Lakeview

Copyright 2007 * All rights reserved
J.C. (Jim) Tumblin, OD, DOS
3604 Kesterwood Drive, East
Knoxville, Tennessee 37918-2557
(865) 687-1948

Fountain City Places That Made A Difference

Lakeview (Circa 1985)

(Photo courtesy of Gentry-Griffey Funeral Chapel)

Lakeview

Part 1

The Woodward-Morgan-Gentry House

Hu Woodward (1880-1950)  

Col. 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.    

By 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)

The 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. 

Some 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?   

Although 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.   

Obviously 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, Florida and 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 1950s:

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 Company.  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.

Author’s 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.

References:

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)