Chickamauga, Tennessee - Part 3 of 3

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - by Chuck Hamilton

Post-Civil War developments

 Like everywhere that the War Between the States had touched, the Hamilton County area needed time to recover, and Chickamauga, Tennessee was no exception.

 Concord and Chickamauga Baptist Churches were rebuilt in 1869, the first in its former location and the second back on the east side of the South Chickamauga at Thrower Springs, in the neighborhood then called Flint Hill.

  The formerly thriving community of Boyce had been entirely destroyed by the war.

 Two years before, in 1967, a new church had been built in the village of Chickamauga (as opposed to the wider community) called Chickamauga Chapel Baptist.  Chickamauga remained the name of the station and of the post office it housed.

 In 1871, greater Chickamauga, Tennessee became the easternmost section of Hamilton County when everything to the east seceded (legally) as James County.  The new county line fell just west of Summit and at the state-line came to Blackwell’s Ford just west of Graysville, Georgia, which gave it a sliver of Concord.

 The previous year the county seat had been moved from Harrison to Chattanooga, and the former seat went with the new county hoping to retain its status.  Unfortunately that town, the citizens of James County chose the town of Ooltewah as its seat.

 After the war, John D. Gray had returned to Graysville and rebuilt many of his industries, including Gray’s Mill.  Soon, the community and the neighboring Concord thrived.  To be closer to its congregation, the members of Blackwell’s Chapel moved to the town and became Graysville Methodist in 1873.

 In 1876, Chickamauga Cumberland Presbyterian changed its name to Pleasant Grove in order to match that of the school which had been meeting there for the previous two years.

 Concord community had maintained school in its building since it first met as an unorganized congregation in 1838.  In 1878, the county established a school on the property of Dr. Mackey, which became known as Mackie School.

 House’s Chapel moved to its present location and became Tyner Methodist in 1880.

 Though the region had lost Boyce Station during the war, the East Tennessee, Virginia, & Georgia Railway had established Jersey Station couple of miles west of Tyner at about the place where Jersey Pike crosses the tracks.  The land was purchased from the estate of Capt. C.S. Peak named Bonny Oaks.  Sometime later the same railroad built McCarty Station on the west bank of the South Chickamauga at the end of its bridge near Lightfoot’s Mill.

 West of the South Chickamauga along Bird’s Mill Road, communities grew up around the Sunnyside farm of Judge R.B. Cooke, the Belvoir farm of Col. W.R. Crabtree, and the Dutchtown dairy of Jacob Kellerhals.  Towards the end of the 19th century, a village grew up just north of these called Hornville.

 The general Chickamauga area acquired its first Episcopal parish when Grace Church was organized at its current location in 1885. 

 The Flint Hill School which Chickamauga Baptist was sharing quarters with burned down in 1888, and the church began meeting in Kings Point School.  The Kings Point village had just recently been built by John King, owner of the Toqua plantation on the east bank of the South Chickamauga across from the Amnicola plantation of the Crutchfield family.  Chickamauga Baptist now served both communities of Kings Point and Jersey.

 Walnut Grove School, direct antecedent of the modern East Brainerd School, began classes at its original location on what’s now South Gunbarrel Road in 1889.  In the same year, Pleasant Grove Cumberland Presbyterian got a close neighbor with the founding of Silverdale Baptist.

 The year 1890 was pivotal for the Chattanooga region and for the wider Chickamauga community of Hamilton County.  In that year, a bilateral group of Union and Confederate veterans obtained a charter for a national military park at the battlefield in Walker County upon which so many from both sides died 19-20 September 1863.  Since Union veterans from the Society of the Army of the Cumberland had taken the lead, it became Chickamauga Battlefield, which has a better ring than Mud Flats.

 In 1891, the Chattanooga, Rome, & Columbus Railroad built a station near the small village of Crawfish Springs which it named Chickamauga, despite the much older like-named station still operating on what was by then the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railroad.  At the same time, the village of Crawfish Springs incorporated itself as Chickamauga, Georgia.

 A railroad engineer named W.T. Worley, who lived in Concord community in a house he named Worleyanna where the old tavern had stood, laid out the streets for a new village near Ellis’ Crossing in 1897 as well as a post office and whistle-stop on the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis railway.  Both took his name, in the form of Whorley, as did the local Masonic lodge organized at Concord Baptist.  Whorley Lodge survived much longer.

 Though the original Chickamauga Station continued operating under that name well into the 20th century, its post office changed its name to Shepherd P.O. in 1898. 

 In that year, the residents of Lizard Lope east of Concord frustrated with the distance to Walnut Grove School, which had replaced more centrally-located Mackie School, started Morris Hill School, so named for the family which donated the land.

 The following year, 1899, Chickamauga Baptist moved out of Kings Point School to a new home at the corner of Harrison Turnpike and Shot Hollow Road.  At the other end of the latter road, close to its intersection with the road between Tyner and Harrison, an African-American farming community had grown up under the name Shot Hollow.

 On Hickory Valley Road north of Chattanooga-Cleveland Pike (now Bonny Oaks Drive), lay another African-American community called Hawkinsville.  Directly north of Shot Hollow, along the Tennessee River, was the incorporated African-American town of Turkey Foot, which had its own churches, businesses, town hall, and public school.  The land upon which Turkey Foot was built had previously been owned by the Shepherds of Altamede.

 The 20th century

 At the dawn of the 20th century, Jim Crow was in full force across the South, and school segregation was the law in Tennessee.  Turkey Foot School was strictly for African-American children.  For white children, there were Walnut Grove, Morris Hill, Kings Point, Tyner, Silverdale, Kings Point, and Jersey Schools, most of them one-room.

 In 1902, Chickamauga Station Baptist became Chickamauga Chapel Baptist.

 African-American children in the greater Chickamauga community gained another venue for their education in 1904 when Chickamauga School was established nearby the rail station.

 The region’s first secondary school was Tyner High, built on top of one of Cleburne’s redoubts in 1906.  It added 7th and 8th grades in 1932.

 In 1908, Chickamauga Chapel became Shepherd Baptist.

 A Baptist congregation began meeting in Morris Hill School in 1909.  That same year, the residents of Hornville adopted the name Eastdale.

 Morris Hill Baptist moved into its own building in 1914.  The school moved east down Parker’s Gap Road to become West View School, across from the Cumberland Presbyterian church.

 The African-American community of Hawkinsville organized a congregation of the Missionary Baptist Church in 1910.  Hawkinsville’s children attended Chickamauga School.

 In 1912, William T. Walker donated a plot of land across Bird’s Mill Road from his home where Heritage Funeral home is now for a new building for Walnut Grove School.

 Dixie Highway, the most significant development in land transportation to arrive since the railroads, opened up in 1915.  A community quickly grew up along the stretch of the road between Missionary Ridge and the state-line along its route, formerly a stage road known as Ringgold Road.  In 1921, residents of Smoky Row, Nickel Street, Penny Row and the southern end of Dutchtown incorporated as East Ridge.

 Two years previously, 1919, James County went bankrupt and folded back into Hamilton County.  Its last courthouse, built in 1913, still stands in Ooltewah.

 In 1922, another major automobile route came through the area as Robert E. Lee Highway.

 Shot Hollow community, whose children had been attending Turkey Foot School, finally received its own educational facility in 1924, when Booker T. Washington School was built.

 Sunnyside, Belvoir, and the  northern end of Dutchtown communities organized themselves into a single unit in 1926, which they named Brainerd and included the old mission.  It boundaries were defined as Missionary Ridge, South Chickamauga Creek, Eastdale, and East Ridge.   Bird’s Mill Road adopted the name of the new community, adding the prefix East on the other side of the creek.

 In 1927, Chickamauga Baptist became Oakwood Baptist and Shot Hollow Road became Oakwood Drive.

 Walnut Grove School immediately adopted the new name of the road running through its community and became East Brainerd School.  The side road next to it retained the name Walnut Grove Road until 1968, when it became North Joiner.

 Across the tracks from Chickamauga Station, Lovell Field airport opened in 1930 to replace the much smaller Marr Field in East Chattanooga.

 The same year Pleasant Grove church became Silverdale Cumberland Presbyterian.

 Also in 1930, Booker T. Washington added a separate high school, which also took in pupils from Turkey Foot and Chickamauga Schools.  Four years later in 1934, a single building housed both the elementary and high schools.

 It was in the 1930’s that Brainerd Height development was built atop Whorley village as well as Wrinkletown across Lee Highway.

 Tyner and Silverdale Schools were consolidated in 1937 as Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, as were the Kings Point and Jersey Schools as Kings Point-Jersey Elementary.

 The town of Turkey Foot was lost to the dam constructed by the TVA which closed its gates in 1940.  Also in 1940, the U.S. Army removed the community of Hawkinsville and the main part of the village of Tyner (north of the railroad) to make room for its TNT plant.  Hawkinsville relocated to Pinewood Drive and Kelley Road.  Tyner residents moved either slightly to the south or eastward to Silverdale.

 In 1948, Kings Point-Jersey moved into a new building as Hillcrest Elementary.

 Louisville & Nashville Railroad, which had a controlling interest in Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis since 1880, closed several of its local stations in the mid- 20th century.  In 1955, it shut down Chickamauga Station.

 Shepherd P.O. likewise closed and its operations transferred to Chattanooga.  Chattanooga P.O. opened a branch in the newly built Brainerd Hills Shopping Center and named it Chickamauga Station on the advice of a later postmaster.

 Also in 1955, Oakwood Baptist moved to its current location on Bonny Oaks Drive.

 Booker T. Washington, whose community had by now taken on the name Washington Heights, moved into a brand new building in 1958, the current Washington Alternative School.

 Due to growth in the nearby area and the construction of Lake Hills and Murray Hills subdivisions, Lakewood Elementary for white students was opened in 1959.

 Desegregation of the schools in both Chattanooga City and Hamilton County (then separate systems) began in 1962 and was, theoretically, complete by 1966.  In the process, the high school at Booker T. Washington was closed and its students transferred  to Central and Tyner.  Its primary  school was integrated, as was the other African-American primary school in the area, Chickamauga Elementary.

 In 1972, Southern Railway shut down Tyner Station.  As was the case with Shepherd P.O., once the rail station closed, so did the post office.

 Postal service from Tyner moved to Chattanooga, which routed its mail through its branch at Chickamauga Station in Brainerd Hills Shopping Center.  Chickamauga Station moved to its current location on East Brainerd Road in 1984.

 Chickamauga Elementary School closed its doors in 1987.

 The branch of Chattanooga Post Office called Chickamauga Station still operates, though its delivery service has been transferred to the Eastgate Postal Center.

 

 (Chuck Hamilton was born and raised in Chattanooga and has lived in East Brainerd since 1967. HeI went to school at East Brainerd Elementary for six years, Tyner Junior for three, Ooltewah High for one, and finished his last two years at Tyner High, graduating in 1981. He went to UTC for four years, getting his B.S. in political science with minors in psychology and history in 1985.  Following graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and did one tour, including two years at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. After getting out, he returned to the Philippines for two more years to work with the U.S. Refugee Program in Morong, Bataan.  Upon returning to the area at the end of 1991, heI became involved with Indian rights, which led him back into renewed interest in local history. He is fluent in Spanish and Vietnamese, and speaks a little French.  The past year he has spent several months in Paris, and the past three years has been heavily involved in supporting the movement for secular democracy and human rights in Iran.
He has been passionately interested in history all his life - local, Tennessee, U.S., world, ancient, etc.  He can be reached natty4bumpo@gmail.com )

 


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