A ‘much better use’ of a former homestead

  • Dorothy Wallace Howell looks over renditions of Aspire Park Saturday during the Community Day held to introduce the many aspects of the park. Howell’s family owned 80 acres of the 250- plus acre site until 2008. “I really like this — the way it’s going to be used,” she said. - Ken Leinart

  • Dorothy Wallace Howell (right) chats with Betty Hollingsworth during Community Day at Aspire Park in South Clinton last Saturday. - Ken Leinart

In 1925 James Henry Wallace purchased 80 acres of land on the south side of the Clinch River in Clinton.

It would be “family land” for 83 years — The Wallace Homestead.

“I grew up there,” Dorothy Wallace Howell said Saturday while reviewing proposals for Aspire.

She was pointing out a plot on the north side of the proposed park.

“I really like this — the way it’s going to be used.”

Howell gave a brief history of the land and her family.

James Henry Wallace was the first elected judge in Anderson County.

The Wallace family grew up on that land — Howell said she can remember playing there as a child.

Judge Wallace, Howell pointed out, was a key figure in getting three, all metal beam bridges built across the Clinch.

She said the remains of the bridge near downtown Clinton can still be seen looking north along the Clinch River. Another metal span bridge was built near Oak Ridge, and a third “in Edgemoore.”

In 2008 the family sold the land and, at the time Howell said, plans were to develop the land.

“I’m glad it wasn’t developed,” she said. “This is a much better use for it.” A lot of the acreage in the former Wallace homestead could be destined to hold part of the walking and/or biking trails planned for Aspire.

“I’ve talked with Joe (Hollingsworth) about the park,” she smiled. “I like it, but I noticed in all the plans there is not one mention of Judge Wallace.” While there are a lot of details to be finalized before Aspire breaks ground, Joe Hollingsworth Jr. has stated that recognizing leaders — past and present — within the park are part of the plans.

Hollingsworth and the Hollingsworth Foundation have been open to suggestions and willing to answer questions about the park — something Howell said she appreciated.

“I’ve told him what I thought,” she smiled again. “He’s (Hollingsworth) made himself available to listen to a lot of people. The 80 acres purchased by James Henry Wallace in 1925 front US 25W and borders what is Carden Farm Road.