13 January 2017

North Hamilton Co. communities and placenames

These are the historic communities, those completely past and those still extant, of the original Hamilton County, Tennessee, north/west of the Tennessee River to the line of Rhea County, from which it was born in 1819.  It was established 25 October that year at Poe’s Tavern, which became the temporary seat of its court.  A more permanent location with a dedicated courthouse was established on land leased to Asahel Rawlings by Cherokee notable Fox Taylor in 1822, and purchased in 1831.  The settlement at the site was called Hamilton until 1833, when it changed to Dallas.  The county seat moved south of the river to Vannsville (later Harrison) in 1840, where it remained until 1870, when it moved to Chattanooga, where its circuit courts had been meeting since 1858.  These are the communities in the original Hamilton County.

I have to admit my knowledge of North Hamilton is not equal to that with South and East Hamilton, so if I have erred, feel free to let me know.  I have included the major coal mines as well, because many Hamilton Countians south of the river never realized how pervasive they were and many north of the river have forgotten.  Coal mining and the Cincinnati Southern Railway (later Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railway) made northern Hamilton County into what is became.

Albion View was a postal village that lay along what is now Miles Road south of Anderson Pike between East Brow Road and James Boulevard atop Walden’s Ridge, long since assimilated by the town of Signal Mountain.  The post office of Albion View operated 1888-1915.

Alta Vista was the home and farm of J. E. Sawyer on White Oak Road, which is now Memorial Drive.  After Sherman’s troops crossed the Tennessee River at Brown’s Ferry, they camped in this hidden cove, near the White Oak Spring.  Alta Vista later became White Oak Cemetery, now Chattanooga Memorial Garden, and the spring is better known as Duck Pond Spring.

Bakewell grew up around the Retro depot on the Cincinnati Southern Railway at the crossing of Retro-Hughes Road, spreading along its intersections with Back Valley Road and McCallie Ferry Road.  Bakewell was one of the centers of Afro-American population in the county and the only major community in the north.  The post office here operated as Retro 1880-1914, then as Bakewell 1914-1964.

Beck Bottoms lay along the right bank of the river across from downtown Chattanooga until Heritage Landing was built atop it.

Big Ridge runs from the east side of the mouth of North Chickamauga Creek on the Tennessee River northeast to Dallas Bay, its northeastern extremity forming part of Chester Frost Park.

Big Soddy Coal Mines Nos. 1-5 were at the head of Big Soddy Gulch, worked by the New Soddy Coal Company, then by Durham Coal and Iron Company.  A spur on Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railroad from Rathburn Station serviced the operation.

Browntown, or Brown’s Chapel, once lay near the intersection of Browntown Road and McCahill Road.  The post office of Brown’s Chapel operated here 1889-1902.

Bunch was an antebellum community on Poe Road atop Walden’s Ridge which derived its name from the large land holdings of brothers James and Willam Bunch.

Camp Contraband was the settlement north of the Tennessee River across from the town of Chattanooga during the Civil War for escaped and freed slaves.  See also Hill City.

Cave Springs was a station on the Cincinnati Southern Railway at the western foot of Cave Springs Ridge that railroad survey maps mark as inaccessible, except to the railroad.  It gets its name from the springs flowing out of the cave at the foot of the ridge.  It was about two miles south of Thrasher Pike, a half-mile distant from Falling Water.  There was a park here at one time, mainly for picnickers.

Coulterville was a railroad and postal village on the Cincinnati Southern Railway.  The depot stood between Swafford Road and Nelson Cemetery Road, but the community stretched for some distance along Coulterville Road.  The post office of Coulterville operated 1879-1918.

Cozby was a postal village on the other side of Mailbox Hill from Falling Water, with its office on Old Dayton Pike near the Highway 153-US 27 interchange.  The post office of Cozby operated 1850-1855.

Cowart Hill is the spur off Stringer’s Ridge upon which lies most of North Chattanooga.

Daisy stretches north and south from the foot of Daisy Mountain Road west of the Cincinnati Southern Railway.  It began life as Poe’s Tavern in 1819, when it was the seat of Hamilton County, until the meeting place of the court moved to a permanent courthouse on the farm of Asabel Rawlings in 1822.  The community became Poe’s Crossroads in 1846, Chickamauga (by vote of its residents) in 1850, Melville in 1878, and Daisy in 1883.  The first railway depot here was called Melville, and a second, auxilary, depot added in 1883 was called Daisy.  In the early 20th century, the second depot ceased operation and the original adopted its name.  The post office of Poe’s Crossroads operated 1846-1847.  The post office reopened and operated as Chickamauga 1866-1878, as Melville 1878-1883, and as Daisy 1883-1972, when it merged with the post office of Soddy as Soddy-Daisy.

Daisy Coal Mine was near Daisy, worked by Daisy Coal Company, which reorganized as Taber-Cleudup Coal and Coke Company, then New Daisy Coal Company, then American Coal and Railroad Company.  The first operation at the mine was in 1881.

Dallas lies mostly, but not entirely, under the waters of Dallas Bay.  Notable Cherokee leader Fox Taylor leased part of his reservation north of the Tennessee River to Asahel Rawlings with the specification included that part of the land serve as the permanent county seat.  From 1822 until 1833, the community was known as Hamilton, after that it became Dallas.  The community faded after the county seat was moved across river to Vannsville (later Harrison) in 1840.  The post office here operated as Hamilton 1822-1833 and as Dallas 1833-1846, and again 1848-1849, and finally 1866-1872.

Daughtery Ferry was the community that grew up on the right (west) bank of the Tennessee River at the Daugherty Ferry crossing.

Davis Coal Mine, also known as Soddy No. 4, was worked by the Soddy Coal Company, then the Soddy Coal, Iron, and Railway Company, then New Soddy Coal Company.

Divine, also spelled Devine, was a post office village, and later a depot on the Chattanooga Traction Railway, before its two operational lines split.  The depot still stands at the intersection of Power Corporation Drive and Whitehall Road.  The post of Devine operated 1881-1887.

Double Branch lay along Poe Road on Mowbray Mountain atop Walden’s Ridge.  The post office of Double Branch operated 1856-1875.

Duck Pond is formed by the Anderson Spring at Alta Vista, which later became White Oak Cemetery and is now Chattanooga Memorial Garden.

Dry Valley lies between Laurel Ridge on the west and Stringer’s Ridge in the east.

Fairmount sits on the plateau of Walden’s Ridge east of the town of Walden and north of the town of Signal Mountain along Fairmount Pike, North Fairmount Road, and Fairmount Road West.  It began as a resort in the late 19th century.

Fairview is/was the community along the crest of Big Ridge.

Falling Water sits at the mouth of Robert’s Gap in Walden’s Ridge, spreading out from Roberts Mill-Falling Water Road north of Mailbox Hill.  The post office of Falling Water operated 1874-1906.

Fibrothers Coal Mine operated by the five Millsap brothers opened at the head of Little Soddy Gulf after the Durham Coal and Iron Company ceased operations in 1929.  This mine can be visited on the Three Gorges segment of the Cumberland Trail.

Flat Top sits on the plateau of Walden’s Ridge along Jones Gap (formerly Flat Top) Road, just east of the border with Bledsoe County, but the community actually straddles the countyline.

Gann’s  was the name of a community centered on the intersection of North Dent Road and Thrasher Pike.  Now consolidated with Middle Valley, along with theie schools.

Glendale was a community that grew up in the south of the Mountain Creek community because around the eponymous station on the Signal Mountain Line of Chattanooga Traction Railway.  It was home to Mountain Creek Elementary School until it closed.  It essentially covers the area along Glendale Drive between Signal Mountain Road and Mountain Creek Road and the byroads attached to it.

Godsey Ridge runs between Laurel Ridge and Mountain Creek Valley, forming the eastern border of the latter as Walden’s Ridge does its western border.

Gold Point was a community that grew up about the intersections of Hixson Pike with Thrasher Pike, Gold Point Circle South, and Gold Point Circle North.  The last is the original route of Hixson Pike before the closing of the Chickamauga Dam gates.  Part of Gold Point Circle South used to be Harrison Ferry Road.  Until the late 19th century, the entire length of Hixson Pike had been known as Dallas Pike.  The post office of Gold Point operated 1891-1907.

Grant is the name for the vicinity of the Grant Road-Welch Road intersection, and at one time a small community there.  It may have once been called Bunch.

Greens Mill lies along North Chickamauga Creek and Boy Scout Road (formerly Foley Hixson Mill Road) halfway between Middle Valley Road and Dayton Boulevard.

Hamillville once covered a sizable area spreading out from Hamill Road, mostly east of the Cincinnati Southern Railway but including a small section between that and Highway 153.

Hamilton was a post office along Dallas Pike halfway between Tenbridge and Lower Ferry Road (Stringer Street).  It was also the first name of the first permanent county seat (see Dallas).

Harveyton (see Hill City)

Hatfield Coal Mine operated by J. S. Hatfield was near Daisy.  It was listed in at least one edition of the Annual Report of Mineral Resources, but I couldn’t find anything further.

Hill City originated as Camp Contraband during the Civil War.  Its boundaries are Manning Street, Stringer’s Ridge, and both sides of Upper Ferry Road (now North Market Street).  Hill City was once the name for the entire area north of the river across from downtown Chattanooga, until the town of North Chattanooga was incorporated in 1915.  Afterward, Hill City was a mixed municipality which stretched from Stringer’s Ridge to Forest (later Forrest, now Forest again) Avenue.  It was a stop on the Chattanooga and Northside Railway and its successors.  It merged with the town of North Chattanooga in the 1925.  The post office here operated as Harveyton 1883-1884, then as Hill City 1884-1912.

Hixson is a community that first grew up around the depot on the Cincinnati Southern Railway at the Old Hixson Pike crossing.  The depot was originally called Lookout, but that soon became Hixson’s Station to avoid confusion with the Lookout station on the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis Railway.  The post office of North Chickamauga operated in this vicinity 1833-1839 with Hamilton County pioneer Ephraim Hixson as postmaster.  With the advent of the railroad, service operated as the post office of Lakeside 1880-1892, then as Hixson since 1892.

Hodgetown lies along Back Valley Road halfway between Bakewell and Sale Creek, north of Fuller Road.

Home Stores was a tiny hamlet that grew up around the whistlestop of the same name a mile south of Coulterville.

Hot Water is a community along Old Hotwater Road atop the plateau of Walden’s Ridge that hosted its own public school in the early 20th century.

Huckleberry grew up in the area where Poe Road, Montlake Road, Mowbray Road, Hotwater Road, and Daisy Mountain Road meet on the plateau of Walden’s Ridge.

Igou’s Ferry was a postal village that grew up around the right/west bank landing of Igou’s Ferry across the Tennessee River.  The post office of Igou’s Ferry operated 1871-1905.

Jasper was the Afro-American section of the Hixson area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Jenkins Coal Mine (aka Soddy No. 10) near Soddy was worked by the New Soddy Coal Company.

Jones Station was a depot on the Signal Mountain Line of the Chattanooga Traction Railway that stood behind the current Food City on Signal Mountain Boulevard around which a small village grew, mostly in the area now called Signal Hills.

Lakeside (see Hixson)

Lakesite is a city between Dallas Bay and Jones Bay on the Tennessee River which incorporated in 1972.  Much of its original territory had once been the thousand-acre strawberry plantation of entrepeneurial farmer and past postmaster of Hornville and Shallowford Adolphus Horn, my great-great-grand-uncle.

Laurel Ridge forms the western boundary of Dry Valley.

Lewis & Alexander Coal Mine about three miles outside of Daisy was worked by North Side Coal Company.

Lookout (see Hixson)

Lupton City is on the south end of Lupton Drive below Hixon Pike.  It was founded as a company town for workers at Dixie Spinning Mills finishing plant, and was the only stop on the access line between Cincinnati Southern Railway and the Dry Valley line of Chattanooga Traction Railway.  It was annexed in 1968.  The post office of Lupton City operated 1925-2006.

Mabbitt Springs (see Summertown)

May Flower spreads over a wide area between Mount Tabor and Sale Creek.  The center of the community is (or was) the Mayflower Church at the corner of Stormer Road and Pickett Road, and, in the early 20th century, its local public school.

Melville (see Daisy)

Merry Oaks (see Mile Straight)

Middle Valley is both the name of the valley spreading northwest of Big Ridge and the name of a community once centered on the intersection of Crabtree Road and Middle Valley Road that has long been consolidated with Gann’s, as are their schools.

Midvale Park grew up around the Midvale depot on the Dry Valley Line of the Chattanooga Traction Railway at the Midvale Avenue crossing, now in the town of Red Bank.

Mile Straight spreads north and south of Montlake Road east of Dayton Pike-Highway 27 at the mouth of Chickamauga Gulch.  The community was once known as Merry Oaks and later as Springfield.  The post office of Merry Oaks operated 1850-1857.

Miller Grove was a community in the vicinity of the intersection of Hamby Road and Hixon Pike that included a school.

Moccasin Gap is the split in Godsey Ridge through which Reads Lake Road runs.

Moccasin Point is the actual name for the land enclosed by the Moccasin Bend of the Tennessee River.  The bend is the river, the point is the land.

Montlake grew out of the resort atop Walden’s Ridge at the southern end of Grasshopper Hill centered on the eponymous lake.  The post office of Montlake operated 1909-1923.

Montlake Coal Mines operated by the Montlake Coal Company were on the north side of Chickamauga Gulch, serviced by a spur from Montlake Station on Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railroad.

Mount Tabor lies along the northernmost stretch of Mt. Tabor Road south of its intersection with Spalding Road, and along the latter road south of that intersection.  In the early 20th century, it hosted its own public school.

Mountain Creek was the name for the community spread up the valley along the eponymous creek to Morrison Springs Road.  The school by the same name was in Glendale near the mouth of the valley.  It is also the name of the creek, whose headwaters are near Brown’s Chapel.

Mowbray spreads along Mowbray Pike from Mowbray Elementary School to Grant Road.  The post office of Mowbray operated 1901-1905.

New Providence lies around the intersection of Providence Road and Aslinger Road.

New Town was a section of company housing north of Soddy on the valley floor for employees of New Soddy Coal Mining Company working the Big Soddy Mines.

New Salem lies around the intersections of Green Pond Road with Dallas Hollow Road.

Normal Park began as housing for teachers and students of Normal University for teachers, the facilities of which became Normal Park School when the university merged with the local campus of Grant University into University of Chattanooga.  It had a station for North Chattanooga Street Railway and its successors.  It was part of the town of North Chattanooga incorporated in 1913.

North Chattanooga was incorporated in 1913 with its western boundary as Forest Avenue.  As a land development the name originally referred to much of what was later known as the eastern parts of Hill City.  The Chattanooga Land, Coal, Iron, and Railway Company did most of the development.  In 1915, the town forbade Afro-Americans from living in its limits, an ordinance made practically null and void by its later annexation of Hill City, which was a majority black town, in 1925.

North Chickamauga (see Hixson)

North Chickamauga Creek is formed by the confluence of Brimer Creek and Standifer Creek in the Double Bridges area on the plateau of Walden’s Ridge inside Marion County.  It descends the ridge through Chickamauga Gulf into the Mile Straight community on the valley floor.

Northside was a development south of Colville Street to Grace (now Barton) Avenue between Beck Avenue and Druid Lane, which used to be Cowart Street and extend south to Main Avenue (now Tremont Street), that was later absorbed by North Chattanooga.

Pineville centered on the Pineville Road crossing of the Chattanooga Traction Railway and north along Pineville Road.

Pleasant Hill (see Red Bank)

Poe’s Tavern/Crossroads (see Daisy)

Possum Creek originates at the confluence of Big Possum Creek and Little Possum Creek in Bakewell Gulf.  The headwaters for both contributary streams are on the west side of the plateau of Walden’s Ridge

Providence (aka New Providence)

Pyatt was a postal village north of Daughtery Ferry whose office operated 1900-1905.

Rathburn (see Soddy)

Red Bank was originally known as Pleasant Hill until 1875 when it was given a post office under a new name because there was already a Pleasant Hill, Tennessee.  The original community centered on the intersection of Dayton Pike and Ashland Road (Terrace).  In 1955, Red Bank united with the community of White Oak to the south as the town of Red Bank-White Oak, which changed to just Red Bank beginning in 1967.  Red Bank had a station on the Dry Valley Line of the Chattanooga Traction Railway.  The post office of Red Bank operated 1875-1902, when service moved to Valdeau.

Riverview is separated from North Chattanooga by Hixon Pike.  Once centered around the 30-room Lyndhurst mansion of John T. Lupton and still taking in the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club.  It was a stop on the North Chattanooga Street Railway and its successors.  Riverview was annexed in 1930.

Retro (see Bakewell)

Retro Coal Mine near Bakewell was worked by Hamilton Coal Company.  A spur Cincinnati, New Orleans, & Texas Pacific Railroad from Retro Station serviced the operation

Sale Creek centers on Railroad Street between Legget Road in the north and Reavley Road in the south, but spreads for some distance in all directions.  There has been a community here since the Hiwassee Purchase, before that if you count the Cherokee settlement.  Rock Creek depot was established here by the Cincinnati Southern Railway because the town of Sale Creek is actually on Rock Creek.  It originally was on its namesake but moved after the war.  Pressure from residents soon got the name changed to match the community.

During the early Civil War, William Clift’s 7th Tennessee Militia trained and lived here.  The post office of Sale Creek has operated continuously since 1841.  Like Soddy, Sale Creek was an early center for coal mining.  It is also the name of the creek which runs through it, so called for having been the site of the crossing of it by what was then Dry Valley Road (later Dayton Pike) at which the men on Evan Shelby’s expedition from the Overmountain settlements auctioned off the goods taken in the destruction of the Chickamauga Towns in 1779.  The creek’s headwaters sprout forth at the head of Cranmore Cove west of Dayton (formerly Smith’s Crossroads), seat of Rhea County.

Sale Creek Coal Mine Nos. 1 & 2 were operated first by Sale Creek Coal and Coke Company, then by Waldens Ridge Coal Company, then by Durham Coal and Iron Company.  Sale Creek Mine No. 1 was first dug in 1843.  After the war, like Soddy, its colliers were Welsh.

Sawyer’s Springs was a community centered on a seventy-room hotel at the eponymous spring on Walden’s Ridge, at or near the intersection of Sawyer Road and Corral Road overlooking
Falling Water.  The post office of Sawyers operated here 1890-1915.

Shady Grove is a community along Hixson Pike through Shady Grove Hollow north of its intersection with Thatcher Road.

Signal Mountain is a town at the southeast corner of Walden’s Ridge overlooking Cash Canyon to the south and Mountain Creek Valley to the east.  Incorporated in 1919, it is largely the creation of Chattanooga entrepeneur Charles E. James, though previous settlements had been established which the new town incorporated.

Signal Point is the terminus of Signal Point Road on Walden’s Ridge.  It gets its name from having been the signal post established by John T. Wilder during the Civil War.

Slabtown lies at the foot of Walden’s Ridge around Slabtown Road north of Rock Creek west of Sale Creek.

Springfield (see Mile Straight)

Soddy, like Sale Creek, goes back to the earliest days of Hamilton County, and before that to the Cherokee who lived here before the Hiwassee Purchase of 1819.  Its name is a corruption of the Cherokee “Itsati”, which has also been mangled as Sauta and Echota (Chota).  Even before the Civil War, it was a coal-mining center, which was a major draw for a sizable immigrant Welsh population.  When the Cincinnati Southern Railway established a station here, they first called it Soddy Coal Mines, but after it became confused one too many times with Roddy in northern Rhea County on the same railway, the depot became Rathburn.  The post office of Soddy first operated 1829-1845, and was revived to operate 1850-1972, when it merged with that of Daisy as Soddy-Daisy.  It is the oldest continually operating post office in the country.

Soddy Coal Mines Nos. 1-10 were operated in Little Soddy Gulf by the Soddy Coal Company, then Soddy Coal, Iron, and Railway Company, then by New Soddy Coal Company, all of which were local, then by Durham Coal and Iron Company out of North Carolina.  The first mine at Soddy began operation in 1866 with immigrant Welsh colliers.

Soddy Creek, also known as Big Soddy Creek, has its headwaters near the Sequatchie-Bledsoe countyline, a little southwest of Alexander Gap on the plateau of Walden’s Ridge.

Soddy Landing was the terminus on the Tennessee River of a spur off the Cincinnati Southern Railway from Rathburn depot (Soddy).  It had been a riverport for decades already.

Stanley was a post office at the mouth of Suck Creek that operated briefly in Hamilton County in 1828 before crossing into Marion County (the countyline splits Suck Creek), where it continued until 1918.

Stringer’s Ridge runs from the “big toe” of Moccasin Point to North Chickamauga Creek.

Stringer Springs (see Valdeau)

Suck Creek is a community spreading west and east from the mouth of Suck Creek along the right/north bank of the Tennessee River down Suck Creek Road and River Canyon Road.  It is also the name of a creek which starts at the confluence of North Suck Creek and South Suck Creek in the Hamilton-Marion countyline.  Its name derives from a major river navigation hazard at the confluence of Suck Creek and Tennessee River until the building of Hales Bar Dam.

Summertown once lay along the eastern brow of Walden’s Ridge north of Ivory-Chestnut Avenue.  It grew up from the late 19th century summer resorts of Mabbitt Springs and Three Oaks.  It is now well within the town limits of Walden.

Tenbridge was a signal station on the Cincinnati Southern Railway two-and-a-half miles south of Hixson, just north of the wye junction with the spur of Chattanooga Traction Railway to the C&D Junction with the latter railways Dry Valley Line.  It was originally named Red Bank, but that was changed because of the community of Red Bank nearby.

Three Oaks (see Summertown)

Timesville was a town planned for Walden’s Ridge by Adolph Ochs, owner and publisher of the Chattanooga Times, who raffled off chances to buy lots.  The development never goot off the ground, however.  Timesville Road off Taft Highway, and its Timesville Avenue extension, are all that remains, and the area has been absorbed into Fairmount.

Trewhitt was a post office a few miles slightly northeast of Hixson near the Tennessee River which operated 1883-1901.

Union Fork lies in the area along Old Dayton Pike from Union Fork Road to Lee Pike, and along Union Fork Road.  In the early 20th century, it had its own public school.

Valdeau grew up around the eponymous depot on the Dry Valley Line of the Chattanooga Traction Railway at the Dayton Pike (now Boulevard) crossing.  In the ante-bellum period, the area was known as Stringer’s Springs, after William Stringer, who built his home here.  The post office of Valdeau operated 1897-1915.

Vallambrosa once lay north of Spring Street between Stringers Ridge on the east to include Elmwood Avenue on the west.  It was the end of the Chattanooga and Northside Railway on top of Stinger’s Ridge, at a gazebo that was quite popular during the summer months.

Walden is an incorporated town immediately north of the town of Signal Mountain and east of the community of Fairmount atop Walden’s Ridge.  Its primary reason for incorporation was to prevent annexation by its larger neighbor to the south.

White Oak was a station on the Dry Valley Line of the Chattanooga Traction Railway and the community which grew up around it around the intersection of Memorial Drive (formerly White Oak Road) and Dayton Pike.  It joined with Red Bank as the town of Red Bank-White Oak in 1955, and became just Red Bank at the beginning of 1967.

White Oak Gap separates Stringer’s Ridge on the south and Cave Springs Ridge to the north, allowing North Chickamauga Creek to run through it.

Williams’ Landing occupied roughly the site of Baylor School, named for the “father of Chattanooga”, Samuel Williams.  The post office of Williams’ Landing operated 1878-1887.


Steve L. Smith said...

My name is Steve Smith and I am the Historian for Soddy, Daisy & Montake areas. I began my research in 1983 and a few of the early names of Soddy such as Soddy Coal Mines, I have never heard this before. Where did you get this information?



Chuck Hamilton said...

Several different business journals listing different mines, from several years, that I found online in pdf form, a few old maps at the Chattanooga Public Library, and some news articles in the local history section at CPL. Railroad journals, too. The Soddy Coals Mines went under in 1874. Here's one of the articles I looked at: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/opinion/columns/story/2018/may/13/elliottwelsh-coal-miners-transformed-soddy-af/470502/

Chuck Hamilton said...

Even though they are not really "communities", I included all the coal mines in this section to highlight how big a part of life in North Hamilton County it once was. Folks here have almost completely forgotten it.