Carroll County

The old NC&St.L Railway roundhouse in Bruceton, which was torn down on April 9, 2019.


Hollow Rock and its sister community of Bruceton used to be pretty important.

A 1903 map of the NC&St.L Railway system

For several generations, there was only one place in the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railway system where the main line branched off into three other lines. That place was in the small Carroll County community of Hollow Rock (and later in the adjacent town of Bruceton).

In Hollow Rock/Bruceton, trains from Nashville met trains from Memphis, trains from Hickman (Ky.) and trains from Paducah (Ky.).

Because of this, the NC&St.L had quite an operation in Hollow Rock/Bruceton, including a large railroad yard, a train shed, a hotel for railroad employees and a roundhouse in which engines could be fixed and maintained. However, the NC&St.L discontinued passenger service in 1952 and merged with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad five years later.

Where the Bruceton Roundhouse used to be

For half a century, about the only thing left to remind us of the railroad era was the aging and neglected roundhouse in Bruceton. However, that was finally torn down on April 9, 2019.

Gordon Browning at a political rally in 1948
PHOTO: TN State Library and Archives

Also in regards to Cannon County: Only one Tennessee governor has a museum named for him. Back when Tennessee’s governor was elected to two-year terms, Gordon Browning was elected three times: in 1936, 1948 and 1950. One of the things that is interesting about Browning’s career is that in 1936 he had the support of “Boss” Ed Crump of Memphis, but in 1948, Crump opposed Browning, but Browning won anyway — signaling an end to Crump’s power in the state.

After he retired from politics Browning spent most of his time in dairy farming. He died in 1976.

Gordon Browning Museum director Jere Cox
shows us around.

Three other tidbits about Browning: He served in the military in both World Wars. He was the first recipient of a driver’s license in Tennessee history. And his Republican opponent in the 1948 gubernatorial election was none other than country music star Roy Acuff!

Click here to go to the Gordon Browning Museum’s web site.

And here’s something else about Carroll County you might find interesting. Most Tennessee counties have one or two school systems. But Carroll County, with a total population of 30,000 people, has SIX school systems — those being Carroll County, South Carroll County, West Carroll County, Huntingdon, McKenzie and Bruceton/Hollow Rock.

The Carroll County Courthouse

This unusual arrangement makes social studies teachers in Carroll County among the more difficult in the state to reach. So if you know a teacher there, please tell her or him about Tennessee History for Kids.