depot, located at Chase, Alabama, has been restored to an in-use condition with
its waiting room, freight room and agent's office serving as display areas for
various railroad photographs and artifacts depicting railroad history in and of
the North Alabama and South Central Tennessee area. Since the depot served more
than one railroad, that made it a union depot, possibly the smallest existing
union depot in the country. To further complete the depot motif, a signal post
was erected and train order signals were placed atop the pole. Originally, this
signal had a lantern at the top of the post that shown through the lenses. Pity
the person whose duty it was to place and retrieve the lantern. This train order
signal with red and green lenses was only used to signify if the train was to
stop at the depot and receive orders, it did not indicate the position of other
location of the Chase depot is unique in the fact that it is located at a place
where two railroads converge to within a few feet of each other. One line, what
is now Norfolk Southern Railroad, ran between
the cities of Memphis, Tennessee and Chattanooga, Tennessee. The other railroad
ran between Dechard, Tennessee and Gadsden, Alabama (with the help of a ferry
boat that traversed the Tennessee River from Hobbs Island down to Guntersville).
When the ferry was unloaded at Guntersville, the passengers re-boarded the train
and traveled through the towns of Albertville, Boaz and Attalla on their way to
Gadsden. Here the N.C. & St. L. met up with a heavily traveled mainline railroad.
This no doubt made for a very interesting train ride.
When the depot was at it's most active period, this was the
Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway, which later was acquired by L &
N (and ultimately CSX Transportation). The fact
that the Chase depot was located here was no accident or whim. One of the Chase
brothers, who was in the nursery business in the 1880's, was said to have been
traveling through the area by rail and noticed that the spot would make a very
good place on which to locate a nursery and ship his stock via rail in a multitude
of directions. Mr. Chase bought the property and built a depot in the early 1900's
(not the one standing today) and so the Chase depot and the Chase area got its
name. At one time, the Chase Nursery was one of the largest nurseries in the country.
The present Chase depot was also built by the Chase family in 1937. In fact, some
of the wood from the original depot can be seen in the freight room of the present
depot. The Chase depot is leased from Madison County through a long-term lease arrangement.