Chester Martin Remembers Tapp's Valley Store

Friday, February 3, 2017 - by Chester Martin
Tapp's Valley Store
Tapp's Valley Store

William Bomar Tapp was a distant relative of mine who lived well over 100 years ago in northwest Chattooga County, Ga. It is not clear whether he owned the little brick store, pictured, or merely leased it, but it was well-known for being the only such store in the entire area.

That is Georgia Highway 337 in the foreground, with York Road crossing it left and right. It was located just south of the Walker County line, approximately 10 miles below LaFayette.

It is listed as being part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park complex as it served as a temporary headquarters for both Federal and Confederate sides during the Civil War - though at different times.

This was not far north of Neal's Gap Road - another place of Civil War interest, as it was the road which Sherman's army used to descend from Lookout and Pigeon Mountains when on their way to burn Atlanta.

Eliza Neal, daughter of Adam Neal, married Enos Martin and became my Great Grandmother. As a child, I spent many a Sunday afternoon in an old farmhouse (which I wrote about earlier) where my aunt and uncle lived - in sight of Valley Store. During most of those years the windows were boarded over and the building deserted. After World War II, however, someone re-opened it and called it, "Cordell's Cash Store". Their main product was eggs.

The building had also been earlier used by my Uncle Augustus M. (Gus) Martin for one of his several businesses - but that was before my time. Word is that the Post Office function of the building was discontinued in 1906, but it had served my "original settler" G-G-Grandfather, Joshua Martin, (1796 - 1874) as the source for his mailings. His farm was a few miles to the west, off York Road, at the foot of Pigeon Mountain.

Valley Store was demolished about 1970 and people came from miles around to cart away some of the historic bricks which wound up in planters, or for other decorative purposes. A simple roadside marker - facing York Road - indicates its former location. It is shown on at least one vintage map of Chattooga County as, "Tap's Store" on either "Broomtown" or "Brainerd's" Road.

Some kind-hearted person made sure I have one or two envelopes bearing the Valley Store, Ga., historic postmark. The pictured building sits on the northeast juncture of the two roads. Tapp eventually left the area for Texas, and there is an interesting story of how a Tapp daughter came East to find her roots - a story we will postpone til another day...

(Chester Martin is a native Chattanoogan who is a talented painter as well as local historian. He and his wife, Pat, live in Brainerd. Mr. Martin can be reached at cymppm@comcast.net )

Envelope to Valley Store, Ga., shows a hand-written postmark from Nash, Tex., in 1895.
Envelope to Valley Store, Ga., shows a hand-written postmark from Nash, Tex., in 1895.


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