Friday, March 18, 2011

Railway Depots - Two Along the Way

The other day when we were out running errands and catching a quick lunch, we happened across this nice little depot in Maryville, Tennessee. From what I could discover, it's the former Southern Railroad freight depot. It was built for Southern back in 1925 and it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. The tracks used to run along the left side of the depot. The building is now serving as the office for a local CPA firm.

A couple of days later we were out exploring again...another nice day in East Tennessee. It did cloud up a bit as we cruised along the back roads on our way home from Clinton... (Antique Stores Galore!)

This is the former Southern Railroad Passenger Depot in Oliver Springs. It was built in 1896 for $1,550.00. It now serves as the Oliver Springs Library and local archive repository. This was a busy railway station for many years. At one point, in addition to the 2 - 4 passenger trains each day that stopped here, there were 6 local 'shopper' trains that came through Oliver Springs going to and from Harriman and Knoxville.

The last passenger trains that stopped here were the "Carolina Specials"...the "Pride of the Southern". They made that final trip on December 5, 1968.

There are a few displays both inside and outside of the Oliver Springs Depot. This is a Southern Railway caboose that was originally built in 1971...then it was refurbished by Oliver Springs in 1997.

So...why was this little town such a busy train hub? It's all about tourism, coal and Oak Ridge. Starting back in the 1830's, Oliver Springs was known for it's mineral springs. Although earlier there had been several smaller hotels serving American & European tourists seeking the healing powers of the mineral waters, the town hit big time in 1895 when the luxury 150 room Oliver Springs Hotel was opened.

Unfortunately, the hotel burned down in 1905 and nothing was built to replace it... Coal kept the area busy for some time and then, during WWII, the construction of the nearby Oak Ridge complex led to additional rail traffic in support of that facility.

This nifty little 116+ year old building is all that's left of the Oliver Springs Hotel complex. It's the former ticket booth where one paid for admission to the mineral springs. It now sits right next to the Southern Railway Depot/Library.

For photos and a bit more information on an earlier hotel as well as the 150 room building that burned down in 1905, check it out at The Depot itself is located at 610 Walker Avenue in Oliver Springs.


  1. Hi David. This is awesome. You do have a knack for finding these interesting historic places. God Bless America, my friend. Keep um coming, Keri

  2. As soon as I saw the RR station, I knew where it was. I'm glad to see them making such good use of it.