Copyright 2007 * All rights reserved
J.C. (Jim) Tumblin, OD, DOS
3604 Kesterwood Drive, East
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918-2557
Lakeview (Circa 1985)
(Photo courtesy of Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel)
The Woodward-Morgan-Gentry House
J.C. Woodward moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Fountain City in 1890 and founded the
Fountain City Land Company. His
mansion, Park Place, was soon under construction.
Simultaneously, he was owner of the Fountain Head Hotel and overseeing
the excavation, embanking and impounding of the lake.
1892, the Land Company had decided that a college would markedly enhance the
community and pay dividends for local businesses.
The company approached the Holbrook family at their National Normal
University in Lebanon, Ohio, and agreed to provide a 13-acre site and underwrite
the construction of a college in Fountain City.
By 1893, W.H. Dawn had been engaged to construct a three-story main
building and two dormitories. Holbrook
Normal College opened that September with more than 100 students.
Hu Woodward (1880-1950)
(Courtesy of C.M. McClung Historical Collection)
Colonel’s son, Hu Woodward, was born on June 7, 1880, while the family still
resided in Lexington. He
received his early education in the public schools there, but later
completed a course of study at then famous Baker-Himel School after the family
moved to Knoxville. He attended the
University of Tennessee in 1896-7.
sources state that Col. J.C. Woodward built Lakeview overlooking the lake for
his son in 1890. The Knox County Tax
Assessor’s records indicate that the house was built in 1899.
We know that Col. Woodward was an atypical businessman and, by the
standards of his time, an unusually astute investor and overall high-achiever.
However, how many fathers build their son a home when the son is only 10
years old, if the 1890 date is correct? Or
when the son is 19, if the 1899 date is correct?
we have been unable to establish the exact date, it appears that Hu Woodward’s
Lakeview was built on a parcel of his father’s property in the 1890s.
Although extensively remodeled, much of the original home remains as the
core structure of the Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel.
on a fast track in his own career, Hu partnered with his father in 1898 to
purchase the Knoxville Business College, which had been established in 1882.
For a time Col. Woodward acted as president and Hu as
secretary-treasurer. On September 3, 1902, Hu and Nina C. Marsh, daughter of the
Henry Marsh family of Greeneville, Tennessee, were married.
Their union would produce two daughters, Cecil and Pauline.
James W. Baker, a 28-year-old bookkeeping professor at
Knoxville Business College, decided he could write a better bookkeeping text
than the one the college was using. He wrote the book and soon received numerous
requests for his 20th Century Bookkeeping
and Office Practices. With that
encouragement, he launched his own publishing house. Partnering with J.C. and Hu
Woodward, Baker set his plan in motion. On
February 6, 1903, South-Western Publishing Company was officially born.
Upon Col. Woodward’s retirement from active
participation in 1908, Hu became president of the business college which had
enrolled 150 students by 1913. The South-West Publishing Company grew to reach
sales of $50,000 by 1910. That same
year the partners moved the business to a downtown location in Cincinnati, Ohio.
By 1927, their 20th Century Touch Typewriting was the nationwide leader in its
field. Then McKinsey’s Accounting Principles became a market-leader and today
the text, re-titled Accounting Principles,
is in its 20th edition and still popular.
Col. Woodward’s family, Hu included, moved to 305 E. Fifth Avenue in 1903. Hu eventually purchased a winter home in West Palm Beach, Floridaand a summer home in Montclair, New Jersey. He passed away at 69 years of age on April 9, 1950 in Florida and was buried in Montclair, survived by his wife and two daughters.
Dr. Gideon H. Morgan, the subject of a future column,
purchased Lakeview in 1902. Elsie
Mae (Morgan) Bondurant, the doctor’s daughter, described the house and its
surrounds in an undated article which appears to have been published in the
My father loved keeping the grounds of
the five-acre lot. He grew flowers
and loved the birds. People visiting
the park below sometimes thought our yard was part of the park and came up to
sit on our lawn. He had signs up and
about everywhere reminding everyone not to disturb his birds.
A natural spring on the edge of the property provided “ice cold” water. Hu,
reportedly, kept a fine riding horse
and raised cattle there. At
that time the main façade was toward present-day Cedar Lane.
The entrance of the house led into the library which faced the parlor
across the large open space between the living and dining rooms where the
entrance to the funeral chapel is now. In
back of the parlor was the family room.
H.A. Rogers owned Lakeview for a short while after the Morgans, then sold it
to Dover Williams (1874-1924) in 1917. He
and his brother, John W. Williams, who resided at Park Place at the time, were
owners of coal mines in Harlan and Coxton, Kentucky and commuted back and forth on the
train. Dover was also an official
with the Williams Mine and Manufacturing Company, the vice-president of the Rock
Valley Asphalt Company and a stockholder in the Fountain City Bank and Trust
The Williams family lived there until 1943 when Lakeview was converted to
wartime apartments during World War II.
L. Glenard Gentry (1904-1971) purchased the property in 1948 and extensively
remodeled it to serve as the gracious home of Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel.
Note: Thanks to Sally R. Polhemus, Lee Chagnon, Jerry Griffey, Lynn Hutton and
the Staff of the Knox County Archives for their assistance.
Park Place, Part I and II and additional information and photographs can
be found on www.fountaincitytnhistory.info/.
Records of Col. J.C. Woodward’s Civil War service have not yet arrived
from the National Archives and Records Administration, so Park Place, Part III
is still pending.
Grady, James F. , Editor and Compiler, The City of Knoxville, Tennessee, and Vicinity and Their Resources (Knoxville Board of Trade, 1906).
Hutton, Lynn, "Spring Comes to Fountain City," Halls Shopper News (March 29, 2004).
"Former Knoxvillian, Hu Woodward, Dies," Knoxville News-Sentinel, April 4, 1950.
"Former Business School Owner Dies in Florida," Knoxville Journal, April 11, 1950.
D-Lakeview1WoodwardHu.doc (10/2/07= 1,058 words)