John Shearer: More Reminders Of Old Hixson Found

Sunday, July 1, 2018

After I wrote a story with some photographs a few weeks back about the remaining landmarks and still-rural landscapes in Hixson, I realized I might not have covered all such sites.

So I got back in my car Saturday morning and tracked down a few more places I was aware of and a few I had not really noticed before.

I took a photo of a handsome bungalow-style home on Hamill Road by Crescent Club Drive I had mentioned in the previous story, and found an old store on that street by Adams Road. And later I saw the classic Fairview United Methodist on the far end of the same road on Big Ridge.

Unlike many of the places on the ridge, other than the gorgeous wooded and undeveloped land on the side, the church still looks more rural than suburban.

I also looked up close at the vintage chapel and former sanctuary of Hixson United Methodist, which a cornerstone says dates to 1930. It sits in the middle of more modern buildings off Old Hixson Pike.

And Middle Valley Road had perhaps the biggest treat of all. I had forgotten due to my infrequent – and zooming -- trips of recent years down that road, but it features several neat old places near Hixson High School.

That includes an old barn, a couple of old houses, and by far the prettiest sight I saw on Saturday – an old log cabin-style home against the backdrop of dozens of beautiful acres of pastureland adjoining the school.

I am not sure – and have not had time to check – who owns the land or what the plans are for it.

But if the land is savable, an idealistic lover of beautiful and fragile pastoral landscapes would definitely feel Chattanooga needs to protect it. There have been several now-developed places along that street as well as Cassandra Smith Road and Hixson Pike that had simply gorgeous pastureland amidst the backdrop of a distant Signal Mountain, and this may be one of the last ones.

 I was glad I was able to get a picture of it, but it was not easy. It and several other places along both busy Middle Valley and Hamill roads require getting out and carefully walking along a mostly sidewalk-less street to photograph them.

One handsome old red barn – or at least old-style barn -- along the far end of Hamill Road on Big Ridge near the Fairview church had such a steep drop off on the side of the road on a curve that I simply had to slow down, turn on my hazard lights and take a quick picture while seated. And I had to do all that while, of course, hoping no one would zoom up from behind.

But it was all worth it to capture with my not-too-fancy camera such aesthetically pleasing scenes.

Not far from Middle Valley Road on Kamin Road – near the old quarry and the Hixson Utility District-connected giant water tank – I found a Stonehenge-like and mysterious stone or block marker in a field. It is apparently some remaining part of an old house or building.

Unfortunately for those who like old landmarks in Hixson and elsewhere that recall a simpler time, two or three of them I featured in the past story just three weeks ago are apparently about to disappear.

Within a week after I took a picture of the old barn and store building across from the Publix on Hixson Pike, a sign went up saying that the Clint Wolford development firm is getting ready to convert the tract.

The sign says 3.5 acres (actually it says ‘acers’) of the partly wooded land are available. The drawings on the sign show a sit-down restaurant on the left from the sidewalk, a fast casual restaurant with a drive-through in the middle, and 10,000 square feet of retail space on the right plus a possible coffee shop with a drive through.

The property actually had a for sale sign in front of it several months ago, I learned after writing the first story.

I remembered growing up in nearby Valleybrook and hearing that the building there was once an old store operated by “Fireball” Rogers, and in recent years had been a music store with the Fireball name.

Out of curiosity, I googled Fireball Rogers and found that George Edward “Fireball” Rogers of Hixson had died in November 2013 at the age of 81. A U.S. Army veteran, he was active in the Shriners and Masons and loved baseball and NASCAR racing.

His obituary did not say how he received his nickname, nor did it offer any history regarding the building.

Like the building on Hamill Road, this one also has bricks or blocks that step up to a point in the center of the front face. That must have been a standard look on rural or small-town commercial buildings in the likely pre-World War II era.

His old store is a part of vanishing Hixson, but I am glad I was able to get a picture of it for posterity.

And no telling how many more old Hixson landmarks and landscapes are still being displayed before possibly being developed or simply disappearing for some other reason.

* * * * *

Note: This is one of a series of stories looking at, analyzing and critiquing Chattanooga’s architectural, urban and pastoral landscape. To see the previous story in the series, click here.




* * * * *

Remembering Rev. T. Perry Brannon's Radio Revival

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society Meets Dec. 4

Tennessee Trail Of Tears Association To Hold Commemorative Walk Nov. 10

I recently came upon a booklet that Rev. T. Perry Brannon gave me in 1986 when he was a guest on my radio program and it brought back a lot of memories. His Radio Revival started in ... (click for more)

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will be celebrating the Christmas Season with a covered dish luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The event is for members only. Regular meetings will resume ... (click for more)

The Tennessee Trail of Tears Association will hold a commemorative walk on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Blythe Ferry Cherokee Memorial Removal Park in Birchwood, Tn. The walk is to remember those ... (click for more)


Remembering Rev. T. Perry Brannon's Radio Revival

I recently came upon a booklet that Rev. T. Perry Brannon gave me in 1986 when he was a guest on my radio program and it brought back a lot of memories. His Radio Revival started in 1930. It was on WDOD every morning at 8 a.m. until switching in the 50’s to WAPO. The program went off the air in the 70’s when Bro. Brannon moved to Birmingham, Ala. T. Perry Brannon ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Genealogical Society Meets Dec. 4

The Signal Mountain Genealogical Society will be celebrating the Christmas Season with a covered dish luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 4. The event is for members only. Regular meetings will resume in January. (click for more)

Breaking News

Longtime CARTA Board Chairman Steve Jett Steps Down

After 38 years of service to CARTA, longtime board chairman Steve Jett said Thursday it was time to step aside in favor of young leadership. Vice Chairman John Bilderback, who is director of data and quality at Signal Centers, will step up to chairman. Mr. Jett was appointed to the board of the transit agency in 1980 by Mayor Pat Rose. He submitted his resignation to Mayor ... (click for more)

Man Injured Early Thursday Morning When Tree Falls On House

A man was injured early Thursday morning when a tree fell on his house. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around 3:30 a.m. and responded to 7317 Elaine Circle with several fire companies. Battalion Chief David Thompson Jr. said the department's Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) was requested in case a rescue was needed, but the entire family, including two ... (click for more)


County Commissioners, Stop Pandering And Lead - And Response

There is no shortage of public need in Hamilton County, and only a limited amount of revenue and capital bond issues. I cannot admire or appreciate an elected Hamilton County Commission that leads by warm and fuzzy kitty emotions over real and tangible needs. As Commissioner Tim Boyd correctly stated, there is immediate and emergent need for police and fire training facilities. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Lamar Rants

Being a child of the South, I’ve marveled at our funny sayings for all of my life. I’ve been at a football game and heard a disgruntled fan in the stands say of his team’s quarterback, “That boy couldn’t play dead in a cowboy movie.” I’ve been at the Sunday supper table and heard, “I’m of a mind each one of his sermons is better than the next.” And I’ve sat in a Saturday morning ... (click for more)