Save historic Williams/Hardy House (Littleholme) from destruction on Lookout Mountain, TN
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On a plot just south of Cravens House, on the side of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee is a 1920s Tudor Revival cottage. Although its existence is obscured by a large outcropping of rock and the Ohio monument, to the curious visitor has beckoned for almost 100 years. A short walk and a closer look might make you think that someone’s happily-ever-after was cut short. The storybook-style house has slowly fallen into neglect over the past two decades. Ivy and vines have grown to its roofline, the green paint on its timbers is peeling, and the stucco is blackened in places by mold.
A quick peek inside a window reveals that many of its decorative features, like fireplace mantel and ironwork, have been salvaged, absconded by thieves, or, hopefully, removed and stored by the local Park Service.
There’s nothing modern about this house. The two baths on the first floor are period with green and pink tile. The kitchen is small and gutted. It’s so original, that even in its abandoned state, it’s like being back in time.
The home was built in 1928 by Edith Soper Hardy. Her husband, industrialist, and a former mayor of Chattanooga, Richard “Dick” Hardy, died suddenly on August 14th, 1927. In his will, he specified that $25,000 would be pulled from his trust so his wife could purchase or build a home to her liking. Mrs. Hardy chose to tear down their cottage on Shingle Road and build a new one in its place. She employed a popular Chattanooga-based architect, Clarence T. Jones. At the same time, Jones was working on the J.B. Pound residence, Stonedge, on Lookout. Mrs. Hardy had plans for the old house drawn up a few months after her husband’s death showing the placement of various structures, walls, trees, a vegetable garden, cement walkways, and some of the property’s unique stone and rock storage areas.
The Hardys moved to Chattanooga from Chicago in 1910. From the beginning, they were both well-liked and active in the community. Edith was quite independent of her interests from her husband’s business and charitable activities. As the founder of the Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga, she would later become a national figure among humanitarians as a director of The American Humane Association and spent a year volunteering for the Red Star Society in New York City, New York. The Red Star provided much-needed medical supplies, veterinarians, and ambulances to the over 8 million horses, mules, and other animals that were used on the front lines during WWI. When she returned home, she continued her work with the Red Star by raising money locally and developed local training courses for those desiring to enter the Army veterinary corps at Camp Greenleaf.
It was said of Mrs. Hardy, "Her love for her own beautiful horses has made her interested in all others and she has given of her time and means so generously to the work of the Humane Society that her recent election as president, though adding to her burdens, was recognized as a deserved tribute. Dogs and birds, cats, horses, mules, all receive her loving ministration. Her loving manner in rebuking a brutal driver or thoughtless owner for some cruelty is so gentle yet so authoritative that few resent it."
Ethel Soper Hardy died at her brother’s house in North Carolina in 1944 at age 68. In 1947 the Williams' family moved in and would spend over 50 years in the home.
Since 2001 The National Park Service has owned the property and house. Originally, they planned to renovate the home and garage/servants quarters into lodging for rangers and bathrooms for the Cravens site. The Park then reported that the renovations to the home would cost an estimated $1.2 million. Recently, several local architects and preservations specialists estimate about $250,000. It was therefore decided that the house would be removed, and in a 2013 article of the Chattanoogan.com, a ranger was quoted as saying that the property would become parking. Later, a park official told me that the plans for demolition would come in the next few years.
The Williams/Hardy House, also known as Littleholme, is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park have acknowledged the home’s historic importance to Chattanooga. Yet it remains endangered from being torn down.
The reasoning for tearing down the home is that it wasn't there during the Civil War. However, there are many examples in the Park that are not of the Civil War era that have been put to public use. Even the adjacent Cravens House is a post Civil War structure that is often misrepresented as a Civil War structure by local Park officials. Ironically, the Cravens House was once endangered before a local group raised the money to restore it. We just want the same opportunity to save Littleholme.
Because the restoration and reuse of this home could be enjoyed by any of the one million-plus annual visitors to The Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, we encourage everyone, no matter of location, to sign this petition.
You can find out more about the Williams/Hardy House (Littleholme) at https://www.facebook.com/savinglittleholme/
The Williams/Hardy House, or Littleholme, was added to a local list of endangered properties due to its local historical significance and its current state of endangerment of being torn down by the National Park Service.
For those who want to contact the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park directly and speak with Superintendent Brad Bennett about saving Littleholme, here's his information below.
By phone and email
(423) 752-5213 x115 office
(229) 591-3972 mobile
Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park
3370 LaFayette Road
Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia 30742
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