depot1

Memphis & Ohio Railroad Depot
S. Washington Ave. at Margin St.

In 1846, Brownsville began building a narrow-gauge railroad connecting Brownsville to cities to the east and west. Ten years later, the Memphis and Ohio Railroad was constructed through town, taking over the original narrow-gauge railroads and creating an additional route for transporting goods and passengers. During the Civil War, the line became part of the Federal army’s attempt to resupply occupied Memphis.  Raids by both the Union and Confederate armies were made against the Memphis and Ohio, rendering service spotty at best.

After the war, commercial buildings and factories were most prevalent within the three blocks south of the public square all the way to the depot.  The railroad kept the industry buoyant in the latter half of the 19th century.  The Louisville & Nashville Railroad took over for the Memphis and Ohio and continued service through Brownsville for much of the late19th through the mid-20th century. A new depot was completed in January 1906. The building remained active with passenger carriers through 1968. Once passenger transportation was discontinued in 1968, the depot was razed in 1971.

An attempt to build a railroad between Holly Springs and Cincinnati, called the Holly Springs, Brownsville and Ohio Railroad, was another rail venture in the 1870s that was never completed.

Carnegie Library