The Harvey H. Hannah Highway

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

If you drive along the highway from Harriman to Oliver Springs, you’ll notice that Highway 61 is called the “The Harvey H. Hannah Highway.” The highway was named after Harvey H. Hannah of Oliver Springs who for 30 years was the Tennessee Chairman of the State Railroad and Public Utilities Commission. He served in the Spanish American War becoming Colonel of the 4th Tennessee Volunteers. He also became a Military Governor of a Cuban province. Cordell Hull who became United States Secretary of State served as a Captain under Hannah. Besides being a lawyer, military officer, and politician, he was well known as a great orator. He served as Adjutant General under two Tennessee Governors from 1903-1907. This was where he acquired the title “General.” In 1922, General Hannah was a candidate for Governor in the Democratic primary but was defeated by Austin Peay who would become Governor. On Nov. 8, 1936, Harvey H. Hannah died from a throat condition. Governor Hill McAlister visited Hannah before his death and asked, “Harvey, is there anything that I can do for you?” He replied, “Hill, I know that money is hard to get, but I hope that you will find enough state money to finish the Oliver Springs-Harriman highway.” The Governor did find enough money, and the highway was named in Hannah’s honor. Harvey Hannah is buried in the Oliver Springs Cemetery, and his tombstone is said to be the tallest monument in the Oliver Springs area.

Originally Written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, January 2013.