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It all began in 1910 when John W. Harton placed an ad in The Tullahoma Guardian for a farm he had for sale by John W. Harton, Real Estate Sales.
While he also dabbled in the insurance business, real estate was always his main focus. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention, but in addition to politics, he served as Treasurer of the State of Tennessee prior to World War II and was a three time mayor of Tullahoma.
In 1950, his daughter, Nancy, and son-in-law, Nat I. Washburn moved to Tullahoma. Nat, who at the time knew nothing of the real estate business, joined Mr. Harton who set about educating Nat. His office was located in the Harton Arcade, so the name of the their first business became Arcade Realty Co. Nat was a quick learner. Mr. Harton soon began to guide Nat in developing several subdivisions around the town. After Mr. Harton’s death in 1963, Nat assumed the position of General Manager.
In 1951, Mr. Harton purchased William Northern Field from the federal government after it was deemed surplus property after WWII. All the land for today’s airport proper (Tullahoma Regional Airport) is owned by the city of Tullahoma and functions as our city airport. The Harton family sold and/or gifted this land to benefit the city.
In 1957, the Harton family gifted 90 acres for the first 9 holes of what is now known as our fine, upscale Lakewood Country Club, Inc. Later another 9 holes were added.
In 1962, before Mr. Harton’s death, the family donated 10 acres of land to the city to build a hospital which is named Harton Regional Medical Center in honor of John W. Harton. The hospital has recently been bought by Vanderbilt and is now named Vanderbilt Tullahoma-Harton.
The Harton Arcade burned in 1981, so new quarters had to be found, and they constructed a new building on South Jackson Street. The Harton family decided to rename the business Harton Realty Company. Nat Washburn retired in 1990 after serving the family business for over 42 years.
Nat’s son-in-law, Joe Lester took over the management soon thereafter, and became the General Manager. Joe has carried on the Harton tradition by being involved in numerous real estate and community projects in the Tullahoma area. Over the years, Harton Realty Company has been involved in developing many properties including The Fairways (a prestigious residential development which adjoins Lakewood Country Club), Westwood Subdivision, Linkside Estates, Blue Creek Estates, Setters Point, Creekstone, Courtside and Monteagle Development.
Harton Realty has been instrumental in bringing numerous commercial ventures to Tullahoma including Jackson Medical Plaza, Forrest Gallery Shopping Center (which has tenants such as Applebees, Red Lobster, Hardees, Kroger to name a few), Harton Airpark, Ruby Tuesday, Waffle House, and the Hampton Inn not to mention all the new tenants in Cherokee Square and Northgate Mall. Harton Family Partners recently worked a contract to bring NHC (large nursing home) to Tullahoma, Electronic Express, Holiday Inn Express, and sold land to the recently built Ascend Federal Credit Union. Harton leases their land to Life Care Center of Tullahoma and K Mart.
Among these commercial ventures Harton has also been an influence and stockholder in forming Southern Community Bank, now SmartBank, which is a state chartered bank formed in 2004 that now has 3 branches with assets in access of $150M.
Harton Realty has always been centered around the community and continues that tradition by providing exceptional services to each and every client.
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