The Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) has served the greater Northwest Tennessee in continuing education since 1965. TCAT is a public college system with more than 27 campuses throughout the state. It is overseen and operated by the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of two systems of public higher education in the state, which supervises all public community and technical colleges. TCAT has seen many students come in and out of its doors, many of whom have gone on to be professional workers in their chosen area of study.
TCAT McKenzie, once known as the State Vocational Technical School, has an extension facility specializing in trade courses in the Adult Education Facility in Dresden. Charles Anderson of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee attended the school in 1971 and graduated as a mechanical draftsman. Anderson was then invited to be a guest-speaker at McKenzie TCAT’s spring graduation in 2019.
In an effort to bolster community and county pride, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee is working to restore and rework a caboose, donated to the committee by CSX Railroad. To do this work, they have enlisted TCAT Dresden’s welding class to perform the metal work. The class is led by instructor Jeremy Tucker. Gleason plans a complete renovation of the caboose, which will be then used as a mini-museum for Gleason artifacts. It will also be used as a gathering place for small events and presentations. Donations for supplies needed to restore and personalize the caboose, which will be a fixture in Snider Park, can be made at Gleason City Hall.
Gleason, has a long history of being a railroad town. In the early 1900s, Gleason boasted a passenger rail service and three hotels. In 2020, they maintain a rail service still, with their main commerce service being clay from Gleason’s four successful clay companies. The caboose was chosen to commemorate Gleason’s 100 years of railroad service.