Portions of East Third Street Once Known as Harrison Avenue

Sunday, January 12, 2014 - by Harmon Jolley
Harrison Avenue, as shown on an 1886 map of Chattanooga by Henry Wellge
Harrison Avenue, as shown on an 1886 map of Chattanooga by Henry Wellge
- photo by Curtis Jolley

Several years ago, I was talking by phone with my aunt about the changes taking place at Chattanooga’s riverfront.  She had grown up here, but left to pursue career and family interests.  It had been many years since her last visit to Chattanooga.  She was trying to visualize what I was describing about changes in downtown, then asked me a surprising question: “Well, tell me, does Fourth Street still make that sharp turn over to Third Street at the cemetery?”

The sharp turn is still there, and has been for many years.  Citizen Cemetery is believed to have been established around 1837.  At the time, the site was beyond the original street grid of Chattanooga.  As the city expanded beyond its limit at Georgia Avenue, the route of what we know as Fourth Street had to be interrupted at the cemetery.

An 1886 pictorial map of Chattanooga by Henry Wellge shows that streets had been extended into formerly rural land.  The map may be viewed on the Library of Congress Web site at http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/image-services/jp2.py?data=/home/www/data/gmd/gmd396/g3964/g3964c/pm008940.jp2&res=3.  However, the eastern portion of today’s Fourth Street beyond Georgia Avenue was called Mott Street up to the cemetery, and East Third Street was called Harrison Avenue.

Why was it called Harrison Avenue?  I could not confirm this, but will speculate that this was the route that led to the community of Harrison, which had preceded Chattanooga as the county seat of Hamilton County.   It wasn’t exactly a direct route from Chattanooga to Harrison.  A 1915 county map shows that one would need to travel Harrison Avenue to McNeil Street at Orchard Knob, go to Wilson Street, and then travel on Harrison Pike.  In the same manner, the road to Rossville from Chattanooga wasn’t very straight, either, with a few zigzags from Market Street to Rossville Boulevard.  Railroads impeded your travel by horse, both to Harrison and to Rossville.

There was a short north-south street, Moon Street, which ran from East Fifth Street to the Tennessee River, and marked the start of Harrison Avenue, according to the 1891 city directory.  The addresses in the directory show that the area was a populous downtown neighborhood, one which was removed by the construction of Riverfront Parkway and the Third Street viaduct in the 1970’s.

 In 1891, there was also some manufacturing along Harrison Avenue, such as the East Tennessee Manufacturing Company which made lumber products.  George Gernhardt was one of a few saloon-keepers, and the Houston brothers were among the grocers.

Also in 1891, Harrison Avenue gained a new medical center when the Baroness Erlanger Hospital was completed at 221 Harrison.  Another medical business was established in 1914, when George W. Fillauer, Sr. opened the Red Cross (some sources list Red Star) Pharmacy at 216 Harrison Avenue across from Erlanger.

 Mr. Fillauer had opted not to continue in the footsteps of his German father, grandfather, and great-grandfather by becoming a tanner.  Instead, he moved to the United States and obtained a degree in pharmacy at the Cincinnati branch of the University of Ohio.  He moved to Chattanooga in 1911, and worked at the Live and Let Live Drug Store at Seventh and Market streets (present-day United Way offices).  Mr. Fillauer then borrowed $500, and started his own business, which evolved into the Fillauer Company of today.

The 1920 directory listed addresses on Harrison Avenue from Douglas Street to the Southern Railway line.  At O’Neal Street and Harrison Avenue was Andrews Field, where Chattanooga’s baseball team played before the construction of Engel Stadium in 1930.  The directory of 1930 noted that Harrison Avenue was now called East Third Street, and some renumbering of addresses had also taken place in order to align with the downtown numbering.

Today, Third Street extends from downtown to slightly beyond Glenwood Drive at Missionary Ridge.   I’m glad that city leaders of years past simplified those street names, lest anyone become lost.   We still have some confusing routes with multiple names along the way.

If you have any information on Harrison Avenue and its connection to the route between Chattanooga and Harrison, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.

The beginnings of Fillauer LLC, listed in the 1915 city directory alongside the Red Food Stores, long a grocery in this area
The beginnings of Fillauer LLC, listed in the 1915 city directory alongside the Red Food Stores, long a grocery in this area

Chester Martin Remembers Ann Hoge Kelly And How Her Family Survived WWII

First, a brief introduction: Ann Hoge Kelly has been well known as a n Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics in both Savannah, Ga., and Chattanooga for many years. (She has had one of those famous free Mary Kay cars for 36 years!) Her father, R. Ted Hoge, Sr., died in December, 1948 - at age 48 - while she was still unmarried and in her teens. Her brother, Ted ... (click for more)

Chester Martin Remembers Dr. Hal McAlister, Astronomer

Several years ago Southern California was all ablaze - again. This latest forest fire episode only got my attention because the famed Mt. Wilson Observatory was directly in the flames' path! As a one-time amateur astronomer I was immediately caught up in the significance of this story and followed it closely. It was only on the very edge of my memory that I recalled that Dr. Harold ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (5)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

I can never remember a day in July when my garden, my lawn, my dogwood tree, and my ferns are all wilting for lack of rain. Right now we are more than eight inches under our average rainfall for the first six months and, on this wonderful weekend, those who love firecrackers are urged to keep a pail of water in case a spark could cause a fire. On the other hand, every July 4 th ... (click for more)