Poplar Apartments

d n english

The apartments started life in 1932 Elderdale Apartments.

On the second floor there was one two bedroom one bath unit and a three bedroom one bath unit. One the first floor there were seven studio apartments. They all had beautiful hardwood floors and the building was heated by steam heat.

In the back of the property there were garages with storages areas. 

 I talked to Mrs. Sarah Davis who grew up on Fairgrounds St. a few houses down from the apartments. “ My mother and I would walk past the apartments going to the bus. I also admired the rose garden at the end of the garages. The roses were such beautiful colors.”

One of the former tenants that lived  at the apartments was a retired telephone operator. “Our family did not have much but I remember when we pasted the apartments at Christmas they would be decorated with bright lights. In the upstairs windows you could see the Christmas trees and imagine the beautiful boxes under the tree. In the summer time there would be  people setting on the porches laughing and talking.They would wave at people walking by on the side walk. I always said I am going to live there someday. The minute I got my job at the telephone company I saved my money and rented my apartment.  I was there ten years until  I got married but my time at the apartments were full of happy memories.” She said smiling . I could tell she was going back in time.

In the 1950’s Clara Bell Key, one of the first women officers at First National Bank, owned the property known as the Poplar Apartment.  (FYI before the street was named Airways Blvd it was known as Poplar Ave)

Then in 1967 the Morgan Family purchased the property . They began redoing the units. The first change was to add a second bathroom to the  their three bedroom apartment. Then updating the other units and tearing down the garages. They created a parking area and 6 “sleeping rooms with baths.”. They rented the rooms by the night,  week or month. 

In 1996 the Morgan’s tore the units down.(that story is Miss Helen’s)

They had one gentleman who moved to Jackson in 1967 after the updates had been done. Miss Helen  told me he lived there for 30 years until  he retired from the State and moved back to the family farm in Dickson. “He was like family I really missed him.” 

Then in 2000  Mr and Mrs Morgan  moved to their new home out North. Soon after the Morgan family sold the apartments. The neighborhood had changed two different purchasers tried to make ago of the property but failed.

Now the City has plans let’s hope  they succeed.

  Now for the story Miss Helen told me about the back apartments. 

It was a summer morning in 1996 Miss Helen was tending her garden on the back of the apartments. The “sleeping rooms” faced the garden. “ Honey, I was bent over pulling weeds and I heard some loud talking. I looked up and there he was coming out of the second unit  drunk and buck naked.”  Miss Helen said

“Well I grabbed me a switch and switched his bare bottom chasing him all around the front of the building. The people driving by on Airways got their eyes full. A patrol car pulled up and when the officer stoped laughing I got him to take the man back to his unit to put some clothes on before he took him to jail.” said Miss Helen.

She went on to tell me when Roy got home they had aserious discussion. It wasn’t but a few days later the tenants were asked to leave. The next week the sleeping rooms were torn down.

Miss Helen Morgan was one of the kindest ladies you would ever meet but she would never put up with nonsense. Oh the stories she told me followed with the words “now child don’t you tell on me until I pass on”. Miss Helen I kept my word but I will only tell the best stories. You  will always be in my heart and I know if I start to tell a story you do not want be repeated I will get the  message. 

 Rest in Paradise my dear Miss Helen ( September 24, 1928-July 4,2021)

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