The H. L. Judd (Curtain Pole) Factory and Community
by Billy Denham

            The H. L. Judd Company started operations in Chattanooga on a small scale about 1880 on 11.1 acres they bought close to where the Chickamauga Creek empties into the Tennessee River . They were engaged in the production of drapery poles, hence the name “Curtain Pole Factory”. They eventually manufactured other turned wood products such as, flagpoles, towel bars, and lamp bases. By the turn of the century the company had grown substantially and employed about a hundred workers. On October 5, 1910 the plant was destroyed by fire. The loss was estimated at $200,000. At that time it was reported that more than 200 were employed. It was rebuilt bigger and with more production.

            Starting about 1911, to meet the needs of its many employees, small four room “shotgun” style tenant houses were built. A school was conducted in one end of a long building that also housed a family in the other end. A church was started in 1915 and a church building was constructed across the street from the plant property and called Sherman Hill Baptist Church , so named because it was the landing and encampment place of General Sherman after crossing the Tennessee River , setting the stage for the Battle of Chattanooga. My maternal grandfather William M. Delzell and his brother Joe started the church and pastored it for many years. There was also a store within a few hundred feet of the church and on the same side of the street known as Ford’s Grocery.

            In 1922 the Company started building new houses, the first of which was occupied by William M. Delzell and his family. Eventually all the old houses were replaced by new ones.

            I would like to see the history of this community preserved for future generations, especially for those who are descendants of those families who lived in the company houses and worked there. I have a partial list of those family names. There were many others who worked at the factory but did not live in factory houses. If you have a connection to or knowledge any of these families, please contact me at my e-mail address


            I researched the Chattanooga City Directories to see when my grandparents went to work at the H. L. Judd Company and when they moved into the Company houses, as well as when the school, church and store were started.

            My maternal grandparents, William M. and Louie Delzell first appeared in the City Directory in 1908. It lists Joseph Delzell (48) working for the H. L. Judd Co. and his two sons Bethel Allen Delzell (13) working for the H. L. Judd Co. and Walter Delzell (23) working for the Chattanooga Implement Co, and living at 308 Glass Street in East Chattanooga . Also Joseph’s younger brother William M. Delzell (32) working for the H. L. Judd Co. and also living at 308 Glass Street .




H. L. Judd (Curtain Pole) Factory Family Names and Occupations


MACON CROWE                                                      OLLIE FAIN  (Machinist)

JIM BRUMLOW  (Machine Operator)                        JOE PARKS SR.  (Sander)

WILLIAM O. BANKSTON  (Yard Foreman)             WALT DRIGGINS (Machine Operator)

C.C. GUFFEY                                                             GEORGE QUARLES  (Shipping Clerk)

WILLIAM M. DELZELL (Machinist)                          ARTHUR T. DENHAM  (Fireman on Boilers)

GRADY W. DODD  (Machine Operator)                    ELECK MELTON  (Wood Worker)

TOM DAVIS                                                               MACK EVANS  (Sawer)

WILLIAM H. DAVIS  (Laborer)                                 LUTHER BELVIN  (Finisher)

LUM LEWIS                                                               WOLFORD L. THOMAS  (Lathe Operator)

EATHER L. BELVIN  (Painter)                                   WILLIAM E. COLSTON  (Laborer)

MILTON H. DODD  (Lathe, Plane Operator)              LUTHER BENTON  (Sawer)

BILL BRANNON                                                       GEORGE W. DENHAM  (Yardhand)

JOE DELZELL  (Machine Operator)                            WILLIAM BRUMLOW  (Laborer)

HENRY BANKSTON (Yard Foreman)                      LUTHER PADGETT  (Sweeper)

JAMES C. SKINNER  (Finisher)                                 JOSEPH D. MANIS  (Sawer)

JIM R. COFER  (Box Maker)                                      HOBERT L. HINDMAN  (Machine Operator)

HERBERT BEAVERS  (Laborer)                                MILO ANDERSON  (Sander)

LAWRENCE R. COLSTON  (Ringer)                        ROBERT L. COLSTON  (Lathe Operator)

ELLIS L. STEPHENS  (Laborer)                                 WILLIAM EARL BELVIN  (Lathe Operator)

CLINT G. BANKSTON  (Shaper)                              JESSE L. BANKSTON  (Yardhand)

DAVID S. DAVIS   (Laborer)                                     PAUL E. DELZELL  (Woodworker)

OLLIE M. DELZELL  (Box Packer)                            GEORGE W. WILHOITE  (Laborer)