Missionary Ridge Plane Crash
Big Red

Charlotte, NC

#62 Aug 17, 2012
Those huge old homes on the Ridge were right up there in quality with the old mansions that were torn down when Cameron Hill was leveled back in the late 50s. The old Montague mansion was one of the most beautiful ones on the Hill. It had an Italian design of stucco and tiled roof. There was a pipe organ on the double staircase landing, a goldfish pond with fountain in the foyer, and Scalamadre gold and salmon silk brocade covered walls in the ballroom parlors. The huge ballroom had Palladian doors that opened to an Italian terrace leading down stairs to a formal garden that was beyond belief. What a waste of lovely architecture.
Reginald Jarvis

Hixson, TN

#63 Oct 10, 2012
The Name of the pilot was Captain William E. Blair. The plack was in fact palced at # 8 firehall in Ridgedale but was moved. It is now posted just through the East Ridge tunnel at Post 95 of The American Legion which is now named in his honor.
biggbear44

AOL

#64 Jan 6, 2013
the plane that hit the ridge came right over me in east chattanooga on fire i was 5 years old 68 now been about 64 years came out of the north

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#65 Jan 6, 2013
the plane came right over me in east chattanooga when i was 4 68 now so about 64 years ago it was on fire i will never forget what i saw
Jack Walker

North Hollywood, CA

#66 Feb 3, 2013
As a 10 year old that September day, growing up at Main St/Woodward Avenue in what was known as the "big house" (built in 1866 by Mr. Roberts, who built most of the original homes on those blocks), I was playing outside with buddies when we saw/heard the B-25, on fire, flying southbound, with parachutes bailing out. It flew directly over our heads and we ran toward the parachute that landed in tree a block away. We saw the parachute open, then instantly separate/come off the crew member ... who hit the hard Ridgedale Grammar school playground near the southeast corner. A buddy lived across the street and saw the body hit, bounce about 3 ft in the area, then settle to ground. That imprint remained for several years; was always a place kids gathered at recess. Capt. Blair became instant hero and soon people in Ridgedale began putting money into jars at the #8 firehall and others. Bye and bye the plaque was installed in the north yard of the firehall. The firemen were our role models; the Friday night free movies were highlight of the week.// The flight had originated Spokane, WA, enroute to Marietta, GA; had made fueling stop at Lovell Field (an AAF auxilary field that Harry Porter commanded), then on take-off, left turn and climbing on course, developed fire first in left engine, then the right. Appears Capt. Blair was attempting return to land Runway 2, but when he saw couldn't make it, purposedly guided away from hitting our grammar school and all the homes. Next day some of us walked up Old Ringgold Rd and down to wreck site. We all collected pieces that were scattered everywhere. But like so many such items such as Civil War bits/pieces we found the woods all the time ... eventually they went out in the trash when Mom cleaned house! After Ridgedale, did 7-8 grade at Red Bank, then graduated 9th at East Side and Central in 1957.
Jack Walker

North Hollywood, CA

#67 Feb 3, 2013
Basic crash data: B-25J, serial # 44-30138
Date: Sept. 30, 1949
Home Base: Fairchild AFB, Spokane,WA
Group: 91 ABG
Fatalities: 4
Pilot: Capt. William E. Blair
Central Teacher Mr. Towery took picture that
later appeared in LIFE magazine:
http://www.amazon.com/CREW-HITS-THE-SILK-Chat...

NOTE: continuing to search I found this, the most informative - an article from one of the survivors. This corrects some facts I've had since that long ago. For instance, the B-25 had departed Ft. Gordon, GA (near Augusta) returning a group of MPs to Fairchild AFB near Spokane; after attending 2 weeks of training. This is Airman Richard Hambym's account from that day; published as part of the 50th Anniversary near Spokane.
http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/ar...
Big Red

Charlotte, NC

#68 Feb 3, 2013
Thanks, Jack,
I was 4 years old when it happened. My father was in the group sent from the local TN National Guard to handle crash site security. The crash was just years from the home of MAJ Swartz, the head of their motor pool. Mother and I drove there to check on the major and I remember seeing all the parts of wreckage strewn on the hillside beside the tunnels on the East Ridge side of the Ridge.
There was a similar crash here in Charlotte during WWII. A Douglas A-20J10 Havoc from Morris Field (now CLT) developed an engine fire and tried to land on a nearby gold course. However, the fire burned through the wing and he crashed in a creek just behind some houses, just missing some young children playing in the yard. Read about it at
www.cmstory.org/homefront/places/buddAndrews
rebtris

United States

#69 Jun 16, 2013
My Mom and Dad were married on the day this plane crashed. My Mom still remembers seeing debris falling down out of the sky. She said the engine fell through the back porch of my Great Grandmother's house. The memorial marker that used to be at the school had marked the spot where one of the soldiers had hit the ground. A very sad thing.
BPinTN

Chattanooga, TN

#70 Jun 21, 2013
Just found this discussion and would have loved to see it sooner. We moved to Ridgedale in '58 or '59. Lived at 2704 E. 12th Street (I think that's right). Most of the houses in that area have been torn down and the property is now owned by the McCallie School. I loved living there. I learned to ride a bike there and we rode all around. Our parents let us walk to the dime store or Ridgedale Drug store to get a 12 cent fountain Coke. Smith Brothers was a place we frequented and there was a small grocery store across the street from there. I remember a woman who grew and sold irises on the ridge near us and when you went there to buy she usually threw in a few free flowers. I loved the old elementary school. I still have class pictures but haven't been able to find a picture of the whole building anywhere on the net. I remember the plaque honoring the pilot who steered his plane away from the populated areas. Ridgedale was a good place to live and grow.
Angela

Headland, AL

#71 Sep 22, 2013
Chattboy wrote:
The following is based on 50 year old story, told by my grandfather. Some of this I’m a little foggy on.
The plane crashed just above and to the North of the Eastridge tunnels. If one takes the road up Missionary Ridge, located on the right hand side of Ringgold Rd at South Seminole Dr. this road is actually Old Ringgold Road, just before exiting Eastridge through the tunnels, while ascending the ridge, one will see a large ravine off to the left of this road, this was the crash site and remains the same. The pilot more or less guided the plane to that site avoiding; Ridgedale Elementary School which was located about 1 miles N. W.(as the crow flies on the other side of the ridge from that crash site) the surrounding neighborhoods located atop and on the side of Missionary Ridge. The plane started clipping the trees on the top of the ridge which brought it down in the aforementioned ravine. That particular point on the ridge has an altitude of about 850-900 ft., so I’m certain it was quite a sight, bellowing smoke flying over the city that day! The pilot died in the crash and the co-pilot parachuted to safety, supposedly landing in the school yard. The pilot did a masterful job,(I get a little fuzzy here) with what I believe was failure on both port and starboard engines. I also think this pilot may have survived another like crash a few years prior to this one. I don’t recall the plane type or the names of either the pilot or co-polit.
A bronze plaque was originally placed in front of a Fire hall, located on the East side of Dodd’s Ave. just north of Main street(I believe), when that was torn down it was moved to, the elementary school’s front yard about 1/25 mile north on Dodds Ave., were McCallie School now has soccer fields. It was placed just in front of the flagpole, that’s a fact. When this school was torn down, I believe the plaque was moved to the VFW hall in Eastridge on Ringgold Road about ½ miles from the tunnel east on Ringgold Rd. That’s probably the best place for more information, try a phone call or do the drive from the site of the old Ridgedale Elementary School, on Dodds Ave. in between Anderson and Bennett, across the Street from Ridgedale Methodist Church (traditional red brick church), I believe that is still standing and just up from the old turner Funeral Home! If you’ll turn toward the ridge, off Dodds on either of these streets, take that road to Woodward Ave. and make a right (that’s the end of the original schools back playground property line which was 1 square block. Take Woodward all the way to Main St. It then changes, I believe to Old Ringgold road and proceeds up the ridge. When you reach the top/ Crest Road, turn right then make the first left. This will take you to the crash site, the ravine will now be on you right has you descend the ridge and you will have followed pretty much the last few seconds of that flight and then you will only be a short distance from the Eastridge VFW hall. Hope some of this helps, haven’t thought about that in years!
Why the interest?
Yes, the plaque was on the grounds of Ridgedale in front of our Flag pole. I attended school there from kindergarden til fourth and never remembered what the plaque was for. Now this makes me want to pay a visit to the Eastridge VFW next time I come back to town.
Big Red

Charlotte, NC

#72 Sep 22, 2013
That gorgeous mansion on Missionary Ridge was named "Colyarton", built by L. S Colyers, situated on 10 acres. They were known for lavish entertaining. It had Civil War cannons in the front yard near the wall surrounding the property. It was taken down in the 1950s as part of the process leading up to the I-24 ridge cut. It had been one of Chattanooga's finest. The WWII B-24 crashed not far north of it.

Since: Feb 13

Clearwater, FL

#73 Nov 11, 2013
Love seeing the way this post has traveled the last 4 yrs!~Aunt Lynnard
Chattboy

Chattanooga, TN

#74 Nov 12, 2013
Aunt Lynyrd-It appears you have "stirred" a pot, or at least mine! I re-read the thread and thought of a few things I haven't really thought of in many years! It has nothing to do with the crash either!

I read about Mrs. Nobble, a Ridgedale teacher and remembered: Mrs. White 1st grade, Mrs. Atkins 2nd grade, Miss. Wagner 3rd grade (my first crush too!) Mrs. Kelly- 4th, Miss. McCrae (?).-5th a can’t recall my 6th teacher? Mr. Earl the custodian, who slept there many nights during the winter, stoking the coal-fired boiler, the Mary Brown Center, handicapped children on the bottom floor and Principal-Clyde(?) Simmons, I believe... I recalled our school-mom being ran-over by a car one morning out front, Mrs. Johnson or Johnston was her name? The annual carnival held at the school on the playground, the yearly Cub Scout miniature “soap box” & “rocket races” in the Cafeteria, put on by Mr.(“Joe”, maybe?) Stevens, our Den Master (He lived at the top of Kirby Ave.) on Carey St., 3rd house from the original McCallie” school or those wonderful paper drives! Which is the exact place I first saw a Playboy magazine, while mom got mad, dad and I had our first talk!

The "Big House" on main mentioned (?), if that was this house. It had a small covert-access in the side-yard, this led underground, down/across Main St. to Woodard Ave. intersecting a much larger covert. Then continued about 1.3 blocks down Woodward, it emptied into an open branch at this point, which ran under the Ridgedale community center and was originally constructed by the WPA!-that was a famed “Crawdad”-hunting spot! Crawling all the way through the convert, was a rite of passage! Does anyone remember “Bob’s Superette” on Anderson @ Lewis, who had bicycle delivery?

Walt mentioned his father’s business, which I think was “Ben Miller Beauty Supplies” on Dodds, across from the “Jiffy” restaurant? Does anyone recall the Barber Shop on Dodds, across from Central, Pete the barber? Or the old Kroger store at Bailey and Dodds?
Kae

Albuquerque, NM

#75 Jun 5, 2014
We lived in Ringgold, but my Dad owned a service station on Main Street and I went with him to deliver a car on the street by the ball field where the imprint was. We were walking by there. Daddy looked at it but did not allow me to get close enough to see. We did later drive up on the ridge to see the crash site.. I was 7 or 8.. I remember the weather was warm. What month was it?
Big Red

Charlotte, NC

#76 Jun 5, 2014
I remember the Kroger across from Central High. I went to Central for grades 7 - 12. Early on, when Mother came to pick me up in the afternoon, she would run in there and pick up a few items while waiting for school to be out. In that same block there was a bakery (Yum!), a barber shop, a little café and a few other small businesses.
Chattboy wrote:
Aunt Lynyrd-It appears you have "stirred" a pot, or at least mine! I re-read the thread and thought of a few things I haven't really thought of in many years! It has nothing to do with the crash either!
I read about Mrs. Nobble, a Ridgedale teacher and remembered: Mrs. White 1st grade, Mrs. Atkins 2nd grade, Miss. Wagner 3rd grade (my first crush too!) Mrs. Kelly- 4th, Miss. McCrae (?).-5th a can’t recall my 6th teacher? Mr. Earl the custodian, who slept there many nights during the winter, stoking the coal-fired boiler, the Mary Brown Center, handicapped children on the bottom floor and Principal-Clyde(?) Simmons, I believe... I recalled our school-mom being ran-over by a car one morning out front, Mrs. Johnson or Johnston was her name? The annual carnival held at the school on the playground, the yearly Cub Scout miniature “soap box” & “rocket races” in the Cafeteria, put on by Mr.(“Joe”, maybe?) Stevens, our Den Master (He lived at the top of Kirby Ave.) on Carey St., 3rd house from the original McCallie” school or those wonderful paper drives! Which is the exact place I first saw a Playboy magazine, while mom got mad, dad and I had our first talk!
The "Big House" on main mentioned (?), if that was this house. It had a small covert-access in the side-yard, this led underground, down/across Main St. to Woodard Ave. intersecting a much larger covert. Then continued about 1.3 blocks down Woodward, it emptied into an open branch at this point, which ran under the Ridgedale community center and was originally constructed by the WPA!-that was a famed “Crawdad”-hunting spot! Crawling all the way through the convert, was a rite of passage! Does anyone remember “Bob’s Superette” on Anderson @ Lewis, who had bicycle delivery?
Walt mentioned his father’s business, which I think was “Ben Miller Beauty Supplies” on Dodds, across from the “Jiffy” restaurant? Does anyone recall the Barber Shop on Dodds, across from Central, Pete the barber? Or the old Kroger store at Bailey and Dodds?
Kay Kerr Campbell

Moreland, GA

#77 Dec 29, 2014
Big Red wrote:
I am familiar with the Bragg Reservation, which was in front of the Missionary Ridge School that burned down years ago. I believe the school was replaced by a condo complex. The house with the cannons in the yard was a bit past that, on the left, right in the middle of a left hand curve (going south). Several old homes were destroyed during that construction, so I am not sure that particular house was his HQ. I will check some of my old books on Chattanooga and see if I can get an answer to that.
I believe the house on the curve with cannons in front going south might have been the Gaines P. Campbell house at 622 S. Crest even though a couple of homes in the 400's S. Crest had a single cannon in front but weren't on big curves. I know this since I was married to the very youngest of the four Campbell sons. As a college History prof. In Atlanta, I find all of this story fascinating! Thanks for allowing me to add my small bit here.
Dru

Nashville, TN

#78 Dec 29, 2014
Kay Kerr Campbell wrote:
<quoted text>
I believe the house on the curve with cannons in front going south might have been the Gaines P. Campbell house at 622 S. Crest even though a couple of homes in the 400's S. Crest had a single cannon in front but weren't on big curves. I know this since I was married to the very youngest of the four Campbell sons. As a college History prof. In Atlanta, I find all of this story fascinating! Thanks for allowing me to add my small bit here.\\
my friend Twyman Towery's Dad took the famous Life magazine photo of the crash. small world, eh Kay?

Since: Feb 13

Largo, FL

#79 Dec 31, 2014
Chattboy, I was born and raised in the Chattanooga area. I was called out to give an estimate on working on the house that the plane crashed in to. That wasn't the reason for the call...LOL, but the owner told us the story and took us up to the attic to see the remains of the damage to the house. I thought it was very poignant, yet so historical to see the charred timbers. Chattanooga will always be special to me. I love keeping up with this thread and seeing how it has drawn attention thru the years. Thanks for all your comments!~Aunt Lynyrd
ridgedale chick

Chattanooga, TN

#80 Apr 21, 2016
Chattboy, I remember several of your teachers. I had Mrs. Williams in third grade and Miss Gregory (who got married and became Mrs. Belleau) in fourth, Mrs. Gandy in fifth and it's funny I can't remember my sixth grade teacher's name. I remember the plaque and Bob's Superette, Smith Brothers and McWhorter's drugstores, the five and dime and more as well. I used to buy my comics at the drugstores. I had Mrs. Noble and Mrs. Atkins as well. Mr. Simmons was principal until my last year and then Mrs. Horcheck (whose name I am sure I did not spell correctly)became principal. I worked with Mr. Simmons' son, Bob, for while. I also remember we used to have a hot tamale man come by the house. He sold hot tamales out of his cart just like the ice cream man sold from a cart before the motorized trucks used to come by.
Sandra

Chattanooga, TN

#81 Jul 18, 2016
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