Clarksville, Tennessee, Railroad History


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A trio of books about railroads in Clarksville, Tennessee, available at a special exclusive price.


  • The Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad: A History
  • A Brief History of the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad
  • ‘A Faster Means of Locomotion’

List price: $58.97, plus tax and shipping.

The Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad: A History

The Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad is a perfect example of rail lines in the mid-nineteenth century. Chartered in 1852, the line ran from Paris, Tennessee, to the Kentucky state line and connected with two other routes to create a seamless link between Memphis and Louisville. It shortened the travel time between major economic cities, but its ability to make money didn’t match its founders’ aspirations. Its detractors ridiculed the route as “beginning in the woods and ending in a hollow tree.” Following the Civil War, the railroad revitalized the line, only to run out of money and largely fade away. Author Todd DeFeo recounts the fascinating story of a historic line.

A Brief History of the Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad

The Indiana, Alabama & Texas Railroad emerged from a proposal to build a line between Mobile, Alabama, and Evansville, Indiana. Despite its grand plans, the railroad completed only about 30 miles of narrow gauge track from Clarksville, Tennessee, toward Princeton, Kentucky. The Louisville & Nashville Railroad purchased the railroad in 1886 and converted the line to standard gauge. The Louisville & Nashville abandoned the route, later known as the Clarksville & Princeton Branch, in May 1933, relegating it to the history books. Author Todd DeFeo recounts the captivating story of this largely forgotten railroad.

‘A Faster Means of Locomotion’

Clarksville, Tennessee, has a fascinating railroad history. The push for a railroad in the community dates to the 1830s, but it wasn’t until 1852 that the state of Tennessee chartered the Memphis, Clarksville & Louisville Railroad. A street railroad, in one form or another, operated in Clarksville from 1885 until 1928. Mules powered the first cars, and the line later electrified. What is perhaps most interesting about streetcars in the city is the sheer number of companies organized to operate. Considering the history of the city’s street railway system stretches less than a half-century, its history is dizzying.