Stokes Photo Of Forest Avenue Home Surfaces

Monday, September 9, 2019
- photo by Will Stokes

Another Will Stokes photo has surfaced - this one of a handsome two-story house on Forest Avenue in North Chattanooga.

Most of the fabulous Stokes collection from the early 1900s was published in a book by Chattanoogan.com. However, a few additional ones appear from time to time.

Mitchell Cobb, a McCallie and Auburn grad, who has restored 14 historic Atlanta and Chattanooga homes one by one, has the photo.

The home was built in 1904 and was long the residence of the Thompson family. Sam W. Thompson was a prominent Chattanooga contractor. He later moved to Charlotte, N.C., where he lived at 303 Queen's Road. He died there in the late 1920s, leaving his widow, Sarah.

The estate of Sam Thompson was valued between $120,000-$140,000. The value of the home in Chattanooga was listed at $25,000. The estate went to wife, Sarah Thompson, and son, Frederick N. Thompson.

Sarah Fry Thompson returned to the Forest Avenue house. Mrs. Thompson’s brother, J. Lee Fry, a machinist, also briefly resided at the property.

Sarah Fry Thompson lived at the house until the early 1960s.

The Thompson’s son, Frederick N. Thompson, remained in Chattanooga and did not make the move to Charlotte. At the time of his father's death, he was working on paving contracts in South Carolina.

Mr. Cobb bought the property from the two unmarried sisters from the Thompson family, who spent most of their childhood in the home and remained in the residence their entire lives. The Cobb family lived in the house at 602 Forest Avenue from 2001-2008 while painstakingly renovating it. The Thompson sisters passed along a number of old papers and photos associated with the family and the house.

One of the items they bequeathed was a complete set of the original blueprints for the house. The blueprints include all the specific directions that architect David V. Stroup gave to the contractor.

The Cobbs sold the Thompson house to developer John Wise. Mr. Wise made plans to tear it down, but the neighborhood pushed back, successfully changing the zoning. The change meant he was not able to get the necessary approvals for his replacement project.

The same year, it sold to Carley and Edward Boehm. Mr. Cobb noted that the Boehms have two daughters, Addison and Delaney.  He and wife, Tammy Himmelheber, raised their two daughters, Copeland and Catherine, for seven years there.

When the Thompsons lived there the street was known as Forrest Avenue in honor of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Afterward, one 'r' was dropped and the name was changed to Forest Avenue.

Some copies of The Remarkable Stokes Collection remain and are for sale at Zarzour's Restaurant on Rossville Avenue. It is just behind Fire Hall #1 that is on Main Street.

Other books in the Chattanooga Photo Series available from Shannon at Zarzour's include Railroads in and Around Chattanooga, Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga, and Chattanooga in Old Photos. They are $35 each.



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