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Tullahoma in Coffee County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

A Railroad Town

 
 
A Railroad Town Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 1, 2021
1. A Railroad Town Marker
Inscription.  Tullahoma, chartered in 1852, was laid out by a Town Company along the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad line being built at the time. The street along the railroad was named “Atlantic” perhaps because the railroad made possible an outlet to the Atlantic Seaboard for the agricultural products of Middle Tennessee. Completion of a branch line from Tullahoma to McMinnville in 1855 led to the town becoming an important railroad terminal with train crews and officials making it home. The name, Tullahoma, was formerly used by a town in lower Mississippi, the traditional home of the Choctaw Indian tribe, and is evidently derived from the Choctaw, “Tulla”, meaning “rock” or “metal” and “homa” meaning “red”.

Tullahoma is twelve miles southwest of the Coffee County seat at Manchester and midway between Nashville and Chattanooga. The town is located on the Highland Rim 1070 feet above sea level and is on a ridge separating the Elk and Duck Rivers watersheds. Its elevation, the railroad, and numerous springs in the area contributed to its fame as a health resort in the late
A Railroad Town Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, May 1, 2021
2. A Railroad Town Marker
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19th century. The water was also said to be a perfect base for alcoholic beverages and Tullahoma was a whiskey-making center in pre-Prohibition days. Today, the George Dickel Distillery stands near the site of the old Cascade Distillery. The area's natural area features may be visited at Short Springs State Natural Area located within the northern edge of the city limits.

The Civil War
Tullahoma was a major base for the contending forces during the Civil War. The Confederacy, under General Braxton Bragg, made the town a supply and medical base during the first six months of 1863. In June, the Union Army of the Cumberland, under the command of General William S. Rosecrans, maneuvered Bragg's Army of the Tennessee completely out of Middle Tennessee in the Tullahoma Campaign. After that the railroad became the Union Army's lifeline and massive earthworks were erected to protect it. Today the earthworks are almost gone but the Confederate Cemetery, containing 407 graves, remains to recall the Civil War period.

The city's population was never more than 4,000 until World War II when Camp Forrest, a major armed forces induction center, was located near here, causing the population to jump (temporarily) to 75,000. In 1950 the U.S. Air Force established the Arnold Engineering Development Center, a major aerospace ground test facility, on the Camp
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Forrest site. With the coming of technicians, engineers, and scientists for this and other new industries, the present population has reached about 19,000.

The University of Tennessee Space Institute near here offers post-graduate degrees in engineering and science. Located nearby also is Motlow State Community College which offers Associate degrees in Arts and Science. The Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma displays various versions of the “staggerwing” bi-planes and other Beech aircraft.

Captions:
Top left: The Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad was the first railroad in the state of Tennessee.
Bottom left: Workers constructing the massive wind tunnel at Arnold Engineering Development Center.
Top right: Confederate General Braxton Bragg; Union General William S. Rosecrans
Bottom right: A woman stitching covers on Worth baseballs for the Lannom Manufacturing Company in Tullahoma during World War I.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & SpaceEducationRailroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1852.
 
Location. 35° 21.786′ N, 86° 12.595′ W. Marker is in Tullahoma, Tennessee, in Coffee County. Marker can be reached from NE Atlantic Street north of East
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Lincoln Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is in Caboose Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tullahoma TN 37388, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Red Caboose (here, next to this marker); Fortress Tullahoma (a few steps from this marker); Tullahoma Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Verandah Hotel — RR Depot and Dr. Cowan House (within shouting distance of this marker); Provost Marshall's Headquarters South Jackson Street (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Livery Stable (about 800 feet away); L.D. Hickerson House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Wilson-Crouch (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tullahoma.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 1, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 39 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 1, 2021, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

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May. 13, 2021