Happy New Year!
When I am in Chattanooga, I love riding through the historic district of Fort Wood. There are many homes built in the mid-to-late 1800’s that are being beautifully renovated, such as this “old timer” located at 800 Vine Street and originally built for Joseph H. Warner.
A document from the Historic American Building Survey says: “The house is a ‘high Queen Anne’ structure, with pressed red brick, stone trim, and solid oak paneling and woodwork in the interior. The hallways are large, and a fine attention to detail was paid to the terra-cotta and rusticated stone trim.
“This home was designed by architects Townsend and Stone with one idea in mind: extravagance. But its features also mask the luxurious interior, blending into the surrounding community with ease.
“Construction began on the home in 1890 and was completed in 1891.
“The real question is, then, who was this Joseph H. Warner?
“Born in Sumner County in the year 1842, Warner made his mark early by participating in the Civil War. In 1862, he joined Company A, 19th Tennessee Regiment Confederate Infantry, until he was captured at Missionary Ridge.
“He then spent the rest of the war in a federal prison.
“Upon his return, Warner sought to change the lives of Chattanoogans and launched an extensive hardware business.
“Eventually, that business would grow to include areas such as coal, iron, banking—Warner was one of the original organizers for Third National Bank—and railroad.
“Warner become known as ‘practically the founder and creator of the modern street railway in [Chattanooga],’ according to the HABS document.
“Before his death in 1923, Warner was the first city commissioner of public utilities, grounds and buildings, which is the reason Chattanooga’s Warner Park bears his name to this day.
“According to Maury Nicely in his ‘Chattanooga Walking Tour and History Guide,’ Warner ‘practically laid the first stone in the founding of a playground system in the city.’
“When built, the Joseph H. Warner home cost $26,000.”