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Residents Reminisce about Life in Forest Hills

Cynthia Despot

It’s been a pleasure

Sitting at my desk overlooking the reconstructed stacked stone wall that used to be the border for the Old Hillsboro Pike, my mind wanders to the past and I think about the densely forested area this was. Before Columbus discovered America, bison traveling from what is now Williamson County to the salt licks on the banks of the Cumberland River created what we now know as Hillsboro Pike. Native Americans settled in and had a thriving community for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.

I came to work at the City office in June of 2000. I secured my job the really “old- fashioned” way—I walked through the door, met the City Manager, Jim Pitman, and said he needed to hire me. After consultation with Mayor Charles Evers (and an interview), I was hired on a part-time basis. Previous to those events, I started a neighborhood watch, The Otter Creek Neighborhood Watch. It was composed of approximately 250 households and was a direct result of the scare to our area of the Wooded Rapist who was caught and subsequently imprisoned. More

Mayfield Grave

McCrory-Mayfield owner bought historic home for the barn

Nancy Mannon never intended to buy the historic McCrory-Mayfield House, the oldest remaining dwelling in Forest Hills and one of the oldest in Davidson County.

In fact, she and her daughter, Sydney, came to look at it just to rule it out because it kept appearing in her searches for land with potential for a horse barn.

“I saw it on May 1, 2015, bought it soon after, and moved in December 1,” Nancy said. “I bought the house because of the barn,” built originally as a guesthouse. More


Neighbors enjoyed 10,000 daffodils across from Percy Priest

Longtime residents of the Otter Creek Road area well remember when daffodils covered the hillside across from Percy Priest Elementary School.

Betty and Ed Thackston, who have lived in their home on Priest Road since 1969, used to walk through the fields with their young daughters Leah and Carol. Picking flowers was a tradition among neighbors, and no one considered it trespassing or an imposition.

“There were probably ten thousand buttercups then,” Ed said. More

Bill Coble

Bill Coble as a young man

Growing up on Stanford Drive

In 1938 my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Neely Coble Sr., built a house on Stanford Drive South. We moved there from 3726 Central Avenue. I always remember my dad saying that the house cost $12,000.

Across the street from us was the home of Dr. and Mrs. Lampson. They had a big piece of property that included an open field where Fletch and Bill Coke now live, among others. They also raised goats, and I can remember carrying a baby goat to her house and her saying to me, “Billy, I’ll just give you that goat.” I raised that goat and eventually took it to my grandparents’ farm. More


Mary Beth Gates shows the magazine story.

‘Home of the Star’ never really was

Probably lots of Forest Hills residents have had their homes featured in magazines over the years, but the story Mary Beth Gates tells has a slightly different twist.

Her home was featured, but it was misidentified as belonging to someone else.

Here’s what happened: Back in 1975, country music artist Johnny Paycheck lived on Tyne Boulevard in Forest Hills—next door to the house where Mary Beth later lived. One day a reporter for Home of the Stars magazine came out to photograph the home, and perhaps daunted by the steep driveway the two neighbors shared, apparently snapped the first house he came to and retreated back down the hill. More

Lattie Noel Brown

Lattie Noel Brown

Longtime resident remembers riding ponies to Warner Park

The descendants of Jeannette Acklen Noel, granddaughter of well-known Nashvillian Adelicia Acklen, have enjoyed climbing big old trees and wading the creek at the idyllic family home at the corner of Hillsboro Pike and Tyne Boulevard for generations.

Lattie Noel Brown, Jeannette’s granddaughter, has lived there herself since 1974, and her own children and grandchildren, have spent countless hours playing on the wooded acreage. She can remember when Jeannette bought the house after the second World War. More


Jim Gardner III explains bridge maintenance to his son Jim IV, “J.C.”

Gardners have lifelong ties with Otter Creek

Newcomers to the City may not realize that Forest Hills was considered way out in the country as late as the 1960s, but Planning Commissioner James Gardner III knows very well what that means. His family bought property in the early ’30s when there was only farmland.

Jim’s maternal great-grandfather Robert W. McFadden and great-grandmother Janet Battle McFadden lived in town. Wanting a country place to spend the weekends, his great grandfather bought 40 acres and built a rustic cabin, which was later enlarged into a home. It had no running water or power. Jim remembers hearing the story that his great-grandfather, after digging several dry wells, hired a “water witch” who used a divining rod to locate water successfully, and the well brought water to the cabin. More

Bierman riding

Interview with Edith Bowen Bierman

EBB . . . Jim Gardner’s family has been in this valley before we came. His great grandparents had a log cabin, a weekend log cabin and they were here on weekends when we moved out in the fall of 1938. We moved into the old house—I’ve got a picture and a painting in here. This property from the steep hill on Otter Creek up here, all the tillable land to where Otter Creek starts dipping down at Ashland that I knew of was in the family of Mooney, He was A.A., e had children A.A., B.B., C.C., D.D., and so on. That’s what I was told, but I do not have a fact on that. He raised cows and he had a house just like our house on the other side of the school. There was nothing but farm land, and I’ve got a list of every house on either side from Granny White to Hillsboro Road, if anybody is ever interested, and the people and the stories. More

Conducted May 18, 2012, at her home on Otter Creek Road by F. Lynne Bachleda with Edith’s friend Jim Gardner. 13,352 words on 35 pages. Recording run time 1:29:15. Transcription completed August 24, 2012. Revised by F. Lynne Bachleda October 26, 2012, per Edith Bowen Bierman’s edits.