Infrastructure Expands


In 1937, Dr. E.B. Clark sold his home at 129 N. Church St. to White County for $19,932.50. The county remodeled the house with the intent to open the county's first hospital. The residents raised such an outcry that the opening was blocked by a court injunction.


Two years later, the county was forced to sell the house, at a loss of $2,000, to the Federal Deposit Insurance Company. FDIC sold the property to Kate Smith, a nurse anesthetist who opened the hospital as a privately owned facility. The hospital operated until the late 1950s, when a county facility was built at a cost of more than $350,000.


Today, the city boasts a 60-bed, state-of-the-art facility that was the 2006 recipient of the Solucient Top 100 Hospitals award.


In the 1940s, E. Broadway St., the main thoroughfare through Sparta, was converted from two lanes to four lanes. The street was dubbed Million-Dollar Mile in December 1950 after the city installed a mile-long string of streetlights -- representing the city's first -- at a cost of $26,000.


The street was later officially renamed Bockman Way for former Mayor Bailey Bockman. Bockman was mayor from 1947 to 1951 and again from 1953 to 1959. He was also the great, great, great grandson of Robert Fielding Cooke, for whom the nearby city of Cookeville was named.


The 1950s also saw the addition of an automated telephone system in Sparta and Doyle. The system included a four-number dialing process for connecting the caller to the call receiver. By 1957, the system expanded into the rural areas of the county with the installation of 825 phones. And in 1962, the system was expanded to a seven-digit dialing format.