Saturday, February 7, 2015


Researched by Debie Oeser Cox 

For those who grew up on the north side of the Cumberland River during the 20th century, in East Nashville, Inglewood and Madison,  the name Montague is familiar.  Most everyone remembers weekend nights in the 50's, 60's and 70's that were spent at the Montague Drive-In Theater.  

Montague Drive In, image from Cinema Treasures.

In the 50's and 60's, there were several businesses along Gallatin Road with Montague in their name.  Montague Pharmacy owned by David Elder, the Montague Barber Shop and Montague Market were busy neighborhood businesses.  

The Montague - Madison Fire and Police Department owned and operated by Robert Poe provided protection for the community.  The heart of Montague was in the residential neighborhood, where children rode bikes and played ball in the streets.

Montague & Madison Fire Dept., image from George Massey

The first plat for Montague was filed with the Register of Deeds in Davidson County, Tennessee, in March of 1919.  Several Montague plats followed, with a total of eight Montague plans.  All plats,  including Montague Park, Montague Falls and Montague Valley of Rest, were re-subdivisions of the some part of the original Montague plan.

Montague Subdivision 1919, Davidson County Register of Deeds.

The was subdivision is said to have been named for Montague Sutton Ross, a Nashville attorney.  Montague was one of the owners of Montague Realty Company.  A biographical sketch of Ross, which appears in, Tennessee the Volunteer State 1769–1923, states; 

Montague S. Ross, image from J. D. Hardin

"He is a sagacious, farsighted business man and is one of the owners of the Montague Realty Company, which is operating on an extensive scale, while he also aided in organizing and promoting the Montague summer resort, which is situated near Nashville."

The Montague realty company was chartered, in July of 1918, with the following officers; Cecil Ross, Montague Ross, Charles Ross, Hugh Cormack Anderson, Thomas McCorrey, Charles U. Coggin and J. E. Smith.

Charles and Cecil Ross were brothers of Montague S. Ross.  Judge Hugh Anderson and Thomas McCorrey were law partners in a Jackson, Tennessee.  Charles Coggin was in the real estate business, in Nashville, for many years.  Nothing has been found about J. E. Smith. In 1919 the company acquired about 190 acres of land, on the banks of the Cumberland River, in Davidson County.  The land was bound by Gibson Creek and the Love property on the north and south and by Gallatin Road and the Cumberland River on the west and east.

The first streets in the subdivision, listed on the May 1919 plat, were Belle Camp Highway (E. Due West Avenue), East Palestine Blvd., Brinkhaven, Fernbank Avenue, Milliken Bend and Liberty Circle.  In July 1919, Grapevine, Bluegrass and Beach Avenues were added. In September of 1919 Fall Avenue is shown as a private drive in the Montague Falls Sub. Redbud was added in 1931.  In 1934, Goldilocks, Cinderella and Peter Pan Streets were added.

Montague S. Ross lived, with his wife Hazel and children, for many years at 1138 Cahal Avenue in East Nashville.  Charles Coggins also lived in East Nashville, in several locations.

Montague Ross home, 1138 Cahal Ave., Image from J. D. Harding

In 1923, Charles Coggins, was granted a business charter for, Montague Delicatessen.  It was listed as a general merchandise business and to deal in sandwiches, lunches, cold drinks, ice "and other products, such as are generally sold in a modern delicatessen." No listing could be found for Montague Delicatessen in a city directory. Was Montague Beach around as early as the 1920's?  If so maybe Montague Delicatessen served beach goers.

Red O'Donnell was a popular columnist for the Nashville Banner.  Red lived in Montague and often made some humorous mention of the neighborhood in his "Round the Clock," column.

In the 21st century, there are many differences.  The drive-in theater is gone, along with Montague Market and Montague Pharmacy.  Montague is place of good memories for many.   Today Montague is a changing neighborhood, home to longtime residents and newcomers alike, awaiting the next chapter.

Click here- Montague Beach -to read about Montague Beach.  There is a very good account of Montague Beach and the Cumberland River before Old Hickory Dam was built, by Mike Burroughs

Click here- The Montague Millennium -to read more about Montague.

Click here- Montague S. Ross -to read more about Montague S. Ross.

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Montague by Debie Oeser Cox is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.