In August of 2014, the Carthage Junction Depot was donated by KFC/Taco Bell to Smith County. If the county could organize the funds and location to move the building, the building would be saved from demolition. Bill Woodard, Smith County Chamber Director, organized a group of community members to Save the Depot. Over a period of three short months this committee raised over $18,000 to move the structure. This money was raised solely by private donations, no taxpayer dollars.

The cost to move the structure was $13,350 with some additional funds to prepare the building for the move costing around $3,600.

Total monies raised including the donations for moving the structure are just under $30,000. Materials have been donated by Rackley Roofing Company for the new roof totaling approximately $20,000. Additional materials have been donated including paint totaling up to $10,000.

Additional donations have included the purchase of signage to be installed upon completion by the Smith County Leadership Class of 2016.

Costs to the Depot account have been for lumber and supplies, paint removal, trash removal, and expenses for fundraisers such as the Polar Express 5k.

The Carthage Junction Depot received a $5,800 grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission in 2015 for lighting, exterior primer, and gallery lighting for the back room to house local artwork. These materials have been purchased and are being stored at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2016, the county received a $50,000 Tourism Enhancement Grant to complete renovations on the structure. This grant has recently been extended to the fall of 2018. Once this grant was received, the committee started working to find a contractor to complete the renovations. In multiple talks with multiple contractors, no one was willing to bid on the structure. Understandably so, due to the booming housing market. One sub-contractor agreed to working on the project, but never showed up for the job. We finally talked to someone interested in working on the project, and he began work in November of 2017. He completely gutted the inside of the building, completed replacing the floor joists and sub-floor, began insulating the building, and securing the framework.

We are currently waiting on windows to be delivered. This process took much longer than expected. Bonnell Aluminum is donating the aluminum for these windows to be made by one of their customers. The only thing we will have to pay for is the assembly of the windows. Once we have the windows in hand, we can run electric and HVAC for the building. After the building is dried in, we can paint and complete the structure.

Any project that involves donations leaves you at the mercy of those donating. The process for this mixed with contractors not willing to work on this project have led to a very slow renovation time.

Immediate needs for the structure are an electrician, HVAC, painters, decking material and insulation, and landscaping.

Plans for the area include the completion of the original structure with a wrap-around deck; an accessory structure to house restrooms, kitchen space, and a vendor space for kayak and canoe rentals; and a completed kayak and canoe access point on the Caney Fork River.

The current balance in the Save the Depot Account, housed through Smith County Living, Inc., (a 501c3) is just under $12,000. $10,000 is designated for a percentage of the match to the Tourism Grant. The county will match an additional $5,000. Funds for the Tourism grant are being ran through the county and the grant is being managed through the Upper Cumberland Development District. To date the grant funds ($50,000) have not been requested but are planned to be used in 2018.

The Depot committee meets monthly to discuss any possible action that can be taken and to be updated on the progress to that time.  Monthly Depot Committee meeting are open to any interested parties, dates for the meetings can be found on the Smith County Chamber of Commerce’s website. If you need any further information you may call or drop by the Smith County Chamber of Commerce.  Contact 615-735-2093 or visit