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Jerry Summers: Driving Crest Road Is Like Experiencing Travel In The Old West

Monday, August 15, 2022 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

A Conestoga wagon is a horse drawn freight wagon that originated during the 18th century in the Conestoga Creek region of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was ideally suited for hauling freight over bad roads.

A descendant of the Conestoga wagon was the prairie schooner, used by the pioneers to transport their possessions westward on the unpaved trails of the West.

If you have ever traveled on Crest Road on Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga from its start upwards at the traffic light at the Glass Street intersection southward to the state of Georgia boundary line you can appreciate the hazards that the “Westward Ho the Wagons” adventurers had to endure.

Although the former city of Missionary Ridge was annexed to the city of Chattanooga in 1929, the road was not paved until 1930.  (Whether this was an incentive to join the city of Chattanooga is beyond the scope of this article, but politicians do love to add additional property tax revenue to offset any necessary tax increases).

The upkeep of the road since 1930 may be on the city of Chattanooga but the condition of said road indicates that it may not have been repaved since the original date.

A confidential, reliable informant has verified that their family has lived on the Ridge since the 1940s and other than the “pothole patching projects” by the city of Chattanooga or federal government no attempt has been made to update the original layer of asphalt or concrete.

Since it has been announced that 90-95 percent of the pothole problems have been corrected, it might be surmised that the remaining hazards in that description are all located on the Crest Road.

It may be a slight exaggeration to suggest that our local thoroughfare is comparable to the rough ride that our pioneers were confronted with during their migration to the West. However, it is respectfully suggested that if you wear dentures you should securely apply dental glue to your false teeth before embarking on your journey along the historical Civil War venue of the Nov.

25, 1863, Battle of Missionary Ridge.

Also, you should make certain that you have an inflated spare tire and tools to assure that you are prepared to perform any necessary changes on said scenic highway.

If you would like a less jarring experience for your body than transversing Crest Road, you can enjoy the more modern version of one of the two vehicles that were used to open up the West without having to run the risk of having to schedule a visit to your dentist or chiropractor (orthopedists not excluded). Smokey Hollow Outdoor Resort located “in the heart of Sevierville" is just a mile and half from the Winfield Dunn Parkway off I-40. A kingside bed, microwave, and undercover plumbing, etc. may make for a more enjoyable stationary fantasy than the “pothole patched boulevard” where you might disturb any Union and Confederate ghosts that still haunt the battlefield on the way to the smooth paved road in Georgia.

 (There also may be a public outcry for bike lanes in the future, but for now a tire saving repaving job will suffice.)

* * *

You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

Conestoga Wagon
Conestoga Wagon
- photo by Jaclyn Nash, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian

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