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

Roosevelt Cabin Restoration Nearly Complete at Berry College

Through the historical preservation of buildings, Berry College in Rome, Georgia has been able to keep its rich history alive. Most recently the Roosevelt Cabin, one of the oldest buildings on the main campus, has been in the final stages of restoration and preservation. The cabin earned its name after former President Theodore Roosevelt had lunch there during his visit ... (click for more)

History Center Presents Homeschool Workshop on American History

The Chattanooga History Center will present a special class for homeschoolers on American History. Senior Educator Caroline Sunderland will cover American history from native civilizations to the American Civil War by interacting with artifacts in the CHC collection and stories from Chattanoogans. The class is in accordance with the Tennessee Department of Education Standards. ... (click for more)

Several Sections Of Chattanooga Freeway To Be Closed Thursday Night, Early Friday For Median Repair

Several sections of Chattanooga freeways will be completely closed Thursday night and early Friday for median repairs. TDOT Operations crews will be performing an emergency repair of a damaged median barrier wall on I-24 East at mile marker 178 on Thursday from 8 p.m. to Friday at 6 a.m. I-24 East will be completely closed at the high bridge at mile marker 178 beginning at ... (click for more)

Young Man Involved In Incident That Led To A Murder Gets Diversion, Praise For Testifying

A young man who was involved in an incident that led to a murder has been given diversion and praised for testifying against co-defendants. Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman said a conviction for facilitation of an aggravated robbery can be expunged if Dustin Hayes gets in no further trouble for six years. The judge said, "We wouldn't be dealing with 40 shootings a year ... (click for more)

The Silence Is Deafening - And Response

In this week’s news cycle we have the international uproar over the killing of Cecil the lion. In the same time most national news outlet refuse to even mention the undercover videos of so call doctors and technicians discussing the harvesting, processing and sale of human baby body parts.  The argument by those liberal, progressive Democrats has been that the “fetus” was ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Palmer, You’re Toast

America is absolutely furious! By 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon there were 36,000 people who had petitioned the White House to extradite Walter Palmer, who is today the most despised man in all of North America. On the Yelp.com website, that promotes his dentistry business in Eden Prairie, Minn, over 6,000 had posted violent, vulgar and vicious notes and, for the record, 60 of them ... (click for more)