The auto in the photo appears to be a 1939 Pontiac Sedan. At the time of this photo, there were separate entrances and separate waiting rooms for black and white passengers. The train is headed down one of the longest railroad grades in the U.S. to Normandy and thence to Nashville. Note the water tower in the background and the stores on Northwest Atlantic Street on the left. There is snow which is rare in Tullahoma.

"The actual settlement of the city (Normandy) was brought about by the route of the Nashville arid Chattanooga Railroad in 1852. The State of Tennessee had granted the railroad what is known as a "charter right of way." .

This meant that the land owners granted the railroad the right to build a track across their land without a deed or without the 'railroad actually buying it. The right of way vas two hundred feet wide, one hundred feet on each side from the center line of the tracks.

There was a lot of excitement about the railioad in this part of the county and everyone figured that the tracks would pass through the flourishing village of Rowesville. Such was the essential need for a railroad in the. community for it to prosper commercially. The tracks could very well have gone through Rowesville if it were not for the natural condition of its location.

This southeastern part of Bedford County lay at about where the transitional zone between the Central Basin and Highland Rim began, and a better grade had to be found. Col. James H. Grant, president of the. board of civil engineers for the railroad made several surveys and drawings west of Normandy in the Rowesville area and: several surveys east of the present site of Normandy.

However, one ultimate grade that sparked Col. Grant's engineering imagination arid the only one that could .be used was the grade through the Normandy valley otherwise known as the "Seven mile grade" to Tullahoma. This was and still is the only grade that can be used to the Cumberland Plateau."

RLY NOTE: Rowesville was located about 2 and 1/2 miles west of Normandy on Shipmans Creek. It is believed that it was founded by a Dr. Rowe in 1831 and became a thriving village. Normandy was founded in 1852 as a result of the L & C railaroad routing and a few years later, Rowesville was abandoned.
(This information is from the Bedford County Historical Journal Volume 1, Number 2, page 60, "Historic Normandy" by Jerry Wayne Cook and Bedford County Family History Book, Page 63 re Rowesville.)

From Don Merritt local archeologist.
"I have been thru that county many times and will briefly visit a friend there on Shippman's Creek this afternoon on my way to Nashville.
The "Rowesville" store footstone is still there even though the sign on the highway says "Roseville" -- they were not very historical!
It was an important early settlement in the county. And that was an excellent secondary reference for the RR layout which I wondered at everytime I have driven by it.
I dare to say, that that little town on Norman Creek and its RR passage made, in many ways, what Tullahoma is today.
A year or so ago I communicated briefly with a Dr. Burr here in town somewhere who said that he and a couple of other people were working on a book about the history of the RR, of which this should be prime material. I never heard back from him, and I don't remember whom else he mentioned. But I wonder if those guys are still around and working on the RR piece?

The star is the location of the village of Rowesville.

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