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Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017

Picturing the Past 24: Two legends

Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009, at 10:48 AM

Gov. Prentice Cooper on Strolling Jim in a 1940 photo.
Here are two of the most well-known products of Bedford County: Gov. Prentice Cooper riding Strolling Jim, grand champion of the first Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, in a photo from 1940.

Older people will remember Cooper for his political successes. Younger generations, such as myself, know him primarily as a large-scale property owner in Shelbyville and the father of U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper.


Cooper lived in this mansion on East Lane Street in an undated (but probably from the late 1930s or early 1940s) photo provided by Sheila Allen. (NOTE: This is a repost of my original PTP24 blog, in which I confused this home with another one on the Cooper property which burned in the 1970s. A quick trip to East Lane Street showed this home still stands, although behind far more greenery than in this photo. Massive thanks to frequent commenter leeiii for correcting me.)

Strolling Jim, the first Celebration champion, is buried behind Walking Horse Hotel in Wartrace. The horse's stables had been located behind the hotel. Floyd Carothers was trainer. The horse died before I was born, but probably even very young residents of Bedford County have heard of him, even if just from asking where the Strolling Jim 40 run gets its name.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

David, Thanks for two more great pictures from the past. I do not remember Strolling Jim but from the pictures I have seen that was some majestic horse. The first year that I can remember going to the horse show was in 1947 when the horse show was being held behind the high school. That was the year Merry Go Boy won for the first time.

As for the W.P. Cooper mansion, when I was walking to town I would walk the railroad tracks to the intersection of Whitthorne and East Lane. Then I would cross the street and walk along the top of the rock wall shown in the picture.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Sep 1, 2009, at 12:02 PM

Another great set of pics David. Fascinating history as well!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 1:36 AM

Leeiii I was also at the horse show in 1947 when Merry Go Boy beat Midnight Sun for the championship.

We would walk home from school behind the Cooper house. I think the Govenor's mother had a parrot that would yell for us to shut up.

-- Posted by jim8377 on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 8:02 AM

jim8377, It is strange that you should mention that parrot. Bryant Street passed directly behind the Cooper property real close to the big house. I have heard that parrot squawk on more than one occasion as I was walking over to the Adamson's house to shoot some hoops.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 8:51 AM

I used to cut thru the Cooper estate to get to the old Junior High....One afternoon The Parrot was on a overhead wire and said " Get Out Of Here You Son of a ......" ....leeiii, I too shot hoops at the Adamson's (Lloyd was in my class)....

-- Posted by FlaDon on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 5:18 PM

Lloyd was one year older than me so we are close to the same age.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Sep 2, 2009, at 5:42 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.