John Shearer: Mountain Creek Road Undergoing Changes

Saturday, August 18, 2018 - by John Shearer

In recent weeks – or maybe months – roadside signs have been appearing along Mountain Creek Road in relatively large numbers.

 

They are not political signs, which were found all over Chattanooga this summer, but “for sale” signs.

 

Due apparently to the economy, a market for people wanting to live within 10 minutes of downtown Chattanooga, and maybe some longtime large property owners ready to sell, Mountain Creek Road has been like one big yard sale.

 

Also, one or two places that recently sold seem to be under construction, and a good percentage of the few remaining reminders of old – some of which have been quite charming to gaze at -- have disappeared or are threatened.

 

As Bob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a changing.”

 

Of course, Mountain Creek Road was not exactly pastoral until just five years ago. Not long after that area was annexed in the 1960s, the bulldozers showed up and began carving up areas along the road for apartments for young adult singles, families and others.

 

While much of this land did fill out with apartments and later senior living facilities -- and subdivisions farther from the street – Mountain Creek Road kind of waned in recent years as the most popular place in Chattanooga for multi-unit living.

 

And a few single homes of old – some of which had a little acreage around them – still remained to give at least a small glimpse of what the once-rural street looked like.

 

But then Mountain Creek Road 2.0 began evolving almost organically, and much of what remained now seems to be on the way to being changed, too. Of course, it is all part of progress and property rights, even if it is a little painful for the sentimental types.

 

All this change has actually manifested itself in many forms. First, there were the disappearances of at least three historic structures. They included the old Mountain Creek Elementary School that was part of Signal Mountain Self-Storage by the W Road; the old bungalow-style Moses family home across from North Runyan Drive, which was later an office; and the old Bean mid-century family ranch home directly across from Red Bank Elementary.

 

A plain-looking new storage facility now sits where the classic school was, a nice multi-unit building sits where the bungalow home did, and some apartments are being built on the Bean land.

 

Actually, with the latter, it looks more like the Great Wall of China due to the large retention walls being put into place along the street during the early phases of construction. The Bean yard that gently sloped up into some woods has been reshaped greatly and now looks more like a quarry, or at least a dirt quarry.

 

Some remodeling of older apartments also appears to be taking place. The Radius Mountain Creek Apartments just south of Red Bank Elementary have had the facings on their buildings converted from a 1970 look to a chic new North Shore type apartment look.

 

The now-overgrown and closed Quarry Golf Course might soon have a new look, too. Pratt Home Builders is looking at developing the land, and it has been in the news over an old post oak tree that some area residents hope gets preserved.

 

Perhaps most significant of all for those who don’t like change is that a couple of pastoral-looking and mowed hilly fields featuring a couple of homes or barns each might soon go the way of much of the rest of Mountain Creek and be developed.

 

Some other pieces of land that were overgrown or were already partly cleared for development might also be fully developed in the near future.

 

There are still a small handful of older homes with pastoral-style charm remaining along Mountain Creek Road, and maybe one or two small pieces of land that don’t have any “for sale” signs on them.

 

But Mountain Creek Road is no doubt becoming even more urban.

 

Although steps are being taken to preserve some mountainside and wooded acreage going up Signal Mountain a little above Mountain Creek Road, none of the current open fields seems on the way to being preserved as a public park space.

 

At least that appears to be the situation at present.

 

As a result, it might soon be time to say goodbye to most of the Mountain Creek of old, a place that a half century or more ago was one of the prettier swaths of pastoral valley farmland found in the Chattanooga area.

 

Mountain Creek Road residents, of course, will still have the nice and small park and walking trail next to Red Bank Elementary School.

 

But will many one day think more should have been preserved?

 

* * * * *


Note: This is another in a series of stories looking at, analyzing and critiquing Chattanooga’s architectural, urban and pastoral landscape. To see the previous story in the series, read here:

http://www.chattanoogan.com/2018/8/5/373946/John-Shearer-UTC-Campus-Has-An.aspx

 

* * * * *

 

Jcshearer2@comcast.net



Dalton Police Department Promotions Headline Public Safety Commission Meeting

Two longtime members of the Dalton Police Department had their promotions to the rank of lieutenant confirmed by unanimous vote of the Public Safety Commission. Lieutenants Ricky Long and Barry Woods were both presented for promotion by Chief Cliff Cason at the commission’s monthly meeting  Tuesday  morning. Lt. Long joined the Dalton Police Department in March 2000 ... (click for more)

Center For Creative Arts Hosts 18th Annual Chattanooga Dances!

The 18th annual Chattanooga Dances! concert will be presented in the Center for Creative Arts Auditorium Thursday, Oct. 18, at 7 p.m. The concert highlights the city’s non-profit dance organizations, along with those schools that maintain a full dance curriculum. Companies appearing on this year’s concert will be Ballet Tennessee, Barger Academy’s Movement Makers, Baylor’s Verve, ... (click for more)

City Council Considering Possible Curbs On Steep Slope, Flood Plain Development

The City Council, which is considering possible curbs on steep slope and flood plain development, heard a presentation on the topic from the Regional Planning Agency staff on Tuesday. Councilman Darrin Ledford said a public hearing will come next. He said the council hears frequent criticism of development on steep hillsides and lowlands, "and I expect a great turnout for the ... (click for more)

Judge Denies New Trial For Unjolee Moore In 2010 Murder

Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has denied a new trial for a man convicted of a 2010 murder. Unjolee Moore, at a recent hearing, claimed that he made a confession after being beaten by a detective and held for over 13 hours while handcuffed behind his back. He a lso said he had ineffective assistance of counsel. His current lawyer, Daniel Murphy, said he was able to obtain ... (click for more)

Why I'm Voting Republican And So Should You

For much of my life, the commitment to the Democratic Party has puzzled me. I was raised to analyze both sides of issues and to make an intelligent decision based upon that information. The values of self-reliance, hard work, and individual liberty that I grew up with were the same American values that have made this country exceptional. As I have grown older, I have witnessed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Genius Stroke

If all goes as (very carefully) planned, the most dynamic president to be hired at the University of Tennessee since the legendary Andy Holt retired in 1970, will be ushered into office today by the university’s board of trustees. The selection of Randy Boyd to take over his ala mater is a genius stroke and certainly seems to solidify two of life’s greatest truths. The first ... (click for more)