John Shearer: 2 Forgotten Photos Of Lyndhurst Mansion Rediscovered

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Over the years, the legend of the Lyndhurst mansion in Riverview seems to have grown.

Built about 1910 and designed by Atlanta architect W.T. Downing, the 34,000-square-foot structure was one of the largest and most elegant homes in the South of its era.

The fact that it was torn down in 1960 for the construction of some mid-century homes added to its mystique, as did the story that it was vacant for nearly 20 years before being razed.

The wealth that homeowner J.T. Lupton had gained from bottling such an identifiable drink as Coca-Cola and the benefiting foundation named after the home have also kept the structure somewhat in the public eye.

While the attention on the home located off Riverview Road just a couple hundred yards north of the current Riverview Park has been great over the years, the number of photographs of it has been small.

Besides a couple of photos taken from the air and one or two taken from the front, few other photographs seemed to have been published in recent decades or are easily accessible to the public domain.

But a recent glance at some old bound volumes of Zella Armstrong’s The Lookout magazine on file at the Chattanooga Public Library uncovered two more.

Suzette Raney from the library staff has tried to go through and index names and references in the volumes of the periodical local magazine published by the noted social writer and historian of the early 20th century, and she found several references to Lyndhurst.

I decided to check through her listings and found two photographs I had not seen before. One, in an April 1923 edition and which ended up scanning in kind of a grainy quality, shows the first-ever close-up of the back of the home I have ever seen.

Virtually every window has an awning over it, perhaps due to the fact that the backside of the home faced the setting sun in those pre-air conditioning days. Numerous fireplace chimneys are also present.

One can also get a feel for what the terraced gardens area in the back must have looked like.

The other, from an April 1931 magazine, shows Mr. Lupton in a Marmon Club Roadster in front of the home. Marmon was a popular higher-end car of the early 20th century.

The Marmon company was known for such innovations as inventing the rear view mirror. A Marmon also won the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.

The caption below the picture of Mr. Lupton said the car had been displayed in auto shows in New York and Chicago.

Mr. Lupton’s son, Cartter, who in the late 1920s built a nice home a few yards south of Lyndhurst, must have inherited his father’s interest in automobiles. He had a grease bay in his garage and liked to drive the more-modest Pontiacs.

Since this photo was taken apparently not long before the older Mr. Lupton’s death in 1933 and after the Luptons had lived in the residence for more than 20 years, Lyndhurst has a little more lived-in look. The curtain/drapes treatment on one of the windows looks a little uneven, for example.

But most consider Lyndhurst a perfect example of fine residential construction from that era.

Besides visually enhancing the Scenic City through nice homes, the Luptons played a large role in the growth of Chattanooga’s culture and education. That continued through Mr. Lupton’s late grandson, Jack Lupton, who helped revitalize Chattanooga’s riverfront.

And that cultural altruism has continued with his children as well. For example, Jack’s daughter, Alice L. Smith, is being honored this week at the Hunter Museum of American Art as one of the recipients of the Ruth Holmberg Arts Leadership Award. The late musician Booker Scruggs II is also being recognized.

The event is to take place at a facility that includes the former home of another Coca-Cola bottler, George T. Hunter, although the structure was built by Ross Faxon.

The influence of Coca-Cola bottling on Chattanooga definitely did not fizzle out, and now two more photos continue to show its visual and cultural impact in a historical sense as well.

Now all we need are some elusive interior shots of Lyndhurst!

PHOTOS: Stubblefield Family Cemetery

One of Hamilton County’s smaller cemeteries sits inside a busy industrial park in Chattanooga. The Stubblefield family cemetery on Hickory Valley Road is surrounded by a hum of activity in the Enterprise South industrial park. According to the website of the Hamilton County Genealogical Society, which cites a 1939 WPA survey, the cemetery includes the remains of David Phillips, ... (click for more)

Brenans Lived On Cherry Street At Site Of Future Loveman's

Richard Valentine Brenan was a talented shoemaker, and he was an outspoken Chattanooga political and labor leader as well. Though he was born in 1822 in London, England, his parents were Irish and his allegiance was always to the Emerald Isle. The family returned from England to Ireland and the elder Brenan was a publisher. His newspaper was "devoted to ... (click for more)

Volkswagen Sets Press Conference To Announce New Project; Governor Haslam To Attend

Volkswagen has called a press conference at its Chattanooga plant on Monday to announce "a new project." Governor Bill Haslam is among those set to attend. Also taking part will be Antonio Pinto, president and CEO of the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant, and Hinrich J. Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen group of America. The announcement will be at 2:30 p.m. at the plant ... (click for more)

Herman Brown Charged After Striking A Pedestrian March 10

Herman Brown, Sr. 50, was indicted by the Grand Jury and arrested by the Chattanooga Police Department for striking a pedestrian on E. 11th St. on March 10.  Brown was charged with aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault, driving under the influence (2nd offense), driving on revoked license, financial responsibility and due care. Police said the accident happened ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Airport Needs To Upgrade Its TSA PreCheck Benefits

Dear Mr. Jacobson and Mr. Hart,  I am a lifelong Chattanoogan who enjoys traveling. Since the birth of my toddler son in April 2016, my husband and I have been frequent patrons of the Chattanooga Airport for almost all of our flights, both business and pleasure, as this saves us time and is very convenient. In fact, our 22-month-old son has flown 24 segments with us in his ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

As your dress in your best green outfit today so you can join in the Saint Patrick’s Day revelry, here’s a conversation that was overhead at an Irish pub in Killarney. Finnegan is sitting in his favorite corner, using some of the proceeds after selling his friend Michael a donkey. Suddenly Michael bolts in the door and yells, “Hey, Finnegan, that donkey you sold me went and died.' ... (click for more)