Jan 19 2009
09:59 am
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett:

Does anyone recognize this?

Hello Readers, I thought I would start this column off with a picture I happened to run across taken from a 1917 Rockwood City directory. This is the first city directory printed for Rockwood. According to the foreward, the population was 4,953..not a lot of difference in our population now. The directory also says, "there are two mining companies, the Knox Mining Company, (coal miners), and the Brown Mining Company, (miners of iron ore.). These are serving two large blast furnaces making 150,000 tons annually, with a foundry and a machine shop. The town has grown out of the woods in which it was first located into what was then cornfields. In addition to Roane Iron Company, there are machine shops capable of handling the largest and heaviest types of work, one foundry for general work, one for stove work, one $110,000 cast iron pipe foundry being built, a $200,000 knitting mill, one overall and underwear manufacturer, a $40,000 ice plant, a large bottling works, an excelsior plant, besides various other industries aggregating a payroll of over $200,000 a month

Besides that, there were two large wholesale grocery stores, a $16,000 hospital, many houses amounting to more than $100,000 in the year 1917. The Fire Department has a pressure of eighty-seven pounds to the inch (and a supply reservoir of three million gallons) at the hydrant, which is enough force to reach the tallest buildings. The department is fully equipped and handled with a gasoline engine. Two railroads serve the town, the Southern and Tennessee Central and the L&N is completed within ten miles of Rockwood. A $50,000 High School building has recently been erected, but the growing needs of the town will soon require an addition of equal size. There are eight churches, and the town can boast of a larger number of communicants and a larger number of Sunday or Bible School attendants of any town of its population in the country. The banks are strong and reliable with efficient means to finance any enterprise locating within the limits of the corporation. The greatest need of Rockwood at the present time, is more hotel and boarding-house accommodations as it is at the crossing of the Memphis to Bristol and the Dixie Highways.

As you can see, our "Company Store" sold everything. I wonder where they got the oysters from? I am sure it took a while to get them shipped in.

An interesting article by Mrs. A.T.Grant Sr. on the origin of Rockwood street names that you might enjoy, shows these streets being named for..

Evans St....Harry K. Evans, a cashier at Roane Iron Co. although some believe it was named for Henry Clay Evans, who was Chattanooga Industralist and Statesman, Roane Iron Official.

Nelson St....Capt. W.L. Nelson , a former Mine Superintendent

Harris St..... Capt. Harris, who was a co-founder with Gen Wilder, It was first called Welsh Row.

Rockwood's second street to be named was Spring St...for a spring now filled up near the old T/C depot

Reese St. near the Campbell School was for Major Reese

Wilder St...naturally was for General Wilder

Chamberlain St. ..for H.S. Chamberlain a former president of Roane Iron Company.

Wheeler St. was formerly Lord St.

Strang St. was originally Rathburn.

Duncan St. was named for former Roane Iron Supt. W. S. Duncan

Patton Ave was named for a former "furnace man" father of John A. Patton

Tate St....was named for a former Roane Iron Co. Store Manager

Tedder St. was named for Jack Tedder

I think it is about time we renamed a few of them...Tom Pemberton Ave, Maurice Grief St...what do you think?

In closing, Don Burchfield (Class of 1950) called me Sat. and ordered a couple of "Rockwood Memories". We had a nice chat about Don's growing up in Rockwood and his memories of the Rifle Team. I sure hope he will send me some stories about it. The reader lists continues to grow, over 1150 people now get this every week....I will be having rotator cuff surgery Thursday, Jan. 22., and Gennell don't type too well, so I don't know if a column will be written or not.....But I will try.....until next week, Ray

I believe

that I am writing this post from the building shown in the first picture. It is at the corner of Front and Rockwood. According to the owner, Floyd Hutcherson, his car dealership still on the property -- Hutch Automobiles -- is carrying on the legacy of the oldest continuously operating car dealership in the State of Tennessee. His father owned it before him, and ran a Plymouth dealership there.

I second the motion for a Grief and Pemberton street.

Hope your surgery goes well.

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