Remembering Bert Brown Ford's Twenty-five Years in Business

Once a Landmark along Rossville Boulevard

Thursday, June 19, 2014
Top half of advertisement in the 1965 Chattanooga Sesquicentennial program, with a picture of the newly-introduced Ford Mustang
Top half of advertisement in the 1965 Chattanooga Sesquicentennial program, with a picture of the newly-introduced Ford Mustang

Rossville Boulevard has long been the address of several used car dealers.    Some names have disappeared, along with the buildings, while other businesses have rolled into the area.   The boulevard also was once the home of dealers selling new Chryslers, Datsuns, Plymouths, and Volvos (and other brands).  Down at the 4509 address for twenty-five years was Bert Brown Ford.

Bert Hillis Brown opened his dealership in 1952.  At the time, the surrounding East Lake and Rossville communities had several manufacturers and neighborhoods where employees lived.   Many of the families became customers at Bert Brown Ford.

The Ford lineup of 1952 offered variations of the base model car, including the Mainline, Customline, Sunliner, and Victoria.  There was a station wagon called the Country Squire, and the always popular Ford pickup truck.

According to a June 19, 1977 Chattanooga News-Free Press interview, Bert Brown won Ford’s Distinguished Achievement Award in his first year in business.   He went on to receive a total of twelve of the awards.

Bert Brown was active in Rossville civic associations, and believed in getting involved.   He was member of the Rossville Kiwanis Club, and served as its president.  Walker County Schools gave him an award for doing the most for the system during the 1962/1963 session.   He worked with the Rossville Development Corporation to revive the area after the closing of the Peerless mill.

Over the course of Bert Brown Ford’s history, the Ford Motor Company increased the number of car models offered.  The sizes, features, and prices targeted different types of buyers.   Over the years that Bert Brown Ford was in business, some of the popular models introduced were the Thunderbird, Falcon, Fairlane, Galaxie, Torino, Maverick, and Pinto (popular before its infamous gas tank design issue was publicized).  Oh, and one called the Mustang, which is still with us today.

After reaching twenty-five years at his Ford dealership, Bert Brown sold the franchise to Marshal Mize.   This was announced in the October 4, 1977 News-Free Press.  The next year, Marshal Mize built a new facility in Hixson on Highway 153, and is still in business today.

Bert Brown passed away in 2002.

If you have memories of Bert Brown or his Ford dealership, please send me an e-mail at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.

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