Tarheel Press is proud to announce The Railroads of Johnson City, available for shipping now. At more than 200 pages, with dozens of rare photographs and timetables, this book is an excellent companion to the acclaimed "Along the ET&WNC" series.
The population and industrial base which began in East Tennessee in an area known as Johnson's Depot would eventually grow into a region that helped spur the growth of three railroads, each with its own distinct flavor that would characterize railroading in the south. The first line to arrive, the East Tennessee & Virginia was the first line into the area and served faithfully throughout the Civil War in a region that was torn heavily between Confederate and pro-Union sentiment. This work examines in detail the early years of one of the most important lines of the Southern Confederacy.
The end of the war brought reconstruction and the possibility of further railroad growth. The East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad was founded by local businessmen, and attempted to build a broad gauge railroad to the Cranberry Mines in North Carolina. Using a lot of government credit instead of stock subscriptions to pay for construction, the company failed long before the job was completed. Northern industrialists completed the line, which later became nationally known as "The Tweetsie".
The abundance of natural resources in the area led to the creation of the Charleston, Cincinnati, & Chicago Railroad, known widely as the Three Cs, which was going to build a line through the Appalachian mountains to connect the Southeast with the Midwest. While this company failed to complete the work, later owners were able to complete the line to the coal fields that became known as the Clinchfield Railroad. The trials of construction, as seen from the perspective of the people of Johnson City, is told here for the first time.
Other railroads are also covered, including the Embreeville Branch and the Johnson City trolley system. The businesses that were going to make Johnson City a metropolis in 1891 are covered, including the Carnegie Hotel. A detailed look at the life and times of Henry Johnson, founder of the town, rounds out this early history of Johnson City.