Hodges Market Street Home

Hodges Market Street Home

The old Hodges’ home, as everyone referred to it, was located on south Market Street just north of Florida Ave.

Built in 1910 by William Lee and Loula Maud Hodges, who were known as Lee and Lou of the Hodges’ Jewelry Store in downtown Dayton. The house was a mark of distinction in town. Then the wide porch was once shaded by a tall fir tree with widespread limbs. The closely clipped hedges and lawn were well kept. Tall elms, dogwoods and crabapples also graced the lawn.

It was here that Lou Hodges used to work around her lily pond which was stocked with goldfish. The pond was shaped like a star and contained a fountain. The lawn had a garden at the back which had her artistic touch. There was a stone table with a rock bench topped with a large sun umbrella. The flagstone walkway had flowers and bulbs planted along it. A branch filled with goldfish separated the garden from the mill next door.

In this home Lee and Lou raised their children, Willie Lee and Igou. The Hodges would often hold social gatherings in their home such as the yearly summer meal that the Hodges served to the preachers in town. During the Scopes Trial in July of 1925, the home was opened up and filled with guests from afar.

Willie Lee later married Jesse McPheeters, who was Sheriff of Rhea County at one time. The couple settled in their bungalow on 3rd Ave across from the Rhea County Courthouse where they raised a son and daughter.

Igou had remained at home with his parents and was the mainstay of the Jewelry Store.  At the age of 40, he was married to Gladys Louise Walker, everyone remembers her as Louise. She was a Librarian in the Rhea Central high School. Louise came to Dayton in 1942 from Middle Tennessee.

After marriage, Igou and Louise built themselves a new brick home on the adjoining lot of his parents. Here is where they raised their three children Louis Igou Jr, Jane Ellen, and Elizabeth (Betty).

Igou continued working in the family business and upon his passing on May 10,1964, his sister Willie Lee McPheeters took over the business and hired Charlene Reynolds to run the store. The business was sold a few years later.

Jane Ellen (Hodges) Farnsworth recalls that her mother would sit in the window of her brick home next door and watch the workers as they tore down the grand old home back in 1983. The home had been purchased by Robinson MFG Company.

Louise passed away on March 26, 1984 and is buried next to her husband Igou in Buttram Cemetery in the family plot near William Lee and Loula Maud Hodges.

Today, the Robinson MFG Company occupies the lot where this grand old house once stood.

Nostalgic memories flood our minds as we think of the changes we have seen along this stretch of Market Street over the years.

Hodges Jewelry Store Dayton
William Lee Hodges and son Igou shown in the Hodges Jewelry Store.
Front view of the Lee and Lou Hodges Home.
Jane Ellen and husband Edwin Farnsworth currently live in the brick home.

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Published byDean

Born and raised in Dayton Tennessee, I have served in various public service positions in the past. I have a great interest in the History of our town. This site is a way for me to share some of the great history of the area.


  • Phyllis Payne

    February 26, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    I was glad to meet you at the open house of our new Justice Center.
    I enjoy the pictures you post and the history.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Wanda Morgan

    February 27, 2021 at 12:29 am

    Thanks for posting. I was in the house one time. It was beautiful and
    I hated to see it torn down. I didn’t know the history of it.

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