Don Loftis Pulled Square Nails From Timbers At The Downed Cameron Hill Mansions

Monday, May 16, 2022 - by John Wilson
Don Loftis
Don Loftis

Former Hamilton County School Superintendent Don Loftis remembers pulling square nails from timbers in the final days of Cameron Hill.

"My grandfather, Samuel Oscar Loftis, bought three houses that were being taken down. They were near the top, but not on the top. Two of them were side by side," he stated.

He said his grandfather lived in Middle Valley and his main job was at the curtain pole factory off Amnicola Highway. But he kept several side jobs going.

Dr. Loftis said he recalls there were eight to 10 people helping take down the houses. "Some were kin and some were not. There were several grandchildren who were older and bigger than me, and they did more of the carrying. I was pretty young at the time.

"We were paid 50 cents an hour, which was pretty good for kids at the time. We were glad to get it."

He said, "I mainly pulled these old square nails out and then straightened them up. He wanted to keep all those square nails."

Dr. Loftis, a longtime Soddy Daisy resident, said, "There was lots of marble in those houses, handsome fireplaces and big heavy timbers. There were a lot of doors and really fancy stuff. They were mansions I would say."

He said, "There were trucks coming and going. He had it hauled to a place where he stored it in East Chattanooga."

Then the hill was left barren with all the marble and heavy timbers and fine doors that had once meant an awful lot to families on the hill scattered hither and yon. 


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