Only two families got to enjoy a spacious home at 409 Cameron St., high up on historic Cameron Hill.
It was built about 1926 by William A. "Spots" Sharp, who operated Sharp Brothers Meat Market for several decades at 402 W. Ninth St. with his younger brother, Robert G. "Bud" Sharp. The 402 W. Ninth was a three-story brick that went up during the building boom in 1888. Initially, T.J. Eaton & Co., grocers, was on the ground floor with Dr. L. Walden on the second and a rental on the top. The next year, Russell & Son grocers had taken the bottom floor.
William A. Sharp began to occupy the ground floor of 402 W. Ninth in 1899 with Robert clerking for him. Robert later was listed as a butcher for William A. Sharp until he was made a partner in the business. The brothers lived at various spots near the meat market. William A. Sharp and his wife, Elizabeth, had settled at 410 W. Seventh prior to building his home atop Cameron Hill.
Robert Sharp was known around town for his skills as an amateur boxer and later as a boxing promoter with his brother. One of their protoges was Jake Abel who became nationally known as a welterweight. The Sharp brothers led in a revival of boxing in Chattanooga and establishment of an annual Golden Gloves Tournament.
Robert S. Sharp lived until 1949. At the time he and his wife, Margaret, were living on McFarland Avenue. There was another Sharp brother, Ed, who lived at Columbus, Ohio.
The William A. Sharps lived at 409 Cameron until about 1937. After the death of William Sharp, his widow had stayed on for a couple of years. It was bought by a successful manufacturer's agent, Leo Mark Flanary. He had married Gertrude Olsen Lander, whose family was from Denmark. She had moved to Chattanooga along with her son after being divorced from her husband, who came from a well-known Tennessee line.
He was Frank Dunnington Lander Jr., son of another Frank Dunnington Lander who at one time was editor of the Nashville Tennessean. The elder Frank Dunnington Lander was the son of Russell B. Lander and Elizabeth Dunnington. He was born and raised at Hopkinsville, Ky., then went to Nashville when he was 18 to live with his uncle, Frank Dunnington, who was clerk of the Tennessee Supreme Court. He worked in the clerk's office and studied law, gaining his degree in 1876. After his uncle's death, he went with his aunt to Columbia, Tn., where he practiced law and became city judge. He became editor of the Columbia Herald, making it one of the most successful and influential newspapers in the state. The paper favored prohibition, and Frank Dunnington Lander was called "a tower of strength in the cause of righteousness." He was chosen by Senator Edward Carmack, whose wife was a Dunnington, to be editor of the Nashville Tennessean, which also was a strong prohibition advocate. Senator Carmack was killed in a shootout in Nashville, and his body was taken to the home of Frank D. Lander. Lander married Mamie Jones in 1889 and they had a child. But the marriage ended in divorce and Lander left Nashville and the Tennessean "broken in spirit." He wound up at West Palm Beach, Fla. He took Mrs. Alice McKnight Cope of Paducah, Ky., as his second wife.
The son of the newspaper editor Frank D. Lander became the president of the Southern Sweet Potato Exchange at Opelousa, La. He married Gertrude Olsen and they had a son. That ended in divorce and it was that Gertrude who lived near the top of Cameron Hill with her son, Frank Dunnington Lander III, and with Leo Flanary - her second husband.
Frank D. Lander III grew up exploring the interesting trails and caves along the side of Cameron Hill. He and friends could not resist climbing into the nearby water tank at Reservoir Hill and taking a swim. It was necessary to drain the drinking water source afterward.
His son, Mark Lander, remembers that Gertrude was always up for a game of canasta. He said the house at 409 Cameron included three bedrooms and two baths, but each of the rooms was over-sized. There was an eat-in area between the kitchen and dining room. There were high ceilings and a beautiful chandelier over the dining room table. There was a dramatic view at the back of the house looking toward Raccoon Mountain.
The Flanarys loved their life on Cameron Street and were among those who engaged in the futile fight to stop the Urban Renewal.
They were among the last to leave.
Leo Flanary afterward built a brand new home for Gertrude at Rivermont, but it could never replace the one they both loved on Cameron Hill.