The mid-century-era home at Greenway Farm in Hixson that had once housed the Dr. Benton Spangler family when they owned the former pastureland is being torn down.
Workers by Friday afternoon had taken down at least half the home after tearing down the stone-framed deck earlier in the week and carefully removing the asbestos several days earlier.
Efforts to reach city of Chattanooga parks officials to find out more details proved unsuccessful, but the City Council in recent weeks had approved a new, nearly $1.58 million conference center at Greenway Farm.
The razing is part of the prep work for those plans.
After this story was originally posted, city of Chattanooga parks maintenance director James Bergdoll was able to be contacted, and he said some structural issues also contributed to the building’s demolition.
“The old house was not intended for public use but was converted at some point,” he said. "With multiple issues, especially foundation failure and asbestos, the city thought it would be best to rebuild with a modern building specifically meant for public use. This project has been in the works for two to three years at this point with public input sessions prior to design."
A temporary fence has been built around the structure, currently blocking off both part of the greenway path and the circular road around the big field in front of it.
In recent years, the home that sits above North Chickamauga Creek by the boardwalk has been used by staff and for special events, including wedding ceremonies. It had apparently been slightly altered since its days as a residence.
The city of Chattanooga had purchased the nearly 200 acres from Dr. Benton Spangler about 1990 after efforts were initially made to turn the land into a townhome residential development.
An outcry of residents led by such people as future City Councilman Dave Crockett helped halt the project, and talk of turning the land into a greenway park soon followed.
In 2006, I interviewed both Dr. Spangler and one of his daughters, the now-late Lindee Spangler, about their memories of the farm. They recalled a barn where the shed was later built, several ponds at such places as where the log cabin now is, cleared fields instead of woods on the western half, and an old home by the Gann Store Road entrance.
Dr. Spangler, a former Chattanooga dentist, said at the time that the home was built after the land had been purchased in two tracts. The circular field also had some golf holes with tees and greens, and the small mounds of them are still visible. Buffaloes were also raised there for a period, as were cattle, he recalled.
He also said at the time that he heard stories that Civil War soldiers, American Indians and possibly even Spanish explorers had tromped across the land and creek.
He said he hated to sell the land and missed it, but that the taxes had become too high, and he was divorced by that time. He later moved up to a farm off Roberts Mill Road on Signal Mountain.
Lindee Spangler especially loved the farm and missed it, even though it had been preserved. After her death in 2015, her obituary made note of her enjoyment working the farmland with employee Hoss Brown while growing up.
* * * * *
To read the 2006 story with the Spangler family’s memories of the land that is now the Greenway Farm Park, read here.
* * * * *