ISELIN RAIL YARD
d n english
When people think of railroad history of Jackson many think about Casey Jones. There is so much more than one man, a wreck and a song that glorified the accident.
An important part of that history would be the Iselin Yard and the hundreds of men and a few women that worked for the railroads. For many if your father worked for the railroads his son would be in most cases guaranteed a job. Many of the houses in the neighborhoods downtown were owned by railroad employees.
Let’s focus on the ICG Iselin Rail Yard. It was an 80 Ac.site locatedintersection of Eastern Street and Magnolia Street off
Riverside Dr. The M&O acquired the land in 1906. The in 1925 they began a locomotive maintenance facility structure. Up to that point the main Shop for the M&O was in Illinois but it was destroyed by a tornado in 1925 . The Jackson facility would be state of the art and replace the one that was destroyed in Illinois.
The contract for this facility was let on March 16,1925 for 1.6 million . Six months later it was completed and opened Dec. 1,
1925 servicing locomotives.
The yard consisted of a Locomotive erecting shop, warehouses, material yard, wheel shop, steam locomotive refueling station, coal fired power plant. They provided a building for employees
which contained lockers and showers.
People came from around the county to see the structural steel building being constructed ,watching as the creosote blocks were laid in the building for the floors, next came the bricks and glass that were placed over the massive structure,
For many men all over West Tennessee the yard provided them a good paying job and proud to be keeping the trains in good repair. At the beginning of the Depression there were over 400 men working at Iselin Shop.
At the end of the Depression the M&O merged with Gulf ,Mobil and Northern to become the Gulf, Mobil Ohio. ( there had been reorganization, mergers and receiverships )
Durning the war our soldiers were carried across the by trains to reach their posts. The workers at the Iselin Yard were proud of their part in keeping the trains serviced. They felt like they were doing their part for the country.
GM&O still used the shop in 1951 a fire destroyed the shop . Mr
I.B. Tigrett was President of GM&O at the time of the fire. He personally saw that the shop was rebuilt and that the Iselin Yard stayed opened.Then in 1972 GM&O merged with ICG railroad . Gradually the work at the yard was phased out and the land sold off.
In the history of Madison County and Jackson the Iselin Yard played an important part. The employees of the Yard kept the engines running so goods and passengers were able to be moved across the country. The founded fathers of Jackson and Madison Co were able to see the importance of the railways. The dedication and hard work of these men helped make this country what it is today.
The rest of the story
In 1986, Williams Steel Company purchased a large part of the site and used the area as a steel fabrication facility until 1989.
In 1989, Iselin Properties, Inc., assumed ownership of the Williams Steel Company property. ICG Railroad sold the remaining portion of the site property to the Southern Railway Company (which became Norfolk Southern in 1988).
In 1990 and 1991, the Tennessee Division of Remediation (TDOR) found contaminated soil and groundwater. Further investigations by TDOR and EPA determined that improper handling of storage tanks, fueling stations and disposal areas on site resulted in lead contamination of soil and groundwater
The site became a part of the EPA project to clean up the contamination.