As the story goes, Chattanooga businessman and philanthropist Jack Lupton in the 1980s was looking for a nearby country retreat.
His grandfather, legendary Coca-Cola bottler John Thomas Lupton, had fashioned such a place on a large rural tract in Sapphire, N.C.
"He wanted to recreate a little Sapphire closer to home," said Dr. Chris Moore, a Chattanooga physician.
The 238-acre tract on Lookout Mountain in Walker County, Ga., that Jack Lupton helped turn into a rural getaway is on the block, said Moore, a member of Chattanooga's Probasco family, which bought the land in the 1990s.
Used as a family retreat, the tract has four houses, two lakes and 1,000 feet of brow frontage and is less than a half hour's drive from downtown Chattanooga off Highway 157, said David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate Corp.
The Probascos had bought the property at auction after it was owned by troubled former Lookout Mountain tennis ace and Wimbledon finalist Roscoe Tanner, who had purchased it from Lupton.
The tract now is for sale for $2.5 million, DeVaney said.
He said the property is located amid hiking and mountain biking trails and other outdoor attractions in the area. In addition to a family retreat, he said he's marketing the site to churches and corporations. A buyer could even come from Birmingham, Atlanta, Nashville or Knoxville, DeVaney said.
Moore said the property, called Bear Creek, is "such a contemplative place."
"It's an ideal set-up for a retreat," he said. "It's really beautiful and needs to be kept as is."
But Moore said the Probascos, who added about 100 acres to the parcel, are ready to part with it.
He said his children and cousins love the property, but they've gotten older and some have moved out of Chattanooga.
"It's time for another family to enjoy what we have out here," Moore said.
In addition to the houses and lakes, there are tennis and volleyball courts, a shooting range, a storage barn, and work shed.
Moore said he believes a Chattanooga attorney, George Foster, originally put together the initial tract in the 1950s.
Lupton bought it in the early 1980s and built the main house, doubled the size of the biggest lake, and put in the tennis court, he said.
"It was a getaway place for his family," Moore said.
Tanner then bought the property after moving back to Chattanooga with plans turn it into a destination tennis resort, he said.
But Tanner ran into financial and legal problems and the site was auctioned from the courthouse in LaFayette, Ga., Moore said.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...