Terminal Station gifted to historical preservation organization to undergo $1 million renovation

Terminal Station gifted to historical preservation organization to undergo $1 million renovation

Chattanooga Choo-Choo owners have announced plans for renovations to the historical Terminal Station.

Choo-Choo Partners will also hand ownership of the dome portion of the station to Cornerstones Inc., Chattanooga’s only nonprofit historical preservation organization.

Cornerstones Inc. will kick off a $1 million fundraising campaign to complete the Terminal Station renovation. Choo-Choo Partners has committed $350,000 to the project.

“This is such an exciting time for historic preservation in Chattanooga,” Cornerstones Inc. Executive Director Ann Gray said. “We are proud to take ownership of this iconic historic property and show by example how historic properties can be saved and restored through a private and public partnership.”

In 1909, Terminal Station replaced the aging Central Depot. Known for its beautiful lobby and the signature grand dome, the station has been visited by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Elvis Presley, William Jennings Bryan and others.

The beautiful grand dome in the lobby of what is now the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. (Photo: London Looks, Flickr)

During its heyday of operations, the station’s 14 tracks moved thousands of people and tons of goods across the country. Chattanooga was the primary travel route from north to south.

A decline in train travel forced the station to close in 1970.

In 1973, a group of local business partners announced plans to reopen the building with a hotel, convention center, shops and restaurants. Terminal Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places the same year.

Choo-Choo Partners acquired Terminal Station in 1989, bringing new management and renovations to the building.

“Terminal Station was built for the public, and it is now going to be returned to the public domain where we believe it should be,” Choo-Choo Partners managing partner Jon Kinsey said. “We are extremely proud of this partnership.”

Cornerstones seeks to “promote the importance of restoring the buildings of our past for today’s use, while bringing together the resources required to effect such change.”

This article appeared on Nooga.com on Jan. 31. 

Amanda Carmichael