The L&N Railroad was a working railroad running through the Vollintine-Evergreen Community from before the Civil War to 1980.
The route previously extended from downtown Memphis to Raleigh, and beyond to Nashville and Louisville. In its later years, the L&N route solely served the huge Sears Distribution Center at Cleveland Street, which is now the Crosstown Concourse development.
The successor railroad abandoned the L&N Railroad right-of-way in 1980. The route included 1.8 miles in Vollintine-Evergreen. The City of Memphis chose not to purchase the land, and the State of TN did not rail bank land, so the area was left vacant and not maintained. Dumping, litter, and high weeds become commonplace, and it turned into an attractive haven for crime. Adjacent residents were afraid to walk the area because of its "no-man's land" appearance.
The Vollintine-Evergreen community received grant funds from the Pew Charitable Trusts in 1995 to undertake widespread community revitalization. VECA used some of these funds to purchase the abandoned right-of-way on November 11, 1996 and renamed it the V&E Greenline. In 1997, the V&E Greenline became a program of VECA and as such is entitled to the benefits of a not-for-profit, tax-exempt IRS 501(c)(3) organization. A separate neighborhood corporation, the V&E Greenline Community Corporation, owns the land, while maintenance is managed by the V&E Greenline Committee.
The V&E Greenline is now a 1.8 miles trail that extends from near Crosstown Concourse on the west, past Rhodes College in the center, and ends at Springdale Street on the east. This premier natural trail is used for walking, running, dog exercising, leisurely biking, and neighbor interaction. It is used by residents of Vollintine Evergreen and Evergreen historic and other nearby and distant neighborhoods. The trail has two bridges, a Stationhouse with a walkway, an extensive tree canopy of oaks and many other species, and a maintained but natural trail. It has several art sculptures, shade and sun gardens, and wildlife especially near Lick Creek. It is supported by residents and trail users that donate the costs associated with maintenance and it has a large pool of volunteers that manage and maintain the trail. Infrastructure was funded by grants and built with in-kind corporate services and volunteer efforts.
Download a Timeline of the V&E Greenline.