by Amelia Whitsitt Edwards.
In the 1920s Lebanon Road ran through the Clover Bottom farm property and crossed Stone’s River just west of the present road and bridge. The old stone bridge abutments are still standing. The Stanford brothers, A.F. and R.D., had purchased the farm in 1918. Since Lebanon Road split the property, A.F. took the section to the east of the road and R.D. took the section to the west. A.F.’s part included the antebellum Hoggatt residence and R.D. built a two-story brick colonial revival home on his side of the road.
In the period following World War I the outlying areas of Davidson County were still rural farm lands. A.F. Stanford ran a dairy farm at Clover Bottom while R.D. Stanford raised white-faced beef cattle. The majority of the population of the county, however, lived within the confines of the Nashville city limits. With the proliferation of the family motor car in the “Roaring Twenties,” excursions to the countryside became a popular pastime. For those fortunate enough to own an automobile, exploring country roads, farms, and creek sides was a welcome relief from city life. There was usually a picnic basket on board filled with fried chicken, biscuits that had been buttered while hot, stuffed eggs, and a special Nashville favorite, chess pie.
Finding a swimming hole in one of the area rivers or creeks was an extra bonus on these outings. Although Mill Creek and Richland Creek were good for wading, neither furnished very deep holes for swimming. Men and boys swam in the Cumberland River, but it was considered too dangerous for women and children. The best swimming spots were found in the Harpeth and Stone’s rivers.
One such spot on Stone’s River was on A.F. Stanford’s side of the old bridge near where the present-day bridge crosses. Mr. Stanford created a beach by having tons of sand hauled in. He constructed a frame beach house with dressing rooms, lockers, and showers. There were boats, springboards, and picnic tables. He even employed Mr. and Mrs. M.B. Hall to manage the beach operation. Mr. Stanford’s generosity in creating this community beach is documented in a 1927 advertisement which stated that everything was free. It also stated that Old Hickory busses passed every thirty minutes—fare twenty-five cents.
When the new bridge was constructed in the early 1930s, the old road leading to the beach entrance was closed. The new bridge piers were sunk into the the swimming hole and floods washed away the sand. All that remains of the once-lively recreational spot are photographs taken by Wiles Studio in 1931, now in the collection of Merle Stanford Davis who married A.F. Stanford in 1927 and was mistress of Clover Bottom until 1948. She has generously shared her recollections for the publication of this article. (2000)