WATERTOWN, Tenn. — Laying about 45 miles east of Nashville, the first railroad to pass through town was the Nashville and Knoxville Railroad, which opened in 1885.

According to Lowell Afton Bogle’s “The History of Watertown,” the first train to pass through the area was a nine-car passenger train on Dec. 12, 1889.

“The railroad was one of the great developments that made Watertown, as we knew it, possible,” Bogle wrote.

The Nashville and Knoxville Railroad was later integrated into the Tennessee Central Railway, which operated the track through town until Aug. 30, 1968, when the road went under.

“Of the various towns along the route of the Tennessee Central there is none more enterprising than progressive Watertown, with its growing population of 800,” The Chattanooga News wrote of the town on May 3, 1902. “This wide-awake town (transacts) a volume of business that is far in advance of its population and is the distributing point for a widely extended country of great fertility and boundless resources and it is the natural market for the exporting of the products of this region.”

The town’s wood depot was destroyed in a 1923 fire. Three years later, a brick building was opened. The brick building was razed in 1972.

The last passenger train rolled through Watertown in 1955.

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