Lookout Mountain: Historic Giles house up for auction

Lookout Mountain: Historic Giles house up for auction

July 5th, 2009 in News

Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell This historic home on Lookout Mountain's East Brow was once home to one of Chattanooga's earliest industrialists and now is up for auction.

Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell This historic home on...

One of the oldest mansions on Lookout Mountain soon will get a new owner.

A century-old house built near Point Park by the founder of U.S. Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Co. will be sold to the highest bidder on July 23.

The three-story, stone home and adjacent carriage house was leased for apartments for nearly 60 years until two years ago. But the property owners are eager to see the site restored as a luxury single-family home.

"This could be one of the finest homes on the mountain," said Mike McGauley, the president of Fidelity Trust Co. whose ancestors bought the home in the 1940s. "Our dream is to have somebody buy this who can convert it into a single-family home and restore this beautiful home into one of the great historic homes in Chattanooga."

After marketing the home for the past couple of years to prospective buyers from throughout the country, Mr. McGauley, a commercial real estate agent, decided to sell the house at an absolute auction this month.

"The highest bidder will buy this house regardless of its price," said Henry Glascock, a real estate appraiser and official with John Dixon and Associates auction company. "This is truly one of the unique homes in our community."

The home is known as the Giles House after its original owner, industrialist David Giles. A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Mr. Giles moved to Nashville in 185 7 and established his own foundry there in 1886. A year later he and C.B. Isbester moved the foundry to Chattanooga.

The U.S. Cast Iron Pipe and Foundry Co. founded by Mr. Giles was one of the largest and longest operating of Chattanooga's dozens of foundry-related businesses. It operated until 2006.

The Giles house was one of the first permanent homes built on Lookout Mountain. When the 7,052-square-foot structure was erected in 1906, most of the houses on the mountain were summer vacation homes. Adjacent to the stone home with its Corinthian column capitals and covered entry terrace is a two-story carriage house with horse stalls and an upstairs apartment.

Mr. Giles died only four years after he built his Lookout Mountain home. By the 1930s, the house was converted into a half dozen apartments, with another rental unit.

"The last tenants moved out two years ago," Mr. McGauley said. "Through the years, many people from Chattanooga's most prominent families have lived in the Giles house. Hopefully, this auction will stimulate interest in someone wanting to restore this grand home back into a single family residence."