Honoring Charles & Billie Nell Hall

Our community is mourning the loss of native son and influential community leader Charles Hall, who died at age 90 on December 31, 2014. Sadly, his wife of 71 years, Billie Nell, also just passed away, on January 5, 2015.

Charles and Billie Nell Lester Hall devoted their lives to their community. Charles served as Tellico Plains Mayor for a total of 31 years, two years as alderman-recorder, 12 years as a Justice of Peace and Commissioner. Charles and Billie owned and operated the Tellico Telephone Company from 1954 to 1985, bringing telephone service to isolated rural areas surrounding Tellico Plains. While raising their family of four girls, the couple actively participated in numerous community organizations. Charles was a member of the town's fire department for 52 years, organizing and training 11 rural fire departments throughout Monroe County. Charles was named "Monroe County's Most Outstanding Citizen" in 1969. He authored A History of Tellico Plains, TN in 2001, and, with his daughter Pamela Mathews, compiled A Pictorial History of the Tellico Plains Area 1849-1949, published in 2011, the 100th birthday of Tellico Plains.

Billie Nell was a member and leader in the Cherokee Women's Study Club, and worked tirelessly to support education, beautification and positive public relations in Tellico Plains. She was also honored as the 1986 Tennessee Mother of the Year. Billie Nell was also involved with Monroe County United Way, Monroe County Tourism Council, the board of directors for Overlook Mental Health Center, and chairperson of the Task Force for Better Schools.

Along with the numerous organizations both were involved with, Charles and Billie Nell spearheaded many projects that have developed the Tellico Plains area. Charles was involved with the Kiwanis Club during the 1958 Wagontrain. The Wagontrain was started to show the need for a road from Tellico Plains, TN, to Robinsville, NC. Charles was either the wagonmaster or chief scout for 49 years. The Cherohala Skyway opened on October 12, 1996. In 1997, the Tennessee State Legislature named the bridge over Laurel Branch on the Cherohala Skyway "The Charles Hall Bridge." Charles also played a leading role in the Tellico Dam construction.

Charles was a local historian since boyhood. Over the years, Charles and Billie Nell amassed an enormous and amazing array of local artifacts, antiques, and historic memorabilia. Showcasing their collections was a lifelong dream, and they opened the Charles Hall Museum in Tellico Plains in 2003. The couple filled two large buildings with stunning displays of guns, coins, tools, furnishings, and numerous treasures of local history. As former owners of the Tellico Telephone Company, the Halls included hundreds of telephones and related phone company hardware spanning decades, and well as a Model T phone truck and a unique life-size cross-section view of the unground cable vault. Many of the telephone company artifacts on display were donated by the East Tennessee Telephone Pioneers. Showcase after showcase unveils beautifully organized treasures from the past, many used by Tellico Plains residents long ago. Museum visitors were often treated to a tour by Charles himself, and the personal stories he shared will be cherished.

Charles also spent many years collecting old photographs from Tellico Plains, carefully documenting the people, places, and time periods. Many of these photos would have been lost forever without his foresight to save them. The museum displays over 1000 of his photos, uniquely preserving the visual history of Tellico Plains, including images such as old street scenes, logging operations from a century ago, mountain wagon trains, long forgotten town merchants, and school photos from years gone by. This museum was truly a labor of love for Mr. Hall, and the community will benefit far into the future with the history it has documented. View videos of Charles at the Museum and read more at http://tellico-plains.com/charles-hall-museum.html

The family will receive friends in honor of Billie Nell on Friday, January 9, 2015, from 5-7 with a memorial service at 7 at Myers Funeral Home. Interment Saturday 11:00 a.m. at City Cemetery.

Donations to the Charles Hall Museum, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) foundation, in memory of Charles and Billie Nell, are welcome. Museum admission is free, and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Donate online at http://www.charleshallmuseum.com/

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