Friday, April 18, 2014 · 6:36 a.m.

Then and Now: Joseph H. Warner home

The Joseph H. Warner home as seen in 2013 (left) and 1933 (right). (Photos: Staff, Library of Congress)

In this occasional series, we’ll take a look at a historical photo taken in Chattanooga and attempt to recreate that photo. This will provide a side-by-side look at more than 100 years of Chattanooga's history.

Our first in the series will be the Joseph H. Warner home, located at 800 Vine St. in Chattanooga’s Fort Wood District.

A document from the Historic American Building Survey says the house is a "high Queen Anne" structure, with pressed red brick, stone trim, and solid oak paneling and woodwork in the interior. The hallways are large, and a fine attention to detail was paid to the terra-cotta and rusticated stone trim.

This home was designed by architects Townsend and Stone with one idea in mind: extravagance. But its features also mask the luxurious interior, blending into the surrounding community with ease.

Construction began on the home in 1890 and was completed in 1891.

Currently, the residence is undergoing extensive renovations, as evident in the photos.

The real question is, then, who was this Joseph H. Warner?

Born in Sumner County in the year 1842, Warner made his mark early by participating in the Civil War. In 1862, he joined Company A, 19th Tennessee Regiment Confederate Infantry, until he was captured at Missionary Ridge

He then spent the rest of the war in a federal prison.

Upon his return, Warner sought to change the lives of Chattanoogans and launched an extensive hardware business.

Eventually, that business would grow to include areas such as coal, iron, banking—Warner was one of the original organizers for Third National Bank—and railroad.

Warner become known as "practically the founder and creator of the modern street railway in [Chattanooga]," according to the HABS document.

Before his death in 1923, Warner was the first city commissioner of public utilities, grounds and buildings, which is the reason Chattanooga’s Warner Park bears his name to this day.

According to Maury Nicely in his "Chattanooga Walking Tour and History Guide," Warner "practically laid the first stone in the founding of a playground system in the city."

When built, the Joseph H. Warner home cost $26,000. Today, a real estate listing suggests the house is worth $585,010 in its current, renovated condition.

The home is currently undergoing major renovations to the exterior, as seen in these photographs. (Photos: Library of Congress, Staff)

Updated @ 9:48 a.m. on 12/23/13 to correct a factual error: This home is on Vine Street, not Oak Street, as originally reported.

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