I am not sure anyone knows the exact year the Park Avenue Apartments
were built, but I have a pretty accurate time period. Most Trionites
believe the apartments were built between 1919 and 1922. Trion
resident Frank Bowers stated the apartments were built as early as
1919. Former Trion resident Elaine Holtberg stated her grandparents
and parents remember the year the apartments were built as
Elaine stated, “My father always said he and the Park Avenue Apartments
were the same age,” Elaine’s parents were the late Loran Franklin Bynum
(October 31, 1922-September 14, 2005) and Cleo Wike Bynum (May 23,
1922-August 9, 2005.)
1962 aerial view looking south.
Park Avenue is running up the middle with the apartments on
the left. The hospital is lower right.
The Park Avenue Apartments are three brick buildings containing
two-story apartments with two to a porch. Each one of the three brick
buildings contains nine units for a total of 18 apartments. The first
building, near the Trion Presbyterian Church, is numbered Apt. 23
Apt. 40. The middle building holds Apt. 41 through Apt. 58. The last
building, near the Trion River, is numbered Apt. 59 through Apt. 76. In
recent years, the apartments were re-numbered with a three-digit 911
A photograph of the back of the apartments taken from Allgood Street shows the March 1973 flood.
Loran F. Bynum’s parents, James Lester “Dock” Bynum (1902-1991) and
Kathyrn “Kate” H. Bynum (1901-1961), lived in the building near the
Trion Presbyterian Church. Elaine remembers living in the middle
section in 1949 with her parents and brother, James F. Bynum. Later,
Riegel began selling their company houses and the apartments. Mr.
& Mrs. Loran Bynum had the opportunity to purchase their
apartment. The apartments were sold by the porch, two to a unit. The
Bynum’s did what most folks did during that time, they lived in one
side and rented out the other side. My great uncle Robert Dewey
Williams and great aunt Margaret Turner Williams purchased Apt. 49 and
Apt. 50, and I recall them living there while I attended high school in
Park Avenue view of the apartments in Summer 1973.
The Park Avenue Apartments were a great place to live for young
families with kids in school. They were ideal for the employees of
Riegel, and many elderly couples enjoyed the apartments in their
retirement years. Everything was within walking distance from the
apartments. Located across the street were the
Trion Community Hospital, Trion Inn (Lelia E. Riegel Hall), and Town
Hall. Also, down Dalton Street were Trion Elementary School (formerly
the Old Trion Grammar School), Trion High School, Trion Recreation
Department (formerly the Trion YMCA), and the ball fields.
Photograph taken in 2012. The apartments were demolished the following year due to damage from increased flooding.
Park Avenue Apartments could cross the river by way of the foot
bridge or the old wagon bridge, which was rebuilt in 1938 connecting
Park Avenue to the cotton mill. Several churches were in walking
distance: Trion Church of Christ on First Street, Trion Presbyterian
Church on Park Avenue Street, Trion First Baptist Church, and Trion
Methodist Church on DeForest Avenue.
The “Granddaddy of Them All” was
the Big Friendly Store located in the center plaza of the cotton mill.
Before the Big Friendly, the Trion Department Store was a brick
building in the same area. Visitors to Trion and residents stayed in
the Trion Plaza Inn and Ragland House, both located in walking distance
of the cotton mill. The town of Trion had its own Trion Post Office,
Trion Service Station, and Greyhound Bus Station. In the south end of
the town, the Allgood House, Riegeldale Dairy, Riegeldale Tavern, and
football/baseball field were available for the town residents.
The town of Trion has always been a great place to live, attend school,
work, and raise a family. The Park Avenue Apartments will always be a
part of our heritage, history, and memories.
Brad Hayes graduated from Trion High School in 1986, where he played
baseball and football. After a distinguished career in Education, Brad
became a full-time minister at Lookout Hall Church of Christ in
Chattooga County. He also serves as Sports Editor and Historian for the
Trion Facts, and as Vice President of Publicity for the Chattooga
County Historical Society. He and his wife, Judy, have two sons, Luke
and Jake. Brad kindly allowed Chattooga Photo History to reprint this
three photographs by T. Emmett Nunn. Courtesy of Chattooga Library.
Fourth photograph by Greg McCollum. Last photograph by Brad Hayes.