Virginia Murphy fought to preserve the Spring City Depot Station as a historic Landmark.
When a train roars by the old Spring City Depot, the windows rattle, and the floor shakes. But if it hadn’t been for Mrs. Virginia Murphy, the trains would be running past a vacant lot today.
Mrs. Virginia Murphy, who was the executive secretary for the Spring City Chamber of Commerce, once stated that she was dismayed when we were notified in December 1966 that the railroad station depot was to be closed and that the town’s most historic site faced the possibility of destruction. Mrs. Murphy made up her mind to try to save the landmark.
Mrs. Murphy took up the matter with the public service commission and a public hearing was set for early 1967 in Nashville, TN.
They postponed the hearing several times and railroad officials from Washington, D.C., Cincinnati, Ohio, and Somerset, Kentucky, visited Mrs. Murphy several times, pressuring her to give up.
Once again, the hearing was rescheduled, and Mrs. Murphy campaigned to get the hearing held at nearby Watts Bar so the local citizens could attend. The railroad had continued to push to get the whole matter dropped. However, Mrs. Murphy’s persisted in her effort to save the depot. She wrote a series of articles for the local newspapers about the depot. The hearts of the Spring City citizens were full of sentiment for the landmark.
The railroad attempted to make their case by stating they were losing money by keeping the station open. Mrs. Murphy obtained copies of rail shipping receipts from local industries showing how much the railroad had actually gained from Spring City.
Finally, on May 1, 1967, the Southern Railroad notified Spring City that the matter had been dismissed without prejudice. The last freight stop at the depot was made in 1971. Negotiations were made and the city then leased the depot from the railroad company for $100 per year.
The Rhea County Quarterly Commission gave Spring City $3,000 in revenue for the renovation of the depot, and the Hamilton National Bank agreed to landscape the lot and a fence was built around the station to protect it. The birthplace of Spring City continues to stand today as a monument, not only to progress and industry but also to represent a community’s determination and spirit to preserve their past.
Below is pictured the Depot Station as it appears in 2021
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