The community was known as Bell Station before the railroad was built in 1885, but there was a Bell Station in Lee County, and the depot was called Douglas. One building (1) housed the general store, post office and depot. Beside this building was the freight depot (2). A little way up the tracks were four section houses (3) for the men, and their families, who worked on the railroad. Simon Hopper was foreman from the early 1900s until it ceased around 1935. Many cattle and hogs passed over the scales (4) and through the loading pens (4) to be shipped by rail to market. The last person to operate the store, which burned July 10, 1940, was Claude S. Campbell. He and his family lived nearby (5) and next to them was a rental house (6).
Cross and Watts General Store, Bell Station, 1895.
Store and railroad station pictured built in 1885 when railroad was built northwest from Oak Grove. Bell Post Office served this community from March 18, 1887 until September 30, 1908. Merchants were Clarence E. Sallee, Joseph H. Baynham, John H. Dennis, and Henry A. Jenkins. Claude S. Campbell operated the store when it burned July 10, 1940. This site is near Ft. Campbell Army Air Field.
On the north side of the railway was a farm owned by the heirs of C. D. Bell (7) and at one time operated by J. M. Bulter and later Luther Claxton. Next was Mount Herman Church (8) and school (9). Across the road a farm once owned by Tom Pardue (10) who sold to M. J. Spicer, earlier the Elliott Place. By the railroad was the blacksmith shop (I 1), operated for a number of years by A. T. Gray.
Across the tracks was the farm of Jesse Foard (12) purchased from James A. Easton November 1916, formerly the Austin Peay Homestead. The Grange (13) located on this property, at one time very active, did not last long. It was used for other meetings and remained in good condition. On the comer was the Tom Wallace farm (14). Before him the John Morris comer. A large block was owned by the Clardy family, divided (17) (18) (19) and owned by heirs. Cliff Garrott and Mary (Clardy) Garrott (18) owned the farm directly across from the school.
Bell Station School (15) was a one room school with stables (16) behind it. The school census dated April 25, 1892 for the school year ending June 30, 1893, gave eleven families with thirty-five children of school age. On February 6, 1893 C. D. Bell sold for $150 cash one acre of land for the school. Some of the early records have been lost but the term 19261927 shows a census of 39 with 37 enrolled for the seven months, with Mary L. Rose teacher for grades one through eight. Some other neighborhood names shown through the years are; Bagwell, Batts, Hartman, Nuchols, Rives, Steger and Walden. The 1935-1936 term with teacher Ruth Caldwell was the last due to consolidation.
W.R. Ledford (20) purchased his farm from C. 0 ' and Annie L. Wright May 18, 1912. It was a part of the Dr. J. F. Bell homeplace. The dirt road known as the Clardy Highway was known to require six to eight of Will Ledford's choice mules to assist his Buick Touring car and others through the mud holes. Next to Mr. Ledford was the farm and home of Charles A. O'Neal (21), inherited from his father Charles O'Neal. Across the road property conferred to John P. Bell (22) October 1, 1901, part of the Dr. J. F. Bell homeplace and referred to as the Hopkins Brick House Place.
Men of the neighborhood would go to the store to pick up supplies, see if the barrel of sugar house molasses had come in, or any other excuse to gather around the pot-bellied stove and swap tales. When noon came they might have some cheese cut from the hoop, get some crackers from the barrel, or there were sardines, for which Mr. Campbell furnished home made hot pepper sauce. Mr. Campbell knew to enter most in the book.
*Source: Christian County History