Photo Record

Object Name Image, Digital
Catalog Number 2015.077.001.a-d
Collection Picnooga Collection
Description a: Digitized photograph, 8" x 10" original size, on the back is handwriting in blue ink: "Entrance to Fairyland, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee (Designed by Frieda Carter)". Frieda was the wife of Chattanooga, TN entrepreneur Garnet Carter (1883-1954), born in Sweetwater, TN but moving to Lookout Mountain at 11 years of age. He was a consummate salesman even as a youth, operating a souvenir and candy stand on the mountain at Point Park. Though various ventures failed, he eventually achieved great success through: the upscale Fairyland residential development (1924) on Lookout Mountain, TN & GA; the majestic stone Fairyland Inn/Club (1926) and associated popular Tom Thumb Golf course (patented 1927); and international tourist attraction Rock City Gardens (1932).

The massive mountain stone gate pillars pictured here still stand today, 2016, at the entrance to the pricey Fairyland neighborhood on the east side of Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway. Each slopes down and away from the unpaved entrance road, featuring matching alcoves, lights, and arches over stone walk ways for pedestrians. The southerly pillar projects a wrought iron sign depicting Red Riding Hood and the wolf under a tree, and just below are the painted letters "FAIRYLAND". Stone walls extend outward from each pillar.

Inside the entrance appears at right a small hexagonal log structure, likely an information/sales office or a security guard shelter. A pole and some type of flag extend upward from the center of the roof. One notices, also, the power poles and lines turning into the development. Two antique model cars are visible inside the gates, one apparently open and the other enclosed. The property within supports tall evergreens, but no homes are evident. It is interesting to note that Garnet bought these several hundred acres in 1924, about the time that a residential land boom was underway in Florida.

b. Digitize photograph, original size 8" x 10". On the back "Frieda Carter" is hand written in blue ink. Frieda is standing in front of one of the homes she designed and built in Fairyland subdivision, a very creative and artistic lady. Each was named, this log house called "Three Bears". Her design theme was the ancient European fairy tale, a rustic cottage look in natural botanical surroundings. Frieda even imported German statuary to represent the characters from these stories. They, or similar ones, are still featured at Rock City Gardens. The Lookout Mountain artist responsible for painting these in lively hues was Mrs. Jessie Sanders Schmid. Originally a sculptor in Atlanta, she joined Rock City in its early years.

The structure pictured appears to be a u-shaped single story plus some attic space & perhaps basement area, a simple gabled roof, a few multi-pane windows, and three wide stone steps up to an uncovered, lantern lighted front porch also in stone. While featuring this cottage, Frieda is wearing a casual, stylish outfit of the 1920's: co-coordinated knit skirt, v-neck top, belted sweater, cloche hat, and medium dress heels. Jewelry are a necklace and rings.

c. Digitized photograph, original 8" x 10". The back is blank, but on the front white margin at bottom left is printed in black ink "Three Bears -", the same subject as in object b. above. This is a more comprehensive view showing: stone shoulders bordering the compacted dirt road, a low stone wall at front and sides of yard, mail box, rock outcropping and natural landscaping, a love seat on the front porch, a carport attached to the left of the home and connecting to a small log room with chimney, perhaps guest quarters.

It may be noted that one misshapen tree behind the mailbox could well be a native American trail marker. The Indians often bent small trees into odd shapes to mark a route or leave a message for those coming behind.

d. Digitized photograph, original 8" x 10". The subject is another of the Fairyland homes designed & built by Frieda Carter. The back is blank, but the front white margin at bottom left is marked "Rockaby -" in black ink. It is made of logs & stone, as was "Three Bears" described above.

The grounds are quite informal & natural in appearance with random stones & trees, a small wooden post, a gravel drive, and a large mountain stone front porch bordered by a low rock wall. Casual outdoor furniture sits on the porch, and rustic shutters hang at the windows. The front entrance through a heavy wooden door. The house design is a simple rectangle with gabled roof, six small windows in an attic dormer, and a stone chimney at one end. There appears to be living space in the basement as well, where the property slopes down from the front of the house.
Date 1925 circa
Accession number 2015.077