The City Foundation
1999 by JWHenson
permission of John W. Henson
The Collegedale Community
(In the 1930s)
During the first 20 years that Southern Junior College was in existence (1916-1936) the Collegedale Community experienced very little growth. The church had been given instruction not to build Adventist ghettos around its institutions and the principle had been rather carefully followed in Collegedale until that time. There were only about 20 residences within a one mile radius of the College, excluding College housing, and about half of those were not Adventist residences.
The occasion that seems to mark the turning point in the growth of the community was the death of M. Don Byrd, Sr. on March 14, 1938. Beginning a few months thereafter the Byrds and Kings began to sell property along Camp Road to the south of the College. It was along Camp Road that the strongest growth in the community started during and after the fall of 1938.
A little remembrance.
M. Don Byrd, Sr. was buried in the Standifer Gap Seventh-day Adventist Cemetery, because there was no Adventist cemetery in the Collegedale area at that time. In the 1930s Camp Road was a narrow gravel lane running south from the College. JWHenson remembers as a 10 year old lad being able to lay down across the road in one very narrow spot with his toes at one edge of the road and his extended arms allowing the fingers to touch the opposite ditch. Two cars were unable to pass on some parts of the road.
Collegedale In 1938
Camp Road (Renamed University Drive about 1996)
In 1938 the College property extended along Camp Road with orchards on both sides south from Apison Pike up to the small branch at the foot of the hill. It continued up the wooded hill to join the Byrd property on both sides of the road. It was strange, but in those days there were no houses on the east side of Camp Road from the College all the way to the High Point Community, just woods, fences and brush.
Surrounded by the College property, on the west side of the road at the foot of the hill, there was one private house lived in by the Rogers family. They had five children Emory, Ray, Rex, Eloise, and Robert. They were related to Olive Rogers Batson Brailey, the daughter of O.H. Rogers of Hattisburg, Mississippi.
Going south from the Rogers the next house was a prefabricated dwelling sitting off the road on top of a rise. It became known as the 'Hilltop House' after W.C. Starkey bought it about 1939. The Artress family lived there and then a Canadian family by the name of Manual. The Manuels had at least two children, Percy, and Ina. The Reiber family lived
Hill Top House
in the upstairs apartment until the Starkeys bought the place. To the north side of the house stood a small woodworking factory that made childrens' toys such as rocking horses and also made racks for drying clothes, lawn chairs and various other wooden items. There was no electricity in the community until 1942 except for the College, and the telephone did not arrive in the community for another ten years.
A little remembrance.
About 1935 three men from the Apison area, Casey Kelso, Jess Hullander, and Jim 'Flipper' Lemons, came to the Artress house and picked up a Mr. Thornberg. Some of the community residents believe that a drunken argument led to the knifing death of Thornberg.
At the top of the rise were two houses belonging to the H. M. and Roetta Fox-Byrd family. M. Don Byrd, Helen, and Don Jr. lived in the first small house and his father and mother lived in the big house that was next door on the south. Down in the valley behind these two houses was the Wren Byrd residence. Hazel Byrd lived there with her children, Ted, Iris, Warren, Vance, and Richard. Rennie (Wren) was seldom home because he was away in prison. He was a brother to M. Don Byrd, Sr..
H. M. Byrd Residence
Just before Standifer Gap Road (about 1/10th mile to the north) was the house and farm that belonged to the Camp Family from which Camp Road got its name. The Harry Z. Ward family later bought the place, and it is still in the family today. The Wards had the following children Eugene, Gerald, and Joyce.
Harry Z. Ward Residence
That was all of the houses that were directly on Camp Road down to Standifer Gap Road. Six houses in all until 1938. All were Adventists except for the Camps.
Prospect Church Road
Prospect Church Road turns east off Camp Road (now called University Drive).
The first house was the Harry H. King residence on the north side of the road. They had moved to Collegedale in 1926 from Madison College. They were originally from Michigan. Ms. King died while they were living in Madison, Tennessee. Their children were Elton, Eleanor, Elmer Richard, Ruby and Ruth. Elton retained the homeplace after his father moved to Florida. He and Corrine Kittle of Mobile, Alabama were married on March 30, 1939 and raised the following children there Eleanor, Sterling, George, and Patricia.
Proceeding along on the north side of the road stood an old house lived in by Ms. Wheeler and two sons, Ira, and Ben.
Down at the curve in the road was the George Longley farm. Mr. Longley died on New Year's day 1940. Their children included F.G., Earl, Gladys, Betty, and EvaLee.
A little remembrance.
Mr. H. H. King owned property that ran along Prospect Church Road and Camp Road. When the county began talking about widening Camp Road, Mr. King called a meeting of all the property owners along the roads. They were to meet in the middle of Camp Road just to the north of the Byrd residences on a Sunday. They all showed up. He said that since he owned more road frontage than the others that he had more property to lose when the road was widened. Therefore he had come up with a plan. He had arrived at an amount that each land owner should pay him based upon their road frontage. He made the request for the funds, but no one offered to pay him, so the matter dropped there.
Moore Road runs west from Camp Road into a cove against White Oak Mountain.
The Roach, Garney Hullander, and G. P. Moore families lived up in the cove along Moore Road.
Tallant Road turns northeast across the railroad tracks from the College.
Going north out of Collegedale on Tallant Road was a farm on the west side of the road. When the depression came the Bank of Ooltewah took over the property. The Roy Sinor family had lived there until Mr. and Ms. J.C. Franzini bought the place. They sold sometime around 1938 after Mr. Franzini's death.
A little remembrance.
On Friday October 7, 1932 Mr. J.C. Franzini caught a ride to Chattanooga with Mr. Jess Tallant. He had a burlap sack full of produce to sell. When they arrived at Central and 11th Street Mr. Franzini got out of the car and continued on foot with his sack to the Farmer's Market on 11th Street. Mr. Tallant continued along to the J.R. Tallant Roofing and Sheet Metal Works at 735 East Main Street, in Chattanooga. When Franzini arrived at the Farmer's Market he swung his sack up on the scales to be weighed and fell dead. He had no identification on him and no one knew who he was. Finally Mr. Arthur Bartlett came along and suggested that they get in touch with Mr. J. R. Tallant to learn who the dead man was. Mr. Coulter of the Coulter Funeral Home drove out to Mr. Tallant's business and asked for identification. Mr. Tallant told Coulter to drive out to Collegedale and inform Ms. Franzini of her husband's death.
On the south side of Tallant Road just beyond the Franzini's and before the Iron Bridge stood the 'Boat House'. It must have been built around 1940, and was called the boat house because each time the Wolftever Creek flooded the lower portion of the house was under water and could only be reached by boat. The Gackenheimers lived there at one time.
Tallant Road continued further east along the creek than it does today, and crossed the Wolftever Creek by an 'Old Iron Bridge' as it was locally called. When the new bridge was built the County sold the Old Iron Bridge to Ralph Lovell of Ooltewah. It sits across Lee Highway from the Honors Course, spanning the stream there by a man made lake.
On the west side past the creek was the house occupied by Ora Morse from Illinois. Later the Morses returned to Illinois and the Lee Frederick family moved in. When they moved, George N. and Myrtle M. Fuller bought the house and moved there with their family. They were the parents of George Virly, Forrest LaVerne, Fred, Georgene, and Glenn.
George Fuller Residence
Henry and Emma Miller lived in the next house out Tallant Road on the west side. They moved to Collegedale in 1930 from Bordon Springs, Alabama. Their children were Lora, Maude, Ronny, Jack, Lucille, Estella, Jess, and Bert.
A two story house stood on the hill behind the Miller's. It was lived in at one time by Ms. Franzini, and later by a family of Stewarts.
Eli Chestnut and family lived on the east side of the road at the top of the hill. They were the parents of Cecil, and Bill. The Chestnut families were some of the earliest residents in the Collegedale and Grindstone Mountain areas. Well back of their house in the woods is the old Chestnut Cemetery with some of the oldest graves in the area.
Back behind the Chestnuts lived Casey Kelso and his mother. After his mother's death the Ambrose Winkler family moved there. The Winklers had come to Collegedale from Bradley County, Tennessee. Their children were Wayne, Lee, Martin, Ernest, Mona, and Bill.
Further along and on the west was the Lee and Dovie Ruth-Lansford Edgmon residence. It was built in 1927 as a single story house. As their family grew Lee added another story
to the house in the 1940s. He was the son of Huse and Carrie Edgemon. Their children were Marilyn Faye, Kathryn, Raymond Clay, Marchie, Virginia, Fred, and Joe. Lee dropped the 'e' from the center of the family name. Being a builder he was very prominent in the growth of the Collegedale Community in the 1940s. He developed Central Drive east off Camp Road during those post war years. In the meadow behind the barn on the old Lee Edgmon property is an old Tallant Cemetery.
The next house was the Ed and Ethel Tallant-Miller residence on the east side of the road. Ed was a farmer and drove the school bus, and Ethel taught first grade at the Ooltewah
Ed Miller House
Elementary School. They were the parents of Dan, Maurice, and Ralph. Their old house burned one night in 1936, and they immediately rebuilt.
Huse Edgemon's House. JWHenson Born Here in 1930
At the corner of Tallant and Edgemon Roads was the Huse and Carrie Edgemon residence. In August 1923 Huse bought a quarter section from Sam Erwin, and in March 1924 he bought another quarter section from the J.D. (John) Chestnuts. They built the house in March of 1927, and moved from Catoosa County, Georgia. Their children were Dessie, Laura, Minnie, Jess, John (Nabe), Lucy, Ollie, and Lee. All of the children were gone from home by the time they moved to Collegedale except Lucy. Huse Edgemon gave the County the right-of-way across his property to build Edgemon Road from Tallant Road to Tucker Road on the west.
A little remembrance.
JWHenson was born in the Huse Edgemon House (his grandfather). His father, grandmother and grandfather died there as did Oliver Ballard, the teen aged son of Dewey Ballard.
Before 1927 an ancient log house sat on the Huse Edgemon property. He had it jacked up in an attempt to change its location, and facing. The logs came apart and fell into rubble. It is said that at one time the Union Civil War soldier Andros Guille had lived there. He lost his nose in the battle of Missionary Ridge and after the war moved his family from Ohio to the southland. He later moved to the top of Grindstone Mountain, and died March 20, 1910. He and Ms. Guille are buried on the mountain with markers. The old house on the mountain was later lived in by the Dewey Ballard family, and finally burned in 1956.
The next house out Tallant Road was Huse Edgemon's Farm Tenant house. Earl and Alma Brown lived there at one time. Earl was a great nephew to Huse Edgemon. Later Joe and Julie McGhee moved into the house. The McGhee's had the following children Robert, Louise, Elizabeth, Mary Ella, and Bill. Still later, the Fugates bought the house.
The Tenant House
At the foot of Grindstone Mountain on the west side of Tallant as the road turns east stood the house of Ed and Leila Chadwick. Ed was a Baptist preacher. Leila was a Haddock before marriage. She was related to Ms. John 'Nabe' (Ella) Edgmon of Cohutta, Georgia. The Chadwicks had a son Willard. Eventually they all moved to Florida and left the house unoccupied. It stood on part of the property belonging to the Grindstone Estates today.
Apison Pike in those days ran through the campus of Southern Junior College, past Camp Road, to the mountain, crossing the tracks at the old Ed Chestnut farm, where the McKee Plant No. 2 is located today.
A little remembrance.
Down by the old 'Yellow House' along the railroad tracks there was an old College shack that had been uninhabited for some time. About 1933 in a Faculty Meeting at the College someone brought up the old house and its possible removal. There was a lot of discussion about what it would cost to tear it down, and the best way to do it. The following Friday the old house caught fire and burned to the ground.
In the next weekly Faculty Meeting the subject of the house came up again. One of the faculty members said, "I saw Brother (W.C.) Starkey come out of the old house just before the fire was discovered." Mr. Starkey told this story to JWHenson in one of his rare moments of story telling but did not implicate himself, except by a hearty laugh.
Traveling west out of Collegedale toward Ooltewah along Apison Pike at the curve of the road as it started around the mountain stood the James and Evangeline Hickman residence. Mr. Hickman was a salesman for the College Broom Factory. They were the parents of Paul, James, Valda, Melvin, and Marvin.
The James Hickman, Sr. House
About half way up the mountain on the right side of the road, clinging precariously to the shoulder of Apison Pike was the house built by the Burdicks. Mr. Burdick was killed in an accident at the College while building a chiminey on the new Hosiery Mill building in 1936. His wife, Ms. Mary Burdick, became a Bible Worker for the Conference. They had a son Gordon. Charlie E. (C.E.) Boynton and family then bought the house and lived there until they built on Camp Road in 1940. The Tom and Mabel Gerber family then bought the house and moved in on April 4, 1941. They lived there until the mid-1950s. Their children were Mildred, Mae, and Allen an adopted son who was nicknamed 'Stump'.
There were no other houses from there to the Ooltewah-Ringgold Road (known as Rabbit Valley Road, or Dry Valley Road in those days).
Going toward Apison on the old Apison Pike there was a two story farm house by the railroad tracks, where the McKee Plant No. 2 now stands. It belonged to the Ed Chestnut family.
Directly across Apison Pike from the James Hickman residence was a country lane crossing a vacant field and going under the railroad tracks to what is now Spalding Drive. There were two houses that sat near the railroad.
The first house was the G.P. Moore residence. When he left the community the place was bought by the Bob and Amy Richey family. The Richeys were related to the Lewin A. and Bertha Lee-Jacobs family. (These Jacobs were not related to the Jacobs who later lived there.) Bertha Jacobs, Amy Richey, Aura East and Ruby Lee were sisters.
The next house was to the east and was inhabited by the Rob A. and Aura East family. They moved to Collegedale from North Carolina about 1936. The East children were Mabel, Kathaleen, and Robert (Bob). Bob is a retired Seventh-day Adventist minister.
Tucker Road was across the railroad tracks to the north of the College. A wooden bridge crossed the Wolftever at that point.
On the west side of the road and up on the side of the mountain sat the stone house of Mr. Jess Tallant and family. Mr. Tallant farmed and had a roofing and blow pipe company at 735 East Main Street in Chattanooga, just next door to the Starkey Printing Company. Their children were Clyde, Hazel, Pauline, Dorothy, Georgia, and J.R..
Continuing to the north on the west side of the road was a small three room shack. It had been built for a sawmill crew to live in while they were cutting the timber from the Tallant farm. Mr. Ham Howard was cutting the timber for the Tallants. Someone set the woods afire and burned an estimated one million board feet of sawed timber at that time. The three room shack on the Tallant farm was lived in at another time by a Black family, Willie and Ida Ware, and in the mid-1930s by Ed Haynes of Tunnel Hill, Georgia.
On the east side of Tucker Road opposite the Owl's Nest Road stood an old house. It was lived in by the Roy Sinor family and later by Willard and Mary Watkins.
Around the curve going on north was the tenant farm house belonging to Landrum and Dessie Edgemon. Their adopted son Roy and his wife Eunice lived there for some years, before moving to Cohutta, Georgia.
The next house was at the corner of Tucker and Edgemon Road. Landrum and Dessie Edgemon lived there. They were first cousins. She was a daughter of Huse and Carrie
The Landrum Edgemon House
Edgemon. They had the following children Roy, Roby L., Carrie E., Cecil D., and Ila Mae. All of the children died very young except Cecil. He lived into his forties. This was the first house in the community to have running water. It was siphoned by pipe from a spring a quarter of a mile up in the hills to the west.
Owl's Nest Road
Owl's Nest road ran into the cove off Tucker Road.
Mr. and Ms. Joe Tucker had a log cabin at the end of Owl's Nest Road. They used it for their summer residence. Ms. Tucker's sister, a Ms. Tinsley lived with them. The two women were from Birmingham, Alabama and had at one time been on the stage. Mr. Tucker ran a paint manufacturing company in Chattanooga. He mined iron ore from a mine located near his house on Owl's Nest Road. The ore was ground and used as a pigment in red barn paint.
Back of the College
Back of Lynn Wood Hall along what is now a part of the Biology Trail there was an old house that was occupied by the family of Ingrams. I am not sure, but surmise that this dwelling belonged to the College and should not be in this review.
This ends the state of the Community around Southern Junior College as it was in 1938. Now lets take a look at the beginning of the expansion.
The Expansion Begins
In July 1938 following Mr. M.D. Byrd's death, Lucy Edgemon-Henson bought about twenty acres of land from his widow, Helen Byrd; fifteen on the east side and five acres on the west side of Camp Road adjoining the College property. In later years as the growth continued and as the land was better surveyed it was found that Ms. Henson had seven acres on the west side of the road where she had built her house.
Lucy Henson's House on Camp Road
She immediately began to build on the west side. Mr. Elmer E. Williams and two of his sons, Russell and Mark, were the builders, with Lee and Landrum Edgemon overseeing the work. There was the house plus a freestanding two car garage, a chicken house, a barn in the valley and an outdoor privy built by the WPA. A well was drilled to the depth of 65 feet by Mr. Lum Smith of Ringgold, Georgia. The house had a basement apartment. A family of Canadians, the Raffertys, were the first to live there.
The house was completed and she and her seven year old son, J.W., moved in on Saturday night September 17, 1938. The moving was done in Dewey Ballard's large, dirty coal truck with the assistance of Lee Edgmon. Ms. Henson married J. Will Henson on January 5, 1930. He died on June 7, 1931 just 18 months later.
A little remembrance.
Ms. Henson soon sold off the lots on the east side of the road, and new houses began to spring up all along. These lots furnished wood to heat and cook with in the early years that Ms. Henson lived in this wilderness. The expansion between 1938 and 1942 was on the east side of Camp Road, with one exception, and that was Helen Byrd who built a house in 1939 on the west side and south of the other two Byrd homes. Oldtimers liked their houses facing east with large porches on the front and south sides. There was no air conditioning in those days and this provided maximum cooling during the torrid days of summer.
The lot directly across the road from Ms. Henson's house was sold to Ms. Mary Dietel. She did not build right away on this lot except for a small one room log cabin a couple hundred yards back into the woods. It was a weekend retreat and furnished in a very homey manner. Ms. Dietel taught at the College for many years, and had a daughter Margarita who married Houston Marriman. Mr. Gerald Boynton later built the house out by the road. There was a small rental apartment in the dwelling. Early telephone lines were run from the College to Ms. Dietel's house because she was on the faculty. The neighbors would occasionally drop in to use the telephone. Its as easy to call London today as it was to call Chattanooga in those days, and long distance service was even more frustrating to say the least.
Mary Dietel Residence
Miss. Ruby Lee built next door to Lucy Henson to the north. The house was built by Gerald Boynton. Miss Lee was raised near McDonald, Tennessee and attended the Southern Training School in Graysville, Tennessee. She was a sister to Ms. Rob (Aura) East, Ms. Bob (Amy) Richey, and Ms. Lewin (Bertha) Jacobs. She was the first Registrar at Southern Jonior College in 1916. After retirement she married a Mr. Carr and they moved to Florida. Miss Lee had access to the College telephone switchboard several years before telephones became available to the community.
Miss. Ruby Lee House
The next house to the south from Ms. Dietel was that of Walter Williams. He was the nurse at the College in those days. They built a lovely two story brick house on their property. They had two children Barbara Elaine and Wally.
Walter Williams Residence
Next to the Williams was built a new house by Elder J.S. James. He was the Editor of the Southern Tidings and had his office in the College Press that stood on campus where Hackman Hall now stands. The James had been missionaries to Burma and were making Collegedale their retirement home. She said that she had traced her lineage back to Mary Queen of Scots. She was very close with their money. The house had a basement apartment, and the first occupants were the Roy L. Sykes family. They moved to
J. S. James House
Collegedale from Paris, Tennessee. The Sykes had the following children Lourine, and Garland. They later moved to Cleveland, Tennessee.
V. O. Lehman House
V.O. (Pop) Lehman built the house south of the James. Mr. Lehman was an electrician. They had the following children Wendolyn (Wendy), Vivian (Viv), Roberts (Blub), Charles (Mook), and Wayne (Stinky).
Ralph Hendershot bought the lot south of the Lehmans and built a small summer cottage on it before later building their home there. The Hendershots were from Hattisburg, Mississippi. They had a son Ralph. Mr. Hendershot was associated for many years with O. D. McKee, the baker.
Ralph Hendershot Home
Drue and Lilly Bowen, from Talowah, Mississippi, where the Bass Memorial Academy is now located, moved to Collegedale in May of 1939. At first they lived in the small M.D. Byrd residence. They bought the property next to the Hendershots and built there. Their children were Thyra, Dewitt, and John Harvey.
Drue Bowen Residence
A few lots further to the south and still on the east side of the road Mr.Charlie E. (C.E.) Boynton and wife Cornelia built late in 1940. They were the parents of Gerald, Paul and Kenneth. They had been missionaries for eight years in Central and South America, but returned to the States because C.E. had contracted a severe case of malaria. Mr. Boynton died on November 17, 1947. Their Camp Road house no longer stands.
This ends the state of things as of 1940. The growth slowed during World War II but in the optimistic post war days construction became rampant. Many families stayed only during the years their children were getting an education and then moved on, but others came and stayed to become the backbone of this vibrant community.
MY THANKS and appreciation to all of the following for their help in sharing memories, furnishing details, reading and correcting this manuscript.
Dewitt Bowen, DDS; Lat Bartlett; Thyra Bowen-Keplinger; J.R. Tallant; Paul Boynton; Lora Miller-Winkler; Corrine King; Fred Fuller; Clyde Lewis; Bob East; Ernest Winkler; A.K. Poe; Mildred Gerber-Ward; Russell Hudgins; City of Collegedale (Bill Magoon); Dr. Edythe Cothren; H.R. Bookout; and June Blue.
Listing the children of the above families does not mean that they all lived at home, or in Collegedale during the decade of the thirties. Some of those listed were married and gone from home, and others were dead when the family moved into the area.