Brian Jakes

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What would it be like to grow up in the back of the Old Hickory Village telephone company office back when people relied on operators to make a call?  Bryan Jakes knows.  Bryan's family moved into a small apartment behind the telephone company office at 700 Hadley in 1926.  Bryan was just six-years-old at the time. Bryan's family eventually moved to DuPontonia (now Lakewood), but he continued to spend a lot of his youth in the village attending both DuPont Elementary and DuPont High School.  He later started a career as a window dresser at Sullivan's but was wooed away by better opportunities with Vultee, an airplane parts manufacturer.  Though Bryan left Old Hickory and DuPontia at one point, he later returned to establish deep roots in a modest house that looks out over Old Hickory lake.  Bryan is one of the few people remaining who remembers the swinging bridge and when the 1918 school stood where Hayes Field is today at the corner of Hadley and Old Hickory Blvd.   He shares those memories as well as many more in this interview.

 Meet Bryan Jakes

Bryan is the reason his family moved to Old Hickory!  Find out why and learn the unusual living arrangements assigned to them! 




Bryan and his sister stand in front of the phone company at 700 Hadley in the 1920s.

Bryan's Parents

Sling Shots and the Sap-Raining Tree 

Bryan shares with us the mischief his sling shot got him into along with some aspects of village life he found interesting and unusual in the 1920s.



A DuPontonia Childhood 

Before being named Lakewood, the area was called DuPontonia.  When Bryan was still in grade school, his family moved from Old Hickory Village to DuPontonia.  Bryan talks about what life was like in DuPontonia before WWII. 


Dupontonia (Old Hickory Blvd. & 24th St)

Remembering the Swinging Bridge

When the U.S. Government commissioned DuPont to build a powder plant and village during WWI, DuPont also oversaw the construction of a swinging bridge across the Cumberland River.  The bridge would remain in place until 1929.  Bryan got to experience the swinging bridge and shares an encounter his father had one winter's night. 



A Tale of Two Baseball Fields

Most who grew up in Old Hickory in the 1930s-1950s placed a lot of importance on baseball.  Many of their memories are the same, but occasionally they differ.  It is rare to find anyone who remembers when Old Hickory's main baseball field was located behind the First Baptist Church  and a school was in the place of where the current Hayes Field is today (corner of Hadley and Old Hickory Blvd), but Bryan remembers.  


Other Sports - Why Bryan Didn't Play Sports


Other Sports - Boxing



Holiday Beach and the Swimming Pool

Like the baseball field, the Old Hickory Village Swimming Pool (once located where Rachel's Walk park is today), was a popular place.  There was also another recreational venue where you could swim known as Holiday Beach. It was located off of Lakeshore Drive along the lake.   In this clip Bryan talks about them both.



Swimming Pool - 1940s

A Variety of Jobs

Bryan has never been a man of leisure.  Work has always been a part of his life.  In the following three clips, he takes us from repairing neighborhood bikes to being a window dresser at Sullivan's (the main department store in Old Hickory Village) to working at Vultee Aircraft to owning a bait shop in DuPontonia/Lakewood.  Somewhere in the middle of it all, he learned how to fly via a open-aired biplane. 

Reparing Bicycles


Working at Sullivans, Vultee Aircraft, and Learning to Fly


The Baitshop 



The employees of Sullivans took a trip to Mammoth Cave in the 1930s.
Note: I showed this to Bryan's very young grandson. He identified him immediately after I could not. 

Front of Sullivan's 


In addition to working a myriad of jobs, Bryan, along with Howard Hayes, invented a device to dispense suntan lotion.  The device was located on beaches coast to coast and even in Europe.  


Bryan's Lanotan design (his wife, Euna,  is one of these two beautiful models)

A Marriage That Almost Didn't Happen

Bryan met his wife, Euna, at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee.  Their meeting is the type of story that unfolds in a movie.  Bryan takes us through each step of the way. 


The Man Who Missed the Bridge

One of the larger car dealers in the pre-WWII DuPontonia era was Hamblen Chevrolet.  According to Bryan, Mr. Hamblen was a handsome man and was a well-known in the town.  It should be no suprise that automobile accident Bryan describes in this next clip is memorable.  


A WWII Denial

Most of Bryan's friends enlisted or were drafted during WWII.  Bryan attempted to enlist, but was suprising denied.  Find out why. 

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What Bryan Wants to Be Remembered For

We end every interview with the question, "What do you want to be remembered for?"  Bryan without hesitation shares his thoughts.