CHARLESTON, Tenn. -- The future regional history center in Charleston now has a name, the Hiwassee River Heritage Center.
The name was announced Sunday at the January meeting of the Charleston/Calhoun/Hiwassee Historical Society.
"I think it is very fitting because the river is the reason for both of these communities,'' said society President Faye Callaway.
The historical society completed the purchase of a former branch bank building here earlier this month, with the help of a $7,000 no-interest bridge loan from the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce's foundation. The loan makes up the difference between what the two communities raised and the final $132,000 purchase price.
Community support for the society continued to grow Sunday with a $1,000 donation from the Harry S. Truman Club of Bradley County. The gift is in memory of well-known farmer J.B. Moore.
Architect Tom Crye is donating his services to draw plans for the building.
The society will be announcing volunteer work days closer to spring, said the Chamber's Melissa Woody. The work includes removing some interior walls and flooring and installing new features to display the area's pioneer, Cherokee, Civil War and 20th-century history.
Woody said the hope is to have the center ready to open by August, when students from Lee University and Cleveland State Community College will be available as volunteer staff.
The Chamber has hired Darlene Goins, history society treasurer, to work part time as coordinator with the students.
The center also will anchor a planned greenway through town to the river. Organizers have applied for a federal grant that would, if approved, be the local match for greenway construction donated by Jonathan Cantrell, owner of Caldwell Paving.
"This can be much more than a tourism center,'' Woody told the audience. The area is already showing new signs of interest from others, she said, with the opening of a Piggly Wiggly grocery store soon.
"Of course they have heard about Wacker and Amazon,'' Woody said, "but I want to think that maybe they have heard about what we are doing, too.''
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...