Wann Funeral Home Sells Building In St. Elmo, But Says It Will Open In New Location

Friday, October 9, 2020

Wann Funeral Home – one of the oldest Chattanooga businesses – has sold its building on Tennessee Avenue. However, officials said it is planned to open at a new site in St. Elmo.

"We are just waiting on approval from the state," Jamey Eggert said.

Wann was purchased in 2013 by Cade and Shawn Williamson, who own and operate Legacy Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Soddy-Daisy.

The purchase was from longtime former owner John Hargis. He bought Wann Funeral in 1972.

Wann Funeral Home has been in Chattanooga since about 1902. J.H. Wann came to Chattanooga from North Georgia and first had his funeral home and a livery stable at the corner of Mitchell Avenue and Main Street.

The business later took over the L.J. Sharp funeral firm and moved to the former Sharp facility at 660 Georgia Ave.

About when World War II began and not long after taking over the Harry E. Chapman Funeral Home, Wann relocated to 541 McCallie Ave. For about 20 years during this time, the business was known as Wann-Chapman Funeral Home.

By 1958 the funeral home was in the former Central Baptist Church at 800 McCallie Ave. after the church moved out to the Woodmore area and became known as Central-Woodmore Baptist Church. In 1964 Wann moved to its current location in a former American Legion building after the veterans group built a newer building next door.

The site is just across from Forest Hills Cemetery.

Founder J.H. Wann died in an automobile accident in Florida shortly after the end of World War I, and son Paul H. Wann ran the business until his untimely death in 1928.

Paul Wann’s widow, Ethel Creekmore Wann, then became a pioneering local businesswoman by necessity, as she ran the business before her son, James C. “Jimmy” Wann, became old enough to help with the operation. In 1972, Jimmy Wann – the father of Broadway composer and actor Jimmy Wann and former Chattanooga Times journalist Libby Wann Duff – sold the funeral home to John Hargis. However, Mr. Wann continued to stay involved with the funeral home until a few years prior to his death in 1984.


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