Architectural District & Spur Line Park
The Spur Line Park
was conceived to preserve and enhance
a portion of a historic area within the city and interpret its unique
connection with rail and water transportation. The development of
railroad and river commerce was essential to the early growth and
success of Montgomery County and the region. By the late 1800s
railroad tracks looped through Clarksville on spur lines
ran to backdoors and sometimes through commercial buildings.
Clarksville's warehouse district contained some of the largest buildings
in the world at that time, some covering several acres.
Nineteenth-century Clarksville was nicknamed the City of Seven Hills
as the town expanded along the Cumberland River to occupy seven
peaks from its northern to southern limits. One of those peaks was
dubbed Dog Hill because neighborhood canines would howl at the
whistles of the nearby trains and steamboats. The residential area
surrounding First, Union, Munford and Madison
streets was named
the Dog Hill Architectural District on May 9, 1980.
Visitors to the one-and-a-half story Victorian Gothic home at 422 South
First Street can notice none of the windows are the same and floors in
each room display different woods. Its builder, G.B. Wilson, who owned
Sewanee Planing Co.,
used his home to showcase products for
customers. Across the street at 429 South First Street
, the two-story
brick home was constructed using the bricks and cornerstone of the
dismantled Catholic Church, built in 1844 at College and Fourth streets.
Most of the homes in this district are typical turn-of-the-century framed
construction cottages dating from the 1880s to the 1910s. However
two are among the oldest existing houses in Clarksville. The house at
202 Madison Street
contains a log interior which dates to about 1820
while the house at 66 Union Street
was built circa 1835.
The two-story rectangular house at 102 Union Street, with its first-floor verandah sporting Ionic columns and balustrades, also pre-dates the Civil War. In 1856 William Andrew Quarles
(1825-1893) owned this property. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Quarles, a wealthy and respected attorney, organized the Confederate 42nd Tennessee Infantry and served as its colonel. Quarles was promoted to brigadier general in August 1863. He was severely wounded at the Battle of Pickett's Mill, Georgia, recovered, and was again wounded at the Battle of Franklin. After the war, he was active in state politics, serving in the State Senate in 1895.
Another Confederate veteran lived just around the corner from the Quarles home on Second Street. Horace Harmon Lurton
(1844-1914) fought with Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's Cavalry. After the war, as a successful Clarksville lawyer, Lurton was elected in 1886 to the Tennessee Supreme Court, then in 1910 was appointed by President William Howard Taft to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A later Dog Hill resident to reach national prominence was Frank Spencer Sutton
(1923-1974). A stage, film and television actor, his most famous role was Gunnery Sergeant Vince Carter in the television series Gomer Pyle USMC, which aired on CBS from 1964 to 1969. The Sutton home still stands at 416 South Second Street
Many Dog Hill homes were heavily damaged in 1999 when an F3 tornado tore through the neighborhood on its way downtown. Volunteers flocked in to help with repairs, and residents said the neighborhood actually experienced a renaissance after the tornado, reporting that the following spring seemed more vibrant than usual.