The advertising sections of school yearbooks provide a glimpse into the various businesses that existed each year.
Often, the advertisers are also favorites of the students, since the staff of school publications goes out into the community in search of sponsors. That may have been the case with the Milki-Way Drive-in, which was a supporter of the 1955 Kirkman High School annual.
The Milki-way restaurant was located at 205 Cherokee Boulevard from 1950 to around 1965. That was the golden age of drive-ins of all types – dry cleaners, movies, restaurants, et al. The address was previously that of Furlow-Cate Used Cars.
The city directory listed the eatery as "Milki-way Drive-in" each year, but the Kirkman yearbook ad used the correct spelling of "Milky Way" - wouldn't want to get into trouble with a teacher.
The Milki-way was located in a manufacturing district, with employees of American Lava and Samuel Stamping and Enameling likely being regular customers. Others could walk from their homes in North Chattanooga.
High school students in the Chattanooga school system, such as those from Kirkman, generally rode the Southern Coach bus to and from school using student tokens. The Milki-way was on a bus route, so it may have been a popular spot for teens to congregate after a day of history, biology, and French.
Abe Blacker, who also owned Blacker’s Bargain Store at 46 East Main Street, was the original owner of the Milki-way.
By 1955, Edgeworth B. Hunt became owner of the Milki-way. According to his January 12, 1999 obituary in the Mobile Register and U.S. Census information, Mr. Hunt was born in 1916 in Easley, SC and later moved to Chattanooga. Following his restaurant stint here, he relocated to Mobile, AL where he managed a Gidden & Rester movie theater.
In the mid-1960’s, Mildred Powell opened Mildred’s Drive-in on the site. By 1970, William Langston was operating The Pig House at the same address. As of the 1975 city directory, there was no address of 205 Cherokee Boulevard.
In addition to the reference in the 1955 Kirkman yearbook, the Milki-way is mentioned on a current Web site that lists former local favorites. If you have memories of the Milki-way Drive-in, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will update this article with some of the reader feedback.
Sure, I remember the Mily Way very well. it was the first place I ever drove to when I got my own car.Ate in the car ..great hamburgers and shakes;I also knew the Blacker family very well.I believe Mr.Blacker died about the late fifties,I went there a lot,don't know who took it over,