Retired professor shares stories of 'old Collegedale'

Retired professor shares stories of 'old Collegedale'

May 8th, 2013 by Meghan Pittman in Local Regional News

Imagine a day when if you wanted to ask a girl out on a date, you had to take her to school in a horse and buggy every day. And then back home every afternoon.

Or when part of living by the railroad tracks meant you had to hang a lantern on a bridge every night as a small boy. Then on the following morning, you had to wake up at dawn, go get the lamp, clean it and hang it up again.

These are only a few of the parable-like stories retired Southern Adventist University professor Jon Green shares with groups of seniors or interested friends.

"I got to taking groups of seniors around to places [to talk to them about history in general] but then they asked me if I could tell them about Collegedale," he said. "I taught in the school of education and psychology ... and that makes me want to research."

Green has lived in the area for 23 years, but it took some work and patience to find these stories and form them together for a history of Collegedale, he said. What he found by talking to longtime residents and finding historical places and cemeteries were stories of time past.

"These streets have history to them," said Green. "Tallant Road was named for the Tallant family, which I think is the first family to come to the area in the late 1700s or so."

At one point, the Tallant family lived where now the parking lot of the Collegedale Greenway is, and the youngest of the family was paid by the trains to keep a lantern glowing every night.

"It is my understanding that he was very faithful to that, and from a young age to when he went to college, he kept the lantern," Green said. "I think that is a great example of faithfulness in this area."

Another tale of patience can be told through the Longley family, who lived on Prospect Church Road.

"One of the younger Longley boys saw that a pretty girl walked to school to teach and then walked back every day," said Green. "He knew she was [from the Tallant family] and he would watch her. He offered one day to take her to school in his buggy, so he took her to school and then home every day. And they eventually got married."

Sometimes Green's research leads him to stories that aren't as happy. Such is the one of Mr. Ledford, of Ledford Road. A farm manager at SAU in the 1930s, Ledford often fielded questions from his students.

"One day a student ran in and said the corn picker wasn't working, so Ledford got up to go fix it. While he was fixing it, it started up and took off one of his arms," said Green.

Not 10 days later, Ledford was back to work at SAU, he added.

Ten years passed and the corn picker broke again.

"Ledford then again when out to the field to fix it, where it once again started up and took his other arm off," said Green. "He never complained one bit about it. He put hooks [in place of his arms] and continued to work and had a good attitude."

Stories of old Collegedale give Green tales to share with people and also an opportunity to meet members or descendants of old families.

"I like the research and the stories but I like sharing them with people and learning more," he said. "That's why I do this, really. I enjoy sharing these with others who can remember those names."