It started as an experiment to give free shell accounts to my friends, and soon the world. It was my first big project in PHP and first time managing a server with more than a handful of users.
But, of course, people on the internet are dicks. So that didn't last long.
It started out around 2001 or so as a FreeBSD server in my parents' basement, cobbled together using parts from old PCs. It was a screaming 400 MHz Celeron and had about 64 MB of RAM. At the time, I had dreams of making computer games with a friend at the time and using the server as a collaboration platform, but it was more of an excuse to learn command-line *nix (I was dual booting Windows and Mandrake on my desktop).
Time went on, slight upgrades were had, and I eventually went to college. Around Spring Break of freshman year (2006), I got the itch to make a public shell server. I wrote a website in PHP with automatic user provisioning on signups, had an acceptable use policy, and was ready to rock. Eventually due to some abuse (namely IRC bots), I resorted to the SomethingAwful method of "pay me five bucks so I know you're not an asshole." That didn't really stop the abusers, so I shut it down for public access around 2007.
The TerminalUnix website went away shortly after, but I still kept the server around to host my website and for shell accounts for my friends. It eventually moved with me to college in a neat rackmount VA Linux server, and a Compaq Proliant DL360 after that (thanks to Richard Allen). It was FreeBSD up until right before the Proliant, IIRC.
In late 2009, I eventually realized that running a server costs more than $20/month, so I moved it to a Linode VPS and didn't look back. The old Proliant DL360 is still sitting in a closet in my apartment.
It was fun and I learned a lot about the ways of the command line over the years. It's helped me get jobs, so it was totally worth it.