On December 1st, 1909 at 5 AM the Terminal Station in Chattanooga opened its doors to the public. R. H. Bearden of Knoxville, a traveling auditor for the Southern Railroad, purchased the very first ticket en route to Atlanta. He got off at the first stop at Sherman Heights, then took the streetcar back to the City.
The station would be a vital transportation hub until rail travel ran its course in public popularity by the end of the 1950s. Its last train left the aging terminal on August 11, 1970, ending a major identifying chapter in Chattanooga’s history, a city made famous because of Glenn Miller’s 1941 hit arrangement of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”.
On April 11, 1973, Terminal Station was reopened to the public as the “Chattanooga Choo Choo Hilton and Entertainment Complex.” Today, the station still stands as a testament to reuse.
Most recently an original brown print of an early version of Terminal Station by architect Don Barber was rediscovered by Cornerstones during the preparation of their restoration of the waiting room/lobby of the station. Below is a high-resolution copy of that architectural print, which shows the evolution before its final design. (Digitized by Sam Hall of Chattanoogahistory.com) Click on the image to zoom.
Thanks to Justin W. Strickland, author of Chattanooga’s Terminal Station for the exclusive access for the digital assets in this post. I highly recommend his book.
*Cover photo courtesy of the Stokes Family