There are times when the avenues of history come to a common intersection.
One of those moments came Saturday night.
It was a celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of Cleveland.
History records the legislative action in 1836 which created Bradley County, also authorized the establishment of a county seat.
That town was to be named “Cleveland” in honor of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, who was a commander at the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolution.
The commissioners at the time chose “Taylor’s Place,” the home of Andrew Taylor, as the location of the county’s seat, citing the excellent water sources which were available.
Cleveland’s incorporation was finalized on Feb. 4, 1842.
On that same day, 175 years later, the two high schools which sit within Cleveland’s city limits were in the midst of a different kind of battle — they were playing out on a wrestling mat as Cleveland High School and Bradley Central High School facedeach other as both teams sought to continue their domination of the sport within the state of Tennessee.
As the past and the present met on this special evening, so did the future.
That avenue leads back to “Taylor’s Place” and the event which brought past, present and future together.
In what has been called “an historic event,” nearly 200 gathered at the home of local businessman and history buff Allan Jones to raise funds to build what is hoped will be added to the list of Cleveland’s historic and iconic landmarks.
Creekridge was the intersection where all of these met Saturday as it was the kickoff of the drive to build Taylor Spring Park.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland’s presence marked the importance of the day and the event to the town’s history.
Jones, in order to keep up with the historic present, had all of the televisions in his home prepared to broadcast the Cleveland/Bradley wrestling match so attendees would not have to miss the legendary performance of the local teams.
Professional genealogist and researcher Michael T. Slaughter, author of the book, “Andrew Taylor: Man of Mystery,” brought the event full circle with his subject matter being a central part of the city’s past and a central part of the city’s future for which Saturday’s event was planned.
Jones explained from the staircase of Creekridge it was “a historic day” and Slaughter’s book on Taylor was a special gift to all who attended the special evening.
His curiosity about Taylor was peaked when he thought he might be related to Cleveland’s first resident.
“I thought it would be nice to find the original Clevelander,” Jones said.
“We all thought their house was at the courthouse,” he said. “Andrew Taylor and his wife was looking for a place to locate. He was a merchant and this was a crossroads. And, nobody seemed to take any initiative to find out what happened to him.”
A listing of Taylor’s assets during the Ocoee Purchase was found.
Research eventually found that Taylor’s Place was not just a cabin in the woods, but a complete compound of over 23 structures.
“It was a big operations with six different families and he started selling land off to the city of Cleveland,” Jones said. “We then found a lawsuit where Andrew Taylor was ordered to give money back and that lawsuit had a survey of the property.”
“All the property was 20 degrees off north/south because all of the ridges run that way,” Slaughter said. “It was easier for the surveyors.”
Once that was figured out, everything lined up and “his house was where Joe Rogers Office Supply is on Central Avenue,” Jones said.
“There is only a drop of 30 feet from there to the spring,” Jones said. “We didn’t know where the spring was.”
It was then found to have been under Jim Webb’s building.
“I looked him in the eye and said, ‘The city of Cleveland needs to own this,’” Jones said. “Thirty years later, he donates it to the city.”
That has now made it possible to establish Taylor Spring Park, which is envisioned to be a central place of solitude and history for downtown Cleveland.
Jones said while there have been those who have contributed much to beginning this project, “We want the whole community to be a part of this.”
To that end, funds for the Taylor Spring Park project are being managed by the Community Foundation of Cleveland and Bradley County and it is that organization which will be accepting the donations and gifts towards the park’s establishment.
“The Community Foundation of Cleveland and Bradley County is a public, nonprofit, community foundation where many donors join together to make the community they love a better place, today and for future generations,” said Foundation President Cathy Barrett.
“The Community Foundation is made up a collection of individual charitable funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and other nonprofits and foundations. The Community Foundation is committed to serving and understanding donor needs, handling complex charitable gifts, wisely managing charitable funds, and leveraging its community knowledge to increase charitable impact.”
Barrett said there are several levels of participation available, including personalized bricks, park benches and tree plaques.
To learn more about the Foundation and its many services, as well as contributing to Taylor Springs Park, visit or contact Cathy Barrett at .
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