Peer into city records for Bartlett milestones

Bartlett-Sesq-logo-SMALL-WEEditor’s note: This series will run weekly throughout 2016 to highlight Bartlett’s history in honor of its 150th anniversary this year.

Public records can provide a window into the past, like these 1919-1973 highlights from meetings of the Bartlett mayor and city board. They are part of the Jonathan K. T. Smith Special Collection at the McWherter Library, University of Memphis.

Smith did extensive research on Bartlett for the Bartlett Historical Society, and in 1987 he noted entries that he thought would be of historical interest.

  • May 17, 1919. Bartlett has placed sufficient bumpers on steets of the town “to protect the life of the public against speed fiends.”
  • June 6, 1919. Concrete walks will be laid on Memphis-Somerville (Stage Road), Sycamore and Court Street. The board recommended $4,500 for this work.
  • July 8, 1919. Bartett and LL & NN Railroad were to “lay off” sidewalks on railroad property. All males 18-45 years old in town must work on town steet repairs or else pay a $3.50 fee.
  • Election of November 1929. This election brought in the first women as aldermen: Dora Gholson, Leona Gotten and Louise Miller.
  • Dec. 10, 1929. Aldermen ageed to elect a vice mayor, and T.W. Hamer was elected.
  • March 26, 1940. Mr. C.G. Gowen read a letter from LL & NN Railroad petitioning town to tear down depot. “They agreed, but asked Public Utility Company to fill up hole under depot and and a shed to be built to accommodate the public.”
  • Sept. 13, 1940. The mayor asked Louise Miller, board secretary, to write LL & NN Railroad and ask for a signal to be erected at the railroad crossing and “the site of the old depot be filled in.”
  • Oct. 31, 1949. Aldermen agreed, “It is to the best interest of Town of Bartlett to proceed with a water works system at earliest possible date.” The board decided to check into costs and other factors. They were so authorized under a legislative provision. Bonds were issued. The cost was about $102,669.25.
  • Oct. 2, 1950. All aldermen agreed to increase the town tax rate of 40 cents to $1 for the year starting 1951. None were opposed.
  • Jan. 22, 1952. It was agreed that the fire department would be called to organize Monday night, Jan. 28, 1952.
  • Aug. 23, 1955. Masons requested a permit to build a Masonic lodge on a lot just west of the fire station and south of the McLeroy residence. The board agreed to appoint a committee to find a more suitable location for same.
  • September 1955. The board denied the Masons’ request to build a lodge next to the fire stations. This gave impetus to an ordinance making it “unlawful for any property owner, renter, contractor or any other person to build or add to existing buildings within the corporate limits, Town of Bartlett, without securing a building permit from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of said Town,” on Oct. 25, 1955. A planning commission for this purpose was established on Nov. 22, 1955.
  • May 27, 1956. Leona Gotten’s tract on the south side of Stage Road in Bartlett, plat book 464, page 54, was rezoned from residential to commercial, as was the Shelton land next to it.
  • In 1956. The city arranged for a modern sewage system.
  • July 15, 1959. Charles H. Schwam Sr. requested the opening of a cross street through the north part of his property, from Shelby Street to Court Street. The board deferred this matter.
  • Aug. 7, 1959. Roy Dixon recommended forming a town committee to see about annexing the Bartlett Park Subdivision to increase Bartlett’s population to 1,000, which would entitle the town to representation on the County Court by election of a town magistrate.
  • Aug. 17, 1959. Old lots 124 and 125 (Rose Ellis property) owned by Charles Schwam were approved for commercial use.
  • Nov. 30, 1959. A new Gulf service station was built on property formerly owned by Leona Gotten.
  • In 1961. Fluoridated water came to Bartlett.
  • Jan. 5, 1965. Mayor Oscar T. Yates requested the following commissions to be approved and persons to be appointed: Vice Mayor: Glen Reid; Fire/Police: O.S. Fuller, Jr.; Street Lights/Sewer/Housing: Earl Brewer.
  • March 1, 1965. Harry Butler gave plans for the building and remodeling of the fire station and town office. Plans were approved at the meeting of April 26, 1965.
  • May 18, 1965. Bartlett’s aldermen all accepted a bid of $32,145 for improvements on the fire station and town office.
  • Jan. 3, 1966. The board established a committee to locate property for a new public library in Bartlett. Aldermen also agreed to change the zoning from residential to commercial on the Charles Schwam property on Stage Road.
  • Feb. 28, 1966. Alderman Gotten motioned that the town buy land from LL & NN Railroad for $2,500, and all aldermen agreed. The motion passed.
  • April 4, 1966. The Masons applied for land to build a lodge.
  • April 28, 1966. The mayor was authorized to enter and sign a contract to purchase land for a new post office for $2,500.
  • May 24, 1966. The location of new post office has been agreed upon, and the contract will be let soon.
  • Nov. 28, 1966. Ellis Maness bought from Town of Bartlett the property purchased from L&N Railroad. It was some 39 acres of land for $2,500 to construct a new post office.
  • Aug. 8, 1967. A new library will be dedicated at 5803 Stage Road on Sept. 10, 1967.
  • Nov. 14, 1967. Bartlett will purchase 2.49 acres on the east side of Shelby Street, south of Stage Road, from L&N Railroad for $6,000.
  • Dec. 12, 1967. The 7-Eleven Corporation bought a lot at the corner of Raleigh-Bartlett (Stage Road) and Shelby Street to build a store, probably in the spring of 1968.
  • Feb. 18, 1968. The board passed a motion to poll the people in the area between Stage Road and Elmore Road, east of the city limits, to see if they would like to be annexed into Bartlett, which includes Elmore Park and Elmore Park Meadows subdivision.
  • March 12, 1968. Mayor Yates announced a meeting at Elmore Park School on March 18 for residents of the area to discuss the possibility and feasibility of annexing this area.
  • July 9, 1968. Alderman Earl D. Brewer introduced a motion to develop a park on the Almendinger property for $5,000. The motion was passed. (It was set up with park, tennis courts, etc. in 1968 adjacent to City Hall on
    Woodlawn Road.) Cross Street in Bartlett was also renamed Boyd Lane.
  • Oct. 7, 1968. RA large crowd protested Robert Fogelman’s request to rezone property on the south side of Boyd Lane to build apartments with 40 units and space for 70 cars. The board deferred his request.
  • Oct. 8, 1968. Fogelman was back for rezoning the land of Nick Bragaragas (the old Schwam and Bartlett homeplace). This attempt died for lack of a motion.
  • Nov. 12, 1968. Dr. Edgar Wilson presented a plan for Bartlett Family Clinic to the board on two and one-half acres of land at 5712 Stage Road. He later withdrew his proposal on Jan. 14, 1969. It was built later anyway, probably in the early 1970s.
  • April 8, 1969. There was a letter from Fogelman for a hearing on his Boyd Lane site, and the hearing was set for April 28. It was opposed by citizens at that time.
  • Nov. 10, 1970. Fogelman wanted to build 28 duplexes south of Boyd Lane. A hearing was set for Nov. 30. The board denied his request at the Dec. 8, 1970, board meeting. Eventually a few duplexes were built at this location.