Joint Effort (L&N)

“JOINT EFFORT” by Tom Rock
Copyright  © 1988, T.D.R. Productions

Sheet: 23″ x 33″ / Image: 19″ x 29″

In 1906 the Louisville and Nashville Railroad opened a depot and shop facility in a sleepy little town in southeast Tennessee called Etowah (Cherokee for “Muddy Waters”). When the construction was complete, the complex included a turntable, roundhouse, engine and car repair shops; passenger and freight depots, power plant and fourteen freight and five repair tracks. This was the L&N Railroad’s division point between Corbin, Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia on the new route to connect Chicago with Cincinatti, Ohio, Lexington, Kentucky and Knoxville, Tennessee.

The depot was the key building in the railroad complex, and became the center of the business district. It housed the administrative offices as well as the passenger station for the community, and because of its architectural excellence, was proclaimed the finest station between Knoxville and Atlanta.

In 1974, after 68 years of operation, the L&N closed the station, but by 1981 with help of local civic groups and grants the building was restored to its original grandeur and reopened again. This time to let the public view what a grand part of Americana she once was.

For a moment, let us go back to the spring of 1944, as we see Mike No.1529 topping off her tank in preparation for the days switching chores, while double header First No.53 South struggles to get her tonnage started as she heads for Atlanta. These sights and sounds are gone forever, but their memory will always live on.


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