Discover Cheatham County 2021 visitors guide

Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail

T he railbed going from Nashville to Clarksville via Ashland City began as the Tennessee Central Railroad, a linkage of the Tennessee Midland, the Tennessee, and Pacific, the Nashville and Knoxville, and the Cincinnati Southern. Its charter was granted in 1893 and the leg to Clarksville began in 1901 when the city council of Nashville, referendums in Cheatham (to provide $50,000) and Montgomery (to provide $100,000) counties authorized the building of the line. The line to Clarksville from Nashville carried lumber, scrap paper, ore, plastic, and brick. It was abandoned by Tennessee Central in 1960, then it was operated by Illinois Central Gulf, then Nashville and Ashland City, then Cheatham Country Rail Authority, then Walking Horse and Eastern Railroad, then McCormick, Ashland City, and Nashville Railroad. About the Cumberland River Bicentennial Trail I n 1992 a group of trail enthusiasts from different places in Middle Tennessee got together to discuss the possibility of turning the railroad bed from Nashville to Clarksville into a trail. The goal of that group was a long trail from Nashville to at least as far north as Land Between the Lakes. At the same time, the Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Ashland City were considering

leasing part of the rail bed and turning it into a trail. These two groups met up by accident at a Greenway conference late in 1993 and starting working on the common goal of making a trail. Ashland City took over the responsibility of developing the 7 miles from downtown to Chapsmansboro Road. The other group formed the Cumberland River Corridor Task Force and worked to develop the entire rail bed, often in conjunction with theAshland City group. Subsequent inquiries by the groups concerning the segment from Nashville toAshland City were discouraged by the County Executive at the time who believed that the railroad would eventually be restored. As of 2004, that segment is active under the ownership of the Cheatham County Rail Authority, operated by Nashville &Western RR. The Town of Ashland City, under Mayor Mary Grey Jenkins, leased the five miles fromMarks Creek (Chapmansboro Road) to the next intersection with Chapmansboro Road (about 4 miles) and about .8 miles beyond that intersection. The city submitted a grant proposal to the Tennessee Department of Transportation to develop the four miles of rail bed fromMarks Creek to Chapmansboro Road. The grant proposal was awarded in 1994 for the amount of $183,750 (including 20%matching


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