Residents Urged To Use Caution As Heavy Rains Bring Flash Flood Warning

Moccasin Bend Racetrack Mystery Solved

Monday, July 9, 2018 - by John Shearer

A reader recently emailed chattanoogan.com regarding an old map that showed a racetrack on Moccasin Bend, and he was wondering what kind of track it was.

 

After a brief story ran saying information was sought, at least two readers responded pointing out that it was an old car racetrack in the 1950s.

 

Someone also sent an aerial photo of the track that was in an old 1950s “Pass Time” discount coupon book.

 

And as it turned out, longtime chattanoogan.com historical writer Harmon Jolley had also written a story about the track in 2010. In the article, he said that it had been started by local grocer Herbert Clay Kirk on his 80-acre farm on Moccasin Bend and was in operation as a track for about three years in the mid-1950s.

 

He wrote that Mr. Kirk later moved to Florida, where he continued his successful career as a grocer.

 

Among the readers who responded recently to the request for information, Joe Sherrill, now of Mineral Springs, N.C., said that his father had raced on the dirt track with high banks in the 1950s and that several tracks existed in the area over the years.

 

“One of the earliest was at Warner Park,” he said. “It was for trotters and sulkies in the early part of the 20th century and race cars in the ‘30s and ‘40s, according to my dad.”

 

Mr. Sherrill also said that back in the 1980s when he was a Chattanooga police officer, he actually went on the then-closed Moccasin Bend track.

 

“There were several of us who had Jeeps. We would go out on the Bend and go Jeep racing around that track, which at that time was just muddy ruts. Other times we would go out there on dirt bikes.” 

 

Steve Hawthorne of Chattanooga added that he and some friends also went out on the track around 1979 and also remembers its run-down condition after decades of neglect.

 

“My friends and I would take laps in whatever we had, on the old rough track,” he said. “I remember there was one dirt road we kind of cleared out to get to the track. The infield of the track had grown over with small trees. There was a small wall still in places around the track.

 

“The turn seemed to bank slightly,” he said.

 

Both Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Sherrill think the track might have been taken over by the Moccasin Bend water treatment facility.

 

But it is still apparently quite vivid in their memory.

 

“I work near there now and have often thought of the track’s location,” said Mr. Hawthorne.

 

* * * * *

 

To read Harmon Jolley’s 2010 story on the racetrack, click here.

http://www.chattanoogan.com/2010/2/20/169388/River-City-Racing---the-Moccasin-Bend.aspx

 

* * * * *

 

jcshearer2@comcast.net



Tennessee State Museum Announces Permanent And Temporary Exhibitions For October Opening

In October, a bold new vision for the Tennessee State Museum will be realized when it opens at the northwest corner of Rosa L. Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. It’s the first and only building in the museum’s 81-year history dedicated exclusively for its use. Housed in a 137,000-square-foot facility, the new location is built with the ... (click for more)

John Shearer: Remembering When Burt Reynolds Came To Chattanooga

As a shy teenager growing up in Chattanooga in the 1970s, I had a movie role model to follow in trying to figure out how to have charisma, learn to have self-confidence and be outgoing, and be masculine and appealing to females.  The person, of course, was longtime actor Burt Reynolds, who died Thursday of a heart attack at age 82. He was a man’s man, so to speak, even ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Under Flash Flood Warning As Heavy Rains Continue

Heavy rains throughout Monday brought water over many Hamilton County roads and into some businesses. The front area of the Mapco in the 8100 block of Standifer Gap Road was a small lake. The Sheriff's Office said, "Drivers in the Middle Valley and East Brainerd Road areas are encouraged to avoid driving in low lying areas. All drivers should exercise caution. "Drivers ... (click for more)

Mountain City Club Considering Sale Of Downtown Club To Developer Defoor

Officials of the Mountain City Club are considering sale of the property at Eighth and Chestnut to a developer. Dan Saieed, club president, said the board was approached by developer Byron Defoor with an offer for the property. He said the club is facing declining membership and extreme  financial issues so is considering the offer. The Defoor group developed the nearby ... (click for more)

Why I'm Voting Republican And So Should You

For much of my life, the commitment to the Democratic Party has puzzled me. I was raised to analyze both sides of issues and to make an intelligent decision based upon that information. The values of self-reliance, hard work, and individual liberty that I grew up with were the same American values that have made this country exceptional. As I have grown older, I have witnessed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Genius Stroke

If all goes as (very carefully) planned, the most dynamic president to be hired at the University of Tennessee since the legendary Andy Holt retired in 1970, will be ushered into office today by the university’s board of trustees. The selection of Randy Boyd to take over his ala mater is a genius stroke and certainly seems to solidify two of life’s greatest truths. The first ... (click for more)