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1907-1909 William Riley Crabtree

William R Crabtree 1907-1909(Lived April 23, 1867 – October 10, 1920)

William Crabtree moved to Chattanooga from Trenton, Georgia. In addition to owning an interest in The Chattanooga Evening News and writing for the paper, Crabtree had an interest in agriculture and acquired a large farm east of Missionary Ridge which he called Belvoir. 

Crabtree served on the Board of Aldermen for two years before being elected Mayor in 1907.  The years of Mayor Crabtree’s service were ones of growth for Chattanooga.  In addition to the city’s first skyscraper being completed, the cornerstone for the Eleventh Street City Hall was laid and Terminal Station opened.  As prohibition went into effect during his term of office, Mayor Crabtree also oversaw the establishment of ways to enforce new temperance laws.

After his term as Mayor, Crabtree served in the State Senate and was Speaker of the House before he retired to his farm.  In addition to raising Jersey cattle, Crabtree published a weekly agricultural newspaper called Crabtree’s Press that enjoyed statewide circulation.  Crabtree eventually sold his paper to The Memphis News who continued its publication.

Photo by Phillip Stevens and Matt Lea