & Stanton, time to be present at the chancery court hearing.

Two Companies!

Tuesday, January 14, was the date set for the company’s annual meeting, at which time a slate of new officers was to be elected. A bizarre addition to the company’s internal affairs took place at that time.

The Times recorded the newest chapter in the episode in its January 15 edition and detailed the entire struggle that was taking place within the company from the inception of the problems to that date.

By consent of counsel, chancery court again canceled the proposed hearing until Thursday, January 30. In the meantime daily company affairs began to be managed by the newly installed majority faction led by Roland C. Cook and the new company president D.W. Hughes.

On February 3, an anonymous individual affiliated with the Cameron Hill company reported that, under Mr. Hughes’s able guidance, the company was then paying off its accumulated indebtedness and was beginning, as he put it “to prove more successful every day.”

On February 11, 1890, the pagoda was nearing completion. Management then ambitiously announced that it planned to build an even larger hotel, to cost in the vicinity of some $50,000 and that the existing smaller pagoda would in all likelihood be made a portion of the larger hotel. But, remarked the unnamed spokesman, nothing could be undertaken until the many court suits could be disposed of.

The February 19 Chattanooga Times noted that the Cameron Hill property at that time had been entirely fenced around.

The Battle Continues

As promised, former president Roland Dean, on March 28, 1890, sought to enjoin the existing company board of directors and its officers by filing in chancery court quo warranto proceedings. The details in this latest matter were explained in the next day’s Chattanooga Times.

On Tuesday, April 1, Chancellor Dewitt heard the quo warranto proceeding asked for by John R. Dean to oust the existing Cameron Hill management. Dodson & Moore represented the plaintiff, Dean, and the defense was headed up by the company’s general counsel, J. A. Warder. Defense argued that because the attorney general had declined to sign the quo warranto bill as required by law, the proceeding was totally void and illegal.

Dean’s lawyers argued that the signature of the attorney general on a quo warranto proceeding was merely a formality and not legally binding. Judge Dewitt took the case under advisement.

Again, despite the devastating internal company affairs, miraculously the business of the company still somehow was functioning. On Friday, April 11, 1890, one Frank P. Marquet announced that he had on that day bought for $2,000 from Frank Eastman a lot on Cameron Hill adjoining the engine house on the hill’s crest just outside the company’s grounds.

Mr. Marquet announced his plans to immediately proceed to erect a concert hall on the site and as he put it, “a first class” beer parlor, the kind then located up east. This came as a surprise to most conservative Chattanoogans, who had assumed that no intoxicating beverages were in the Cameron Hill owners’ plans.

Pressure was soon being brought to bear against that part of the Marquet plan. Ground for the structure, however, was broken the date of April 28, 1890 and the next day’s Times detailed these newest developments.

Dean Loses Once More

On the morning of Thursday, May 8, 1890, Chancellor Dewitt announced that he would deny the quo warranto proceedings requested by ousted-president John R. Dean. The only recourse left for Dean, the chancellor advised, would be to petition the governor of Tennessee himself and the State Attorney General, to ask District Attorney General Brown to give his consent to the measure by so signing to it.

A New Owner for the Park and Pagoda

On May 29, 1890, Frank P. Marquet abandoned his plans to build his own concert hall and “first class” beer parlor and instead, on that date, he leased the existing park and pagoda from the Chattanooga Water & Power Company.

He then announced plans for fitting up the pagoda into a refreshment hall in which no intoxicating beverages would be served. In addition, beginning Sunday, June 1, concerts began to be offered in the park and a new cheaper rate arrangement began to be offered over the incline and Cameron Hill Street Railway. These developments were fully explained in news releases.

In the first week in June, Mr. Marquet was attempting to arrange evening concerts to be presented on Cameron Hill during the middle of the week as well as on Sundays and to also engage a brass band for the ceremonies. In both instances he was successful as noted in the June 9, 1890 Chattanooga News.

On June 20, 1890, the incline railway secured a new engineer and superintendent and his position and others held in the company were listed as follows in The News:

The Appointment of a Receiver; The Company’s Troubles Draw to a Close

Frank Marquet’s lease of certain Cameron Hill facilities, namely the park and pagoda, and especially his concerts, had begun to make Cameron Hill a very popular place.

To this end, the real financiers of the enterprise, bankers Coffin & Stanton of New York City, were anxious to have the past 10 bitter months of struggle put behind them. Thus, on June 20, they asked the U.S. District Court to appoint a receiver to operate the company’s affairs.

To this end, Judge David Key of Chattanooga, that date, appointed then-president D.W. Hughes, the company’s receiver. The events of that day were then recorded in The Times for the date June 21, 1890.

In mid-July, concerts were still going strong on weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons and nights. On July 18, however, management announced that except for Sundays, all evening performances would be cancelled temporarily for the next one or two weeks, to enable the workmen more time to hurriedly complete the refreshment center that had long been promised.

Mutual Cooperation With Existing Car Lines

By this time, the Cameron Hill company had fully decided that it had done all the street railway building it would ever undertake and plans for the additional lines via East 4th, Moon and Harrison Avenue (East 3rd) to East End Avenue (Central Avenue) were fully abandoned.

No longer a threat to existing street railway companies, in late August and early September 1890, negotiations were underway between the Cameron Water & Power Company and the City Street Railroad, to allow Cameron Hill horse cars to operate over the city’s main thoroughfare of Market Street downtown.

Plans called for the Cameron Hill cars to operate from the end of their line at 4th and Market Street, operate south along Market Street to 9th Street via City Street Railroad trackage, west along West 9th to Pine Street, there to return to the Cameron Hill company’s own trackage at that point.

By so doing, a complete circle route over the city’s main streets and the entire downtown area was provided for. On September 11, it was reported that the City Street Railroad Company had made the Chattanooga Water & Power Company a proposal in the matter, which the latter then took under advisement.

New Owners

Despite the ambitious plans proposed for the Cameron Hill street railway to operate a loop line downtown in conjunction with the City Street Railroad Company, with the passing of the summer of 1890 and the return of autumn and the cold winter, the reasons for the incline railway’s existence ceased to be.

Exactly when is not known at this writing, but sometime after October of that year, the incline was virtually discontinued for the duration of that winter, although it is believed the street railway continued to operate.

As recalled, the company was now in bankruptcy and had been since June 20 of that year. On February 2, 1891, by order of the U.S. District Court, the Chattanooga Water & Power Company was ordered sold. On the morning of April 3, 1891, that sale took place.

As had been expected all along, the new owners turned out to be the bankers, Coffin & Stanton, its creditors. As recorded, in the next day’s Times, the entire operation consisting of the incline railway, the waterworks, the pagoda, the engine and the boiler houses, the dance hall, a number of lots and the street railway along Pine Street from 9th to the Tennessee River and along West 4th from Pine to Market Street, was sold en toto.

The Times for April 5, 1891, announced that Stanton & Coffin were fully determined to return the incline railway operation to normalcy, but were committed to little else at that time, although they were interested in making their investment once again a solvent one.

Conflicting Reports

In the April 18, 1891 Evening News, a conflicting report to the above was recorded. At that time, the headline read that the Cameron Hill new owners were desirous of abandoning the incline and instead were committed to the building of an electric trolley line on the streets leading up onto Cameron Hill.

As in the past, cooperation was to be had with the existing Chattanooga Electric Street Railroad Company in the implementation of this plan.

One thing was definite! Stanton & Coffin were interested in doing anything that would make the operation a success. Therefore, shortly thereafter, a Mr. Paul M. Atkinson, the owner of the large Chattanooga Cyclorama which depicted the storming of Missionary Ridge and the Battle Above the Clouds at Lookout Mountain and which was then on display in the city, announced that the Cameron Hill management had made him an offer suggesting that he move his exhibit permanently to Cameron Hill.

Mr. Atkinson was said to have taken the idea under advisement, although others had equally offered him a fee to bring the attraction to other spots in the city. He remarked that he would make a determination in the matter by the first of May. As it would turn out, the Cyclorama was not destined to make Cameron Hill its home.

One thing Coffin & Stanton did accomplish took place the date of Friday, May 8, 1891. On that day, the company secured a lease on the building, which had been operated the previous year by Frank Marquet as a concert hall.

That had proven an obvious success and the Cameron Hill management was desirous of having everything under its own management and control that could be use for such purposes in proximity to the pavilion building. For that reason, it was willing to pay $100 a month for use of the structure, a considerable amount of money in that day and time.

The summer of 1891 would be the banner year for Cameron Hill. An article in the May 13 Times helps to explain the success the undertaking would have that upcoming summer:

“The buildings becomingly decorated with evergreen and the national colors, and illuminated by many colored lights, were packed with the merry makers, and sight seers. All available space in the main building was occupied and the overflow enjoyed themselves in the well-arranged grounds and pavilions adjoining. In the second floor the happy dancers crowded the large room and to delightful music made merry of the night.”

The May 24, 1891 Chattanooga Times carried an article similar to that which had been mentioned in The News for the previous date of April 18. The Cameron Hill owners had developed a plan, whereby in 60 days, they proposed to have an electric street railway operating up the side of Cameron Hill, which would allow for the total abandonment of the incline.

As envisioned, the line would operate from 9th Street at Broad to 6th over existing Chattanooga Electric Railway tracks, west to Grandview Avenue and around the avenue “skirting the western slope of Cameron Hill to the river exposure of the hill and following the hill around the entire eastern brow.”

The paper reported that the company’s “wide-awake” manager, H.E. Ashcraft, was then closing a deal with the Chattanooga Electric Railway for trackage rights on Broad Street and had hired one R.M. Pengilly, described as an expert electrician, to superintend the construction of the line up the precipice.

The initial report had it that local residents were thrilled to have an electric car line up the hill and had offered hearty cooperation. Contrary to this notion, the May 25 News reported that a number of area residents were totally opposed to the project, being of the opinion that the streets there were too narrow and unsafe, especially West 6th Street, for the passage of both electric street cars and horses and buggies, over which the line was being projected to operate.

Nonetheless, on May 29, W.B. Hord, described as the General Manager of the company, which owned the Cameron Hill property, and C.F. Street of the Debenture Guarantee & Assurance Company of Great Britain and America had arrived from the west. It was reported that Mr. Hord’s purpose in coming to Chattanooga was to implement a successful summer program on Cameron Hill and that he began to undertake.

On May 31, 1891, it was announced that the 16-piece Hughes’ Military Band had been engaged for the summer by the Cameron Hill company to play each evening at the pavilion as well as on Sunday afternoons.

Stated The Times, “The incline railway is now absolutely safe and no doubt many will avail themselves of the opportunity to spend an afternoon or evening during the heated term on the cool summit of the hill listening to the music.”

The June 1 Times gave additional information on the company’s plans and the fact that beginning that Monday date, the horse cars would operate from 6th and Market (possibly a mistake and should be 4th and Market), operating south on Market to 9th, on West 9th Street to Pine, to continue to the foot of the incline at 4th and Pine Streets.

The June 4 Times noted Cameron Hill then being patronized by “great” numbers of people those warn evenings coming to hear the Hughes Military Band, and the paper remarked that no efforts had been spared by the Cameron Hill management to have all its visitors made to feel comfortable and welcome.

In the first week in June 1891, the pavilion was being converted into a miniature theatre and scene painters and stage carpenters were then hard at work on the interior of the large pavilion building. A stage was then also being positioned with all the necessary accessories to allow for comic operas and other such theatrical productions.

The June 8 Times noted that General Manager Hord was expected back in town within the next day or two, “when the other extensive improvements on the hill, including the electric street railway will be started.”

By June 17 with nothing having been yet undertaken on the proposed electric car line, the paper noted that the company was still planning its construction. Indeed on that very day, the city’s Board of Public Works had held a meeting, at which time one Dr. Smith of Spring City, Tennessee, who owned the northeast corner lot at Prospect and West 6th Street, was noted being on hand to see what action the board would take relative to his lot, a corner of it being necessary for the right-of-way for the new Cameron Hill electric railway.

According to city engineers, 19½ feet of the lot were needed on one side starting obliquely from a point to the other. Dr. Smith was offered $800 for that part of his property, although as it would turn out, the realization of an electric car line at that time on Cameron Hill would not be finalized.

Mid-June saw concerts continuing on the hill and on June 22, Messrs. Ritchie and Horne were supposedly given the lease for refreshment privileges on Cameron Hill for the remainder of the summer.

This, however, contradicts a later note in the paper that one Wahnish & Company had been given the refreshment rights on the hill, although later on July 6, his business was reportedly closed by attachment issued by the People’s Bank for some $800 in overdue notes.

In the meantime, effective July 24, 1891, the horse car circuit to and from the Cameron Hill incline was reversed. The cars began to operate from the foot of the incline at 4th and Pine, south on Pine to 9th Street, east over 9th to Market, north on Market to 4th Street and west on West 4th to return to the foot of the incline railway.

Again management noted that this was to be a “temporary” arrangement until such time as the company’s proposed electric car line could be instituted “when the horse cars would be abandoned altogether.”

July 4, 1891 brought “huge” crowds to Cameron Hill as the Federation of Trades rented Cameron Hill’s entire facilities and gave a series of dancing events, athletic competitions and speakers.

Five women living on the Pine Street car line, who advised The Times to speak to Manager Ashcraft about the situation, lodged one complaint against the Cameron Hill operation. It seems the women were upset with bells used on the cars operating in the late evenings making sleep an impossibility!

On July 17, management completed all the arrangements for a four-week season of light opera and comedy to be presented in the pavilion. The band concerts up to then had done a good job of drawing the desired crowds, but opera and comedy stints were expected to draw an increased patronage.

The Dagnall Opera Company with 26 operatic artists had been booked to perform beginning the night of Thursday, July 23. The change indeed proved to be quite a success, so much so, that the company found it necessary to put on two additional horse cars, offering thereby four cars in regular service along the Pine, 4th, Market and 9th Street circuit. At the end of the month, the crowds were still being reported as large.

The Chattanooga Water & Electric Company

Under what circumstances the company’s official name and title was changed and exactly when it transpired is unknown at this writing, but, on August 6, 1891, The Times routinely mentioned that the Chattanooga Water & Electric Company, “the present title of the owner of the Cameron Hill operation,” filed a deed of trust the day before in favor of the Debenture Guarantee & Insurance Company to secure a loan of $150,000 for improvements to the popular resort.

The paper reported that the money was to be used to “extend and complete the waterworks, street railway, electric plant, etc.” Obviously the company was then planning to implement the electrification of a street railway line as previously announced to traverse the side of Cameron Hill and to crest the top to do away with the incline railway.

More diversified entertainment followed on the hill beginning August 19, 1891. The Mexican National Army Band began to offer performances for three nights beginning that date. The August 30, 1891 Times detailed the event:

On August 31, 1891, it was reported that the regular season of scheduled entertainment had ended successfully on Cameron Hill. There were still a number of events on tap, but they were reported as being “not of a character to excite public interest.”

The summer was described by General Manager Ashcraft as having gone as expected. The company had succeeded in attracting, as it put it “the better elements” to the hill by the caliber of entertainment brought there.

Even at that time, it was reported that the company was already making arrangements for even more entertainment for the next summer. In the meantime, the following advertisement appeared once again in The Times:

In late October 1891, the city’s Board of Public Works instructed its civil engineer to notify General Manager Aschcraft, that the board intended in the near future to proceed with the paving of West 6th Street the entire distance up to and on Cameron Hill.

The board had been holding off this move until the Cameron Hill people made definite plans and arrangements with regards to the laying of their proposed tracks on that street for the envisioned electric line. On October 29, Mr. Ashcraft advised that he had not been officially notified of the board’s action, but he had advised the Board of Public Works some time before, that any time they were ready to undertake the paving project, with but one week’s notice his company would proceed with the laying of the rails and keep a convenient distance ahead of the pavers.

On October 30, the residents of West 6th Street had all signed a formal petition asking the Board of Public Works to pave their street. That week the request was to be formally presented to the board, but as it would turn out, the proposed electric trolley line would not materialize.

Beginning December 9, 1891, an official company notice in the Chattanooga Times advised, that “owing to repairs to the engine room and resetting of the boilers, the Cameron Hill incline will not run for a few days. The company also asks patrons to be economical with the use of water for the next few days until repairs can be made. By General Manager H.E. Ashcraft.”

From all available accounts thereafter, it would appear, that for the duration of the winter, as in the previous year, the entire Cameron Hill operation - incline, street railway and of course the pavilion, were shut down completely.

Indeed, on January 17, 1892, The Times noted that General Manager Ashcraft had severed his relationship with the Cameron Hill operation and had accepted a position in St. Louis with a large manufacturing concern there.

That article leads credence to the belief, that no incline service or horse cars were then operating. The new manager of the operation and the company’s future plans were then outlined in that January 7, 1892 paper.

The January 19 paper remarked at that time, that the new manager, A.L. Roache, was busy posting the books for the owner of the Cameron Hill property, the Debenture & Guarantee Insurance Company, pursuant to receiving instructions from them as to future plans.

Apparently the company was then in some kind of major financial disarray, for the paper sought to calm its readers, by advising that it was entirely untrue the rumor then being spread, that the water supply for the hill had recently been cut off.

In the course of straightening out the company’s affairs, the February 11, 1892 Times noted that Mr. Roache had carefully gone over the county records and discovered the company owned a valuable piece of property which had not been listed in the Tax Assessor’s office and on which no taxes had been paid for several years.

As if to further remove any doubts that the Cameron Hill operation was to be returned to its former glory, come that summer, the February 11, 1892 paper advised that “all the machinery connected with the incline” was then being overhauled and placed in perfect repair.”

When finished the line would be as good as new. The track was then being leveled up and new parts were being supplied where needed. All these improvements were being made preliminary to the opening of Cameron Hill for the upcoming summer.

On February 25, 1892, the Board of Public Works awarded a contract to the Southern Construction Company to pave West 6th Street with brick from Chestnut Street westward to Prospect Street. The following Monday, February 29, work was begun by a force of men, who began to tear out the old roadbed in preparation for the new brick.

With no plans being mentioned at that time for the construction of the proposed West 6th Street electric car line, it was obvious that the company had no intentions of undertaking such a project. The only thing the Cameron Hill people began to do in regards to the West 6th Street paving, was to begin on March 11 to bring their track to grade at Pine Street corner West 6th, where their horse car line crossed the thoroughfare.

Even then, on March 14, City Engineer Hooke had to notify Manager Roache that the Cameron Hill concern would have to adjust their track at that 6th and Pine Street intersection a bit faster as provided in the ordinance governing the city’s street railways. In this the company was soon in compliance.

With the realization that a street car line was no longer being planned for Cameron Hill, beginning March 15, 1892, Dr. H.O. Milton began to circulate a petition, which was soon signed by 1,000 area residents, which was thereafter presented to the Chattanooga Electric Railway, admonishing them to build the line that West Side residents had for so long been waiting for and that it traverse either Cameron or nearby Terrace Hill.

The May 27 Times painted a clear picture as to the economic times the country was then going through by the following article and prophesied that the upcoming summer on Cameron Hill would not be the successful one of the year before.

On June 11, The Times reported better news about Cameron Hill. The paper let it be known, that “the White Elephant, commonly known as Cameron Hill,” was not going to wear “the mantle of quietness” much longer, but “the tin-colored lights” would blaze and the 1,000 electric lamps would begin to burn with “exceeding brightness.”

In addition, the paper advised that the incline cars were to begin to operate up and down “merrily, merrily” for the Grand Opera Company, which would soon open on the hill, either in the latter part of that month or the first week in July.

In reality as it would turn out, the opera company did not come to Chattanooga that summer at all, rather the concert was held in the fall, on October 10, and then it was held at the downtown opera house at 6th and Market Streets.

On July 3, 1892, The Times reported that General Manager A.L. Roache had resigned from his position and it was then in the hands of one C.R. Evans, who had been the firm’s attorney for several years. The paper noted that at that time, there were no plans to hire a manager and it was probable that none would be selected that season.

That the incline was barren that summer and surely not in operation is borne out by a column in the July 5, 1892 paper which notes how July 4 of that year had been decidedly quiet.

Said The Times, “Contrast the night of July the Fourth last year with its largely attended Cameron Hill ball, the music and the lights, with its bursting bombs and exploding crackers and its dazzling pyrotechnic display. What a difference!”

Nothing was recorded from the Cameron Hill people until February 16, 1893. At that time, The Times headlined an article to the effect, that “Cameron Hill Will Blossom Again!” The paper noted that it had received news that Debenture Guarantee & Assurance Company of Great Britain and America, the Cameron Hill owners, were then busy doing their utmost to again popularize the spot as a park and observation point.

Despite the purported good news of February 16, the next day’s Times contained an article to the effect that some things then existent in the Chattanooga area, had to go. One of them were the tracks belonging to the Cameron Hill street car line on Pine Street which the paper said mistakenly had not been in use for “nearly two years.” (From the advertisement in the October 4, 1891 Times, the line was still then in use, meaning that it was more like a year and some three months that the car line had been out of use).

As a result of no care, the rails were said to then be standing three to four inches above the street grade, making hardships on other vehicles attempting to cross at 7th and Pine Streets.

Despite the hard times of the early 1890s, which today we call the panic of 1893, others still saw money to be made at Cameron Hill. The February 19, 1893 Times heralded an article, which had it been implemented, would have been an astounding undertaking that even today would be considered amazing.

The April 28, 1893 Times reiterated the same remarks mentioned in the February 17 paper, that the old Pine Street horse car tracks, long unused, were a menace for vehicles, especially crossing West 7th Street.

On May 28, notice was given that one W.E. Birchmore, affiliated with the Chattanooga Savings Bank, had been made resident agent for the Chattanooga Water & Power Company, the Cameron Hill operators.

The paper emphasized, however, that that would not interfere with his duties at the bank “as the company has no idea at present of improving the property or operation of the incline.” Mr. Birchmore had been hired simply to look after the financial affairs of the company such as the collection of the water rates from the Cameron Hill consumers.

The End Nears

The day of July 6, 1893, the Board of Public Works met in regular session. At that time, it was brought out, and a resolution was duly passed to the effect, that during the life of the Cameron Hill incline railway, tracks had been laid down West 4th Street.

Because they had been abandoned for months already, the board discussed the removal of the rails as a street obstruction. Cameron Hill attorney C.R. Evans was scheduled to meet at a future date with the City Attorney to evaluate the matter.

The issue of tracks obstructing West 4th Street continued to be in the news and again, on January 12, 1894, The Chattanooga Times mentioned that much complaint was again being heard about the matter.

The paper detailed that the issue would be brought before the Board of Public Works to either have the tracks removed or have them paved over. Indeed on January 19, the paper noted that the Cameron Hill representatives had again been notified by the Board and had been ordered to either remove the rails immediately or have the tracks taken up by someone else to whom they would be responsible to pay.

On the morning of July 14, 1894, the Board of Public Works met again, at which time they ordered that the streetcar tracks in question along Pine Street be removed and the incline tracks on West 4th Street also be torn out. The Times covered the day’s events.

Although the city had decreed that the car tracks had to be removed within 30 days, the August 1, 1894 paper advised that the Chairman of the Board of Public Works was waiting to clear up some legal technicalities before ordering the company to take up its tracks.

That official event took place the night of October 2, when the Board of Aldermen, meeting in regular session, passed the following resolution:

“Whereas Pine Street between 7th and 4th and 4th between Pine and on the west side of Cedar have long been obstructed by railroad tracks which have become a nuisance and dangerous to the public, and as the owners have failed to remove them upon notice of their condition and to make them level with the street, Be it resolved by the mayor and board of Aldermen of the City of Chattanooga that said tracks in their present condition are declared a nuisance and that the mayor be authorized and directed to employ a sufficient number of hands to tear up and remove said tracks unless removed by the owners in ten days from this date, the cost of the work to be paid by the city but the rails to be held by the city if it can be legally done to secure the cost of said work against the owner.”

On the morning of November 12, 1894, the work of tearing out the remembrance of the Cameron Hill Incline and street railway was underway. The Times had a most humorous report on the occasion in great poetic form: “In days of old, when boomers bold, with schemes the air did fill, a plan for gold, where cash should roll, was based on Cameron Hill.”

On December 1, 1894, Mayor Ochs was expected to have inspected the work then in progress on Pine Street and along 4th in the removal of the abandoned car lines and incline right-of-way.

At that time, he was said to have made a settlement with the contractors in the removal of the obstruction. All the tracks by that time had been entirely removed, the streets had been smoothed and covered with gravel on the right-of-way and then rolled. Said The Times, “The work has long been needed and its completion will be hailed by residents of the Second Ward.”

The incline was gone as well as its obscure horse car line, but the company’s internal affairs were still in turmoil. In September of 1896, the Cameron Hill property, under decree of Chancery Court, was offered for sale to the highest bidder.

The Southern Land & Loan Company bid it in at that time for the lowly sum of but $2,050, but that sale failed to confirm. On November 19, Emery Gill, a Cameron Hill resident, offered his bid of $2,505, and according to law, the property was once again put up for sale. Brown & Spurlock, attorneys, representing the company’s bondholders, who raised the bid to $2,510, then bid it in. The Times for November 20, 1896 detailed the previous day’s events:

Just four days thereafter, on November 24, the sale to the bondholders had been confirmed and again glowing prospects began to be heard about improvements and events that would begin to take place. Again The Times detailed the previous day’s occurrences:

But Finally, The End

Obviously the bondholders could not come up with the necessary funds to rejuvenate the company, for on February 16, 1897, notice was given that the pagoda, incline trestles, tracks and cars were to all be dismantled once and for all and either sold or destroyed. The only thing that was to remain was to be Cameron Hill itself.

And in the 1950s, thanks to downtown "revitalization," it too, would meet its end.

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Latest Hamilton County Arrest Report


Jason West And Jackie Hering Claim Victories At Sunbelt Bakery Ironman 70.3 North American Championship Chattanooga

The Scenic City and southeastern Tennessee and northern Georgia provided a stunning backdrop for the 2022 Sunbelt Bakery IRONMAN 70.3 North American Championship Chattanooga presented by McKee A Family Bakery triathlon. With some of triathlon’s best on hand, Jason West (USA) won the men’s professional race with a finishing time of 3:37:14 while Jackie Hering (USA) topped the podium ... (click for more)


Reaching Across The Aisle

What comes to mind when I hear the outcry of sore losers in a mayoral race in Hamilton County in 2022? What comes to my mind is we have had elected officials in this county dating back years who were applauded for being able to bring Republicans and Democrats together in a race for mayor, sheriff, commissioner, council person, Senator, or State Representative. So why now does ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: No It Is Not OK

What’s this? Several large fights broke out at Howard High’s commencement Friday night and two people were actually thrown over the guard rail at Finley Stadium. Security was unable to contain the melee yet urgent 911 calls dispatched the Chattanooga Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, and even Red Bank’s Police responded. Net result? One arrest. Only one. Earlier this ... (click for more)


Chattanooga Softball Tops Murray State In 8 Innings, But Ends Season With Another Loss To Alabama

Chattanooga defeated third-seeded Murray State 1-0 in eight innings on Saturday evening at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. However, the Mocs then suffered a second loss to Alabama to end their season. The Mocs and Racers were scoreless through seven innings until Adison Keylon drove in the game’s lone run in the eighth on an RBI groundout. Brooke Parrott tossed 7.2 shutout ... (click for more)

CFC Dominant In New York; Led By Naglestad Hat-Trick

Chattanooga FC turned on the style with a 5-1 win over Flower City Union in Rochester, NY. Hat-trick hero Markus Naglestad rose to the occasion as the Boys in Blue earned a second road win in a row to avenge the previous meeting between the two sides. Chattanooga FC had a two week break before this match following a 2-1 win in a successful visit to the Maryland Bobcats. Flower ... (click for more)