John Shearer: Checking Out The Old Lupton City Property

Sunday, January 21, 2018 - by John Shearer

After hearing in recent days about the sale of the old Lupton City property that had once housed the large Dixie Yarns/Dixie Mercerizing Co. Mill, I thought it might be neat Sunday afternoon to go over and get some pictures of it before it begins to change.

I was of course careful to stand on the right side of the "No Trespassing" signs while doing it!

Today, except for the seemingly lightly used Lupton City golf course -- which has been a really historical and unique golfing treasure in Chattanooga over the years -- the grounds of the old mill look like a definite ghost town.

Other than about three old buildings along Mercer Street, including one that looks like it would catch the eyes of idealistic historic preservationists, not much remains of an old plant that for years employed hundreds of Chattanoogans and was headed by the prominent Lupton and Frierson families.

Now it almost looks like a hollowed-out area in a decaying part of town.

Of course, that is soon to change. It has been announced that Riverton LLC has purchased the more than 200 acres and plans a development of more than $200 million that will include estate homes, townhomes, condominiums, single-family residences and senior living facilities. It will also feature a planned town center with shops, as well as park and trail areas, although the golf course will be phased out, officials have said.

The city of Chattanooga is also scheduled to clean up the site after work on removing the old mill's construction materials was not finished by a previous party.

When I went over there Sunday, the weather was quite nice, and a panoramic view could be seen at some places. The old ballfields near the turnoff to Rivermont Park were still slightly visible, despite the fact they have become mostly overgrown in recent years. The fields were likely used by employees of the mill and the community.

I thought of the times I was on the field playing sports once or twice in elementary school and when I used to jog around it with our Westie dog, Buster, when my wife, Laura, and I lived not far from there in the 1990s.

I then drove up by the cottage-style golf course clubhouse -- which uniquely has rough wood columns with branches slightly sticking out -- and thought about the few times I played the course. I remember playing it as a child around 1970 with Tommy Childers, whose father, Rex Childers, worked in sales for Dixie Yarns.

I also played there once or twice while a member of the Baylor high school golf team in the 1970s, including once against Red Bank High. I think Girls Preparatory School may have used the course for a period around this same time when they were producing a few future college golf pioneers in the early days of Title IX.

On Sunday, only a few people were out on this course, the primary hazards of which have been, not water and sand, but hills and blind shots.

Around the golf course and other areas of the sold property are several pockets of woods featuring old hardwood trees.

I then checked out some of the buildings over on the west side of the old mill from the course. I once interviewed the postmaster there and did a newspaper story about how Lupton City uniquely had its own post office and ZIP code. That building is apparently gone.

Still standing a few yards north -- although barely -- is the old gymnasium where I played church basketball for about three years for Red Bank United Methodist Church in the late 1970s. I was able to play some sports on the high school varsity level, but there was something extra fun about playing church basketball. Our coach was Zack Coley, and we practiced at the vintage old former Red Bank High gymnasium on Dayton Boulevard that was torn down in recent years.

Zack's grandfather, Clyde Abernathy, ran the recreation program at Lupton City/Dixie Yarns for a number of years before being asked to manage the Valleybrook Golf Club after it opened in the early 1960s.

While standing in this area and looking across the fence at the rubble from the old mill, I also thought about all the employees who worked there. Did they ever think a major riverfront housing development would take the mill's place?

Many of the houses that were built for company employees in the early 1900s are still there. Although that area is now considered a modest area in which to live, and has always been, that might change with the new developments. So, if I ever want to invest in old houses, I might want to look there.

I also noticed that these old houses had several different designs. Several in a row had two columns near each other on the front porch, while on another street, shaved-off roof lines on the front were present.

The area is getting ready to change, but a few landmarks bordering the property will likely remain and catch an eye even more, I deduced.

jcshearer2@comcast.net

 



Former Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey Endorses Marc Gravitt For Register Of Deeds

Marc Gravitt, Republican candidate for Hamilton County Register of Deeds, received the endorsement of former Hamilton County Mayor and former Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey.  "Marc has been an effective public servant and will continue to do a great job in the role of Register of Deeds,” said Mr. Ramsey who served as the chief executive of Hamilton County for 16 years. “Marc’s ... (click for more)

Free Weather Radios Available For Whitfield County Residents On Thursday

Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency will be giving away 100 NOAA Weather Radios on Thursday, from 4-6 p.m. at the Dalton Fire Station  4, 1800 Dug Gap Road  in Dalton. The radios will be presented to Whitfield County residents on a first-come, first-serve basis, one per household with proof of residency. If one received a radio from EMA in the past two ... (click for more)

1 Dead, Another Injured In Shooting On Carousel Road

One man was shot and killed and another man injured in a shooting on Carousel Road lateTuesday afternoon. The incident happened around 5:25 p.m. One man was dead at the scene, and the other was taken to a hospital. Carousal Road is off Greenwood Road in a neighborhood behind Taylor Funeral Home on Wilcox Boulevard. (click for more)

City Council Approves TIF For Extension Of MLK Boulevard To The Riverwalk

The City Council voted Tuesday to approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to extend MLK Boulevard across Riverfront Parkway to the Blue Goose Hollow Trailhead at the Riverwalk. The agreement is with Evergreen Real Estate of Nashville to build the extension across property it has already begun to develop at the site across from the old Newton Chevrolet and Kelly Subaru. The developer ... (click for more)

MLK Boulevard TIF Is A Public Scam From People You Should be Able To Trust

TIFs (Tax Incremental Financing) were created to allow cities to do projects they cannot afford.  A TIF project also allows various private construction costs to be subsidized by sequestered  future  property taxes that normally would go into the general fund for running a city. It’s credit card spending with a new fancy name. Politicians love it because it sounds ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Want To Buy An AK-47?

On Sunday night I got an email from a reader who I enjoy that read, “How about, ‘Don’t sell assault weapons to 18-year-olds.’ The blood is on your hands (and all the other gun and violence idolaters)!” While I beg to disagree with him, this is a nation where – right now, this minute -- there are an estimated ONE TRILLION rounds of ammunition and over 300 million firearms. I can ... (click for more)