Progress has taken toll on historic Callaway’s Landing

Mona B. SmithFarragut, Our Town Stories

Hundreds of drivers pass daily on their way to and from work or on errands, unaware of the history of a piece of land on both sides of the southern end of Concord Road, adjacent to the roundabout on Northshore Drive. And many aren’t aware that directly over the ridge at the roundabout lies an old marble and lime kiln, a mere remembrance of days when Concord/Farragut was a thriving community and marble was a chief export.

The land is known to longtime Concord residents as Callaway’s Landing. What was once 300 acres of beautiful bottomland has now dwindled to approximately 50 acres and is still owned by descendants of Shadrach Callaway and his wife, Mary Hendrix Callaway.

The Callaway family has a long and colorful history in the Concord area. Shadrach moved with his family from Ball Camp community in Tennessee to Missouri about 1840. But his heart was in Tennessee, and he soon returned and began purchasing several tracts of land along the Tennessee (then Holston) River, which included two large islands and a parcel of land containing a healthy strain of crystalline limestone that we now call Tennessee marble.

Shadrach, who went by the nickname Shade, was a shrewd businessman. By today’s standards, he might have been accused of insider trading. His cousin Thomas Callaway, who was president of what would soon be known as the East Tennessee and Georgia Railroad, apprised him of the proposed route for the railroad. Shade made sure that his newly purchased land would be close to this route where he would be able to corner  the market on shipping the marble by riverboat as well as utilize the transportation that the railroad offered.

During the Civil War, the Callaways had slaves working on the farm, and the family was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. History records that Union Army troops helped themselves to lumber, food and anything they needed. But other than the inconvenience, the land was spared and the houses were not burned down. A sharecropper’s shack still remains on the property.

By most accounts, Shade and his wife had 10 children, but it was his son James Callaway (1838-1923) whose roots stuck, and his generations have continued to farm and maintain Callaway’s Landing. James built the main house, which remains today, in 1911, and a few years later he built a barn using marble from the quarry.

In the early 1940s, as a result of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Tennessee Valley Authority began condemning land along the river for the purpose of building a series of dams and bringing electricity to the area. Callaway’s Landing was the prime target for the Fort Loudon reservoir. The islands and all but 50 acres were either inundated or placed in public land that is now known as Concord Park. Shortly thereafter, more land was lost to the right of way for Concord Road.

Many people whose houses and lands were in the path of the proposed Fort Loudoun waterway were forced to give up their land and relocate. By this time, Callaway heirs had built an apartment on a portion of the land to house Oak Ridge workers who were employed as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Lumber and blocks from the displaced McNutt home were used to build the Lakeside Market and Esso station, which was a popular stopping-off place to purchase bait and snacks on the way to a day of fishing.

It seemed as though this beautiful spot of land could not get out of the way of what is called progress when the First Utility District purchased some of the land for a sanitary sewage-treatment plant. Sadly, today, once again Concord Road is being widened to handle the heavy flow of traffic.

And so, the peaceful and productive spot on Concord Road seems to be giving way to the development and growth of the area. The beautiful plantation is now only a memory of a time and day gone by. One would only hope that the history of Callaway’s Landing would not be forgotten and that a small portion could be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

Note: With this story we introduce a new writer, Mona B. Smith, whose specialty is Concord and Farragut. She joins Dr. Jim Tumblin (Fountain City) in Knox TN Today’s Tuesday lineup of Our Town Stories. Hope you enjoy.

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