The Terminal Station seemed destined for the similar fate of Union Station (parts of which were built before the Civil War) at the center of town, which was demolished in 1973. But Terminal Station was saved from the wrecking ball by a group of local businessmen who were inspired by the theme of the "Chattanooga Choo Choo." They invested $4 million before its new grand opening on April 11, 1973, and the beautiful Terminal Station once again opened its doors to welcome visitors to Chattanooga - this time as a unique vacation complex. With its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel is considered one of the city's first historic preservation projects.
The terminal's dome room was converted into a huge dining hall. The area that once housed the baggage room became the "Station House," a restaurant with singing waiters and waitresses. A trolley car traveled the tracks behind the station, and retail shops opened along formal gardens in the former rail concourse. Authentic sleeper cars, once a refuge for wealthy travelers, were lavishly furnished as unique sleeping quarters. A hotel and convention center completed the complex.
In 1989, a group of Chattanooga investors, known as Choo Choo Partners, Ltd., brought new management and invested another $4 million+ dollars in renovations to the complex. The Chattanooga Choo Choo Historic Hotel, famous in history and song, is now a magnificently restored structure for all to enjoy. Today there is again the bustle that was so familiar in the railroad days.