Moments in Memory: The birth of Signal Mountain

The W Road up Walden's Ridge in 1907.

Jim Douthat has lived on Signal Mountain for more than half of the town's life. His wife's family built the first cabin on the mountain in the 1830s. The Kell family house off Anderson Pike where Douthat lives was built in 1869 and is the oldest single-family dwelling on the mountain.

The small office of Mountain Press sits to the side of the house and is full of more paper than most people under the age of 30 have seen in their lifetime. Douthat, a retired pastor, is a historian and genealogist and the business he has operated since 1983 owns more than 2,500 titles.

If you want to scrutinize North Carolina birth records between 1690-1790, Jim's your guy. Lots of paper, everywhere.


Douthat understands how people in the valley have historically viewed the communities that reside on Lookout and Signal mountains – wealthy, mostly white and segregated by natural geography.