Chattanooga Was a Thirsty Town: the Marble Hall and Fletch Catron

Monday, June 30, 2014 - by Tom Carson

The 800 Block of Market Street of Chattanooga was home to four saloons in 1901.  In an earlier article, The Stag Hotel and Saloon was featured.  This article will discuss what little I know about the Marble Hall and Fletch Catron.

In the clipping files of the Chattanooga Public Library, there is a handwritten listing of Fletch Catron’s occupations from 1896-1914.   In 1896 and 1897, he was listed as a bartender for C. R. Fawkes.  In 1898 to 1904, he is listed as Proprietor of Marble Hall Saloon at 817 Market Street.  The photograph shows the Marble Hall marquee with Fletch Catron at the bottom. In 1904 – 1906, he is still listed as proprietor of the Marble Hall Saloon but also dealer in and bottle of whiskies, wines and liquors.

The clipping files of the Chattanooga Public Library have an interesting undated letter from George W. Wallace of Hixson, TN detailing his recollections of the liquor industry in Chattanooga.  He was a descendent of E.R. Betterton, mayor and owner of White Oak Distillery.

There is one real collector's item of White Oak Whiskey.   Under Theodore Roosevelt’s administration, the Food & Drug Administration was started. They were pressured by the large Bourbon interests to rule that any filtered whiskey was not pure. This barred the small Tenn. industry from labeling their product whiskey.

I had an empty bottle of White Oak labeled E. R. Betterton & Co. (large letters), formerly (very small letters) White Oak Whiskey (large letters). This was used about the last year in office of Teddy Roosevelt.  When William Howard Taft (1909-1913) took office, the Tenn. distillers sent a barrel of their best to the White House.   It was delivered by several Tenn. distillers, and in a few months the Pure Food & Drug Administration reversed their ruling and Tenn. Whiskey again became whiskey.

Fletch Catron was caught in the Pure Food Act and his whiskey bottle shows it.  Right under Corn Whiskey, is GUARANTEED UNDER PURE FOOD LAW. Until the Pure Food Act, the only regulations on alcohol were taxes.

The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was an act for preventing the manufacture, sale, or transportation of adulterated or misbranded or poisonous or deleterious foods, drugs, medicines, and liquors, and for regulating traffic therein, and for other purposes.   The act was geared toward adulterated or misbranded liquors. This brought up the question of definition of whiskey.  I am not sure how long liquor was regulated this way.

Fletch Catron was out of the liquor business before Prohibition hit, but left us nice collectables.

Tom Carson tcarson@ewkm.net.

 

 


Catoosa County Historical Society Meeting is December 8

The December meeting of the Catoosa County Historical Society will be held on December 8 at 6:30 PM at the Stone Church Museum, Ringgold, GA. A light Christmas meal will be served followed by music from the Mt.Peria Baptist Church men's group. We enjoyed them so much the last time they sang, we invited them to return. A love offering will be taken, so come prepared. The public ... (click for more)

Pioneering Pulpits Exhibit Opening at the Museum Center at 5ive Points

Pioneering Pulpits Exhibit Opens Sanctuary. Faith. Community. These words – among others – are synonymous with the concept of a church. The history of the Ocoee Region churches follows the pattern generally found in this area of the South. As new lands were opened for settlement, pioneers loaded their families and chattel in wagons and set out with bright hopes for the future. ... (click for more)

TVA Sues Cleveland's Allan Jones Over Dock, Retaining Wall, Boat Ramp, Boathouse On Hiwassee River

TVA has sued Cleveland, Tn., Check Into Cash millionaire W. Allan Jones Jr. over the construction of a dock, retaining wall, boat ramp and boathouse on the Hiwassee River. In the lawsuit in Federal Court, TVA said it told Mr. Jones before the construction was finished that he was on TVA property. The complaint says he has refused to move the construction from the river. ... (click for more)

Bobby Dodd Lawsuit Against City Moved To Federal Court

A lawsuit brought by former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd against the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Fire and Police Pension Fund over his pension has been moved to Federal Court. The lawsuit was earlier filed in Chancery Court by attorneys Jerry Tidwell and Adam Izell. The suit says former Chief Dodd opted for a plan that would have half of his pension go to ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place - And Response

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Manger Scene Stays!

When the Freedom From Religion Foundation struck the tiny town of Jay, Fla., earlier this month, the town mayor had a life-sized Nativity scene that had been displayed every Christmas for the past 40 years taken down and sold as “city surplus.” But in Alabama, things are different. When the foundation tried the same thing in Rainbow City, Ala., more people than all those who live ... (click for more)