Built by Mr. C.E. James, this lovely residence on Flint Street still retains the essence and Craftsman style of the early days on Signal Mountain. It was an addition to Mr. James’s colony that opened to the public in 1913. The tragedy and the triumph of The Great War remained fresh in the minds of those who stayed at the Signal Mountain Inn, moved to the mountain permanently or purchased homes to occupy during the summer months.
The bungalow at 207 Flint Street was constructed about 1918 with a foundation of mountain stone. There was a large amount of stone available for building homes as a result of blasting limestone to make the road up the mountain. The exterior of this structure is stucco with stone. There is a shed roof over a porch with a facade door and dormer that are located in the center of the front of the house. The garage was added in 1980.
Trees were cut all over Mr. James’ land, and the timber was used for both the Inn and new cottages. Other materials were brought up the W Road.
The house’s first occupant was the C.F. Milburn family. After living there a short time, the Milburns moved to River Point Road. In 1921, the J.C. Henriques bought this residence and resided there for about 10 years. W.A. Norvell purchased the property in 1931. Mr. Norvell managed the Bell Telephone Co. before working as a salesman for the Monsanto Chemical Company. According to Karl Hawk, the couple later moved to the “Hawks Nest,” a number of cottages that Karl Hawk owned and rented to individuals. Following Mr. Norvell’s death, Mrs. Norvell moved to the Park Hotel. Their son, Bill Norvell, was a stockbroker and a builder, and he built several homes on Golf Drive. He also developed Norvell Drive, living in one of the homes on the street that bears his name. An avid golfer, Bill Norvell won many championships.
James M. McCloud bought this home in 1945. The next owner was William A. Galloway, who married Merna White, the only daughter of George White, former mayor of Signal Mountain and Wilder Drive resident. Merna Galloway was a real estate agent in business with Bill Hall. Their agency, Galloway Hall, was located on Palisades Drive. Merna sold 207 Flint Street to Dr. and Mrs. Don Russell, who raised their children in this picturesque mountain setting and house that was built over one 100 years ago.
Louise Russell, an avid gardener, found numerous horseshoes in the yard over the years. That information fit with stories of an early blacksmith shop nearby. At the time this home was constructed, travel was limited, and most people could ride a horse but could not drive a car. The roads were not paved until much later and only little by little. Until recently, I didn’t know where the horses for the guests to ride were stabled, but knew they were close to the Inn. While reading about The Signal Mountain School on Slayton Street, I learned that horses and six Texas burros were owned and rented out to riders by Charlie Coker from The Signal Mountain Stables, near the school. (One favorite burro was named Wabbleneck.) The Inn’s guests rode them on the many bridle paths to Signal Point and other points of interest. Mr. James built the school and the stables in his mission to improve life on Signal Mountain.
Folks who built homes near the Inn became part of the Inn community and were encouraged to use the playground equipment on the lawn of the Inn, as well as the pool, Rainbow Lake and tennis courts. All the recreation, in addition to the dining room and grill at the Inn, were within easy walking distance. Spring water was brought several times a day from Burnt Cabin Springs for the enjoyment of guests at the Inn, and groceries were delivered from the Signal Mountain Grocery Store. The citizens only needed to ride the streetcar to Chattanooga for other items. It’s hard to imagine that a century ago, this new idyllic colony was practically self-sufficient.