John Shearer: 2 Forgotten Photos Of Lyndhurst Mansion Rediscovered

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Over the years, the legend of the Lyndhurst mansion in Riverview seems to have grown.

Built about 1910 and designed by Atlanta architect W.T. Downing, the 34,000-square-foot structure was one of the largest and most elegant homes in the South of its era.

The fact that it was torn down in 1960 for the construction of some mid-century homes added to its mystique, as did the story that it was vacant for nearly 20 years before being razed.

The wealth that homeowner J.T. Lupton had gained from bottling such an identifiable drink as Coca-Cola and the benefiting foundation named after the home have also kept the structure somewhat in the public eye.

While the attention on the home located off Riverview Road just a couple hundred yards north of the current Riverview Park has been great over the years, the number of photographs of it has been small.

Besides a couple of photos taken from the air and one or two taken from the front, few other photographs seemed to have been published in recent decades or are easily accessible to the public domain.

But a recent glance at some old bound volumes of Zella Armstrong’s The Lookout magazine on file at the Chattanooga Public Library uncovered two more.

Suzette Raney from the library staff has tried to go through and index names and references in the volumes of the periodical local magazine published by the noted social writer and historian of the early 20th century, and she found several references to Lyndhurst.

I decided to check through her listings and found two photographs I had not seen before. One, in an April 1923 edition and which ended up scanning in kind of a grainy quality, shows the first-ever close-up of the back of the home I have ever seen.

Virtually every window has an awning over it, perhaps due to the fact that the backside of the home faced the setting sun in those pre-air conditioning days. Numerous fireplace chimneys are also present.

One can also get a feel for what the terraced gardens area in the back must have looked like.

The other, from an April 1931 magazine, shows Mr. Lupton in a Marmon Club Roadster in front of the home. Marmon was a popular higher-end car of the early 20th century.

The Marmon company was known for such innovations as inventing the rear view mirror. A Marmon also won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

The caption below the picture of Mr. Lupton said the car had been displayed in auto shows in New York and Chicago.

Mr. Lupton’s son, Cartter, who in the late 1920s built a nice home a few yards south of Lyndhurst, must have inherited his father’s interest in automobiles. He had a grease bay in his garage and liked to drive the more-modest Pontiacs.

Since this photo was taken apparently not long before the older Mr. Lupton’s death in 1933 and after the Luptons had lived in the residence for more than 20 years, Lyndhurst has a little more lived-in look. The curtain/drapes treatment on one of the windows looks a little uneven, for example.

But most consider Lyndhurst a perfect example of fine residential construction from that era.

Besides visually enhancing the Scenic City through nice homes, the Luptons played a large role in the growth of Chattanooga’s culture and education. That continued through Mr. Lupton’s late grandson, Jack Lupton, who helped revitalize Chattanooga’s riverfront.

And that cultural altruism has continued with his children as well. For example, Jack’s daughter, Alice L. Smith, is being honored this week at the Hunter Museum of American Art as one of the recipients of the Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award. The late musician Booker Scruggs II is also being recognized.

The event is to take place at a facility that includes the former home of another Coca-Cola bottler, George T. Hunter, although the structure was built by Ross Faxon.

The influence of Coca-Cola bottling on Chattanooga definitely did not fizzle out, and now two more photos continue to show its visual and cultural impact in a historical sense as well.

Now all we need are some elusive interior shots of Lyndhurst!

Jcshearer2@comcast.net



Tennessee State Museum Announces Permanent And Temporary Exhibitions For October Opening

In October, a bold new vision for the Tennessee State Museum will be realized when it opens at the northwest corner of Rosa L. Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. It’s the first and only building in the museum’s 81-year history dedicated exclusively for its use. Housed in a 137,000-square-foot facility, the new location is built with the ... (click for more)

John Shearer: Remembering When Burt Reynolds Came To Chattanooga

As a shy teenager growing up in Chattanooga in the 1970s, I had a movie role model to follow in trying to figure out how to have charisma, learn to have self-confidence and be outgoing, and be masculine and appealing to females.  The person, of course, was longtime actor Burt Reynolds, who died Thursday of a heart attack at age 82. He was a man’s man, so to speak, even ... (click for more)

Jeremy Allen Conn Dies After Being Tased By Hamilton County Deputies

A man died after being tased by Hamilton County deputies  on Sunday  night. Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched o n Sunday, at approximately 9:50 p.m.,  to the 6200 Block of Massengale Hollow in Harrison on a report of a person causing a disorder.   Based on initial reports, after arriving on scene, deputies made contact with Jeremy ... (click for more)

Classes Continue At East Ridge High After Power Outage

There was a major power outage at East Ridge High School Monday morning.  EPB officials and Hamilton County Department of Education maintenance personnel were on the scene and power was restored after a short while.  All students were safe and remained in their classrooms.  When power was restored, they resumed their regular schedule.  The power ... (click for more)

Arming Teachers With Guns Will Be Too Dangerous - And Response (4)

Arming teachers with guns in the classroom, as Bill Lee proposes, would be the single most dangerous thing to happen to students in Tennessee history. Students and teachers in close proximity to loaded firearms daily? Across this state, in middle schools alone, there are probably hundreds of student/teacher conflicts a day. What if a student got hold of gun in a struggle with ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s So Sad For Me

I cannot remember a time in my life when I have been as saddened by such a travesty that has now erupted in the confirmation process that would place Brett Kavanaugh on our Supreme Court. I am sad for every single person who has been touched by this catastrophe, from 85-year-old Dianne Feinstein to Brett’s wife and two young daughters, ages 13 and 10. Not a person, in any way involved, ... (click for more)