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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tuckers Gap Passenger Depot

Tuckers Gap Passenger Depot

Tennessee & Pacific Railroad was chartered in 1866 with the intent of connecting Knoxville to Memphis so that coal from the East Tennessee mountains could be conveyed out to the western U.S. In 1869, consturction began on the first (and as it turned out, the only) segment of the rail line, a 29 mile stretch from Lebanon to Nashville. It began operation in 1871, so this passenegr station was built sometime during those two years.

The depot was built on land owned by John Bell Tarver. His daughter Nancy Tarver Hagan was employed to be the depot's operator. To make money, she would sell poultry, livestock, eggs, flowers, etc. from the depot. According to family stories, when she would hear the train whistle, she'd quickly change into her "good clothes" and run down the hill from her house just in time to meet the approaching train.

By 1877, Tennessee & Pacific ran out of money and the line was purchased by NCStL. The short line operated under the T&P name until 1988 when it was renamed the NCStL Lebanon Branch. The last run was made on July 13, 1935 when passenger service stopped.

The depot sat vacant at the same spot for nearly seven decades when it was put up for auction. In August, 2005 the depot was reloacated to Fiddler's Grove, the collection of historic local buildings on the Wilson County Fairgrounds. One year later after extensive renovations it was dedicated. Today, fairgoers can walk inside and see train memorabilia as well as a model railroad display.

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