Monning House
Monning House
Hill City

Notes written on the back of an old photo in 1963 lead to a rediscovery of a home’s origin in North Chattanooga.

Several photos of this home have turned up in glass plate negative views thought to have been taken in the late 1890s-early 1900s – yet the location remained a mystery. Thanks to some notes on a recently shared photo, we now know it remains at 612 Forest Ave. in North Chattanooga (originally called ‘Hill City’).

John Frederick William Monning (1833-1903) built the home in 1892 at an estimated cost of $6,000. (~$175,000 today)

Its street address changed several times. Structural features were changed significantly when it was converted to a duplex in the 1920s, hiding its more majestic past.

Decades later, another resident of Hill City and history enthusiast, Ben B. Wilson, made notes about known locations and people on the back of old photos. Ben's collection included a photo of this house - noting it was of ‘Mr. and Mrs. Monning in front of their beautiful home on Forest Ave. near top of the hill on right’. On Jan. 5, 1964 he spoke with the Monning’s son, Norbert, to confirm the photo details.

John Wilson provides more insight on the discovery, and the Monnings at CHATTANOOGAN.COM

[ View the high resolution image ]

Mr.& Mrs. J.F.W. Monning

B. B. Wilson's notes

Monning House Timeline

  • APR 1892

    Work begins on ‘a handsome two-story double frame residence’ in Hill City for Monning.

  • DEC 1893

    Mrs. Maria Louisa (Trame) Monning dies at their ‘new home’ in Hill City.

  • JAN 1895

    Mr. Monning marries Miss Mary Kolus. They will have 4 sons; Norbert, Edward, William, and Joseph.

  • JAN 1903

    J. F. W. Monning dies at his home in Hill City.

  • 1904

    First known addresses for Hill City show the house at 517 Forest Ave. Source: Hill City Directory /Chattanooga Public Library

  • 1917

    Address listed as 517 Forest Ave. Source Sanborn Insurance Maps

  • 1930

    House is now a duplex, with addresses 615 & 617 Forest Ave. Source: Sanborn Insurance Maps

  • 1976

    Address listed as 614 Forest Ave. Source: UTC Architectural Survey / Chattanooga Public Library

612 Forest Ave. - today

House location

More images and discoveries to come...

With gratitude to Steven & Misty O'Malley.

Thanks to them, and other individuals who share unique historic photos taken in the Chattanooga area, many more views and identification of people and places will follow.

If you have original photos, or negatives that others would enjoy, please consider contacting me about preservation via high-resolution scanning at no charge.

You may retain possession of the photos.

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