Uplands Village Celebrates 100th Anniversary and Unveils Time Capsule

It has been 100 years since the founding of Dr. May Cravath Wharton’s first hospital here in Pleasant Hill, and her vision of serving this entire area took on new meaning when she moved her hospital to Crossville. The Cumberland Medical Center stands today as a reminder of Dr. May’s dedication to serving the wider community.

And so does Uplands Village. When this retirement community began to take shape in 1956, the first residents started looking for ways to use their time and talents to serve the community. In 1961, Dr. Robert Metcalfe shared these words about Uplands with folks gathered to celebrate National Hospital Day – “We propose a settlement of people who want to contribute to the community and the area – a place where people can play and work and serve.”

On Saturday, October 22, 2022, Uplands Village honored its history, celebrated its residents – past, present, and future – and anticipated its future with the unveiling of a Time Capsule to be opened on Uplands Village’s 125th anniversary.

100 Years of Community & Service

Dr. May and Dr. Metcalfe’s idea of a community that cares blossomed at Uplands Village. Uplanders have worked diligently on a wide range of concerns and needs, such as the environment.

Preserving our rich local history has also been important to Uplands Village. We especially appreciate the efforts of Uplanders, who created the Pleasant Hill Historical Society and Pioneer Hall Museum, which we still maintain today.

Like Dr. May, Uplands members have always devoted countless hours to improving life here on the Cumberland Plateau. Think about the Crossville chapters of PFLAG and Habitat for Humanity, the Avalon Center for domestic abuse victims, Good Samaritans in Crossville, the food box here, Creative Compassion, the Rural Health Clinic and Neighbors Together, the United Fund, Alzheimer’s TN, the Victim & Offender Reconciliation Program, and so much more.

“When I first moved to Pleasant Hill, I didn’t fully realize the gift of friendship and of a “new family.” I do now. There is such vitality here in this little town. There is a deep display of love for the earth, for family, community, and friendship.

Dr. May is looking down on us all this day, smiling and so proud of you and what she sees. Her legacy of care and service is very much alive and in good hands – as I am sure it will be 25 years from now when the Time Capsule is opened. We will be able to say Uplands and its members have continued to contribute so much to this community and beyond.”

Excerpt from a speech written by Lisa Patrick, Mayor of Pleasant Hill, and delivered by Vice-Mayor and Uplands member Don Dowdey

Uplands residents have also played a vibrant role in the area’s cultural life, volunteering at Cumberland County Playhouse, Crossville Arts Council, Art Circle Public Library, and in choral and instrumental groups. We have also been active in various humanitarian groups in the area, in churches, civic organizations and political groups, including town and county government.

And last but certainly not least, there is the resident-run Wharton Association. Through its sales over the course of many years, Uplanders have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support student scholarships and address local needs. All the efforts of Uplands Village members add up to create a remarkable record of public service.

Commemorative Time Capsule to be Opened in 25 Years

Traditionally, a Time Capsule is buried in the ground and then dug up and opened sometime in the future. However, this Time Capsule will remain above ground for the next 25 years for all of us to see before it is finally opened, and its contents revealed.

Our Time Capsule will begin its 25 years at the Uplands Wellness Center on West Lake Road. But it may also be moved to other locations, such as the Pleasant Hill School or the Cumberland County Playhouse, for more people to see and appreciate.

“I cannot wait to see the re-opening of the Time Capsule in 25 years. I want to look out into the crowd and see the faces and their amazement. I am sure there will be some current students of PHS at that gathering, and I hope they will be able to say, yes, I remember when…”

Traci Buckner, Principal of Pleasant Hill Elementary School

If Dr. May were Here Today…

At the ceremony, Mary Schantz, a member of the Uplands 100th Anniversary committee, read a poem by Berwyn Coovert titled “Return Visit.” Berwyn Coovert, a long-time resident of Uplands Village who turned 100 this year, was for many years the “Poet Laureate of Uplands” and chronicled her life at Uplands through poetry. She wrote “Return Visit” to celebrate the opening of Fletcher House for Assisted Living many years ago. In the poem, she imagines Dr. May returning to Uplands to see the newly-built Fletcher Assisted Living facility.

Return Visit 

If Dr. May could come again 
Today to Pleasant Hill 
And take a drive through Uplands, 
Her heart would surely thrill 
To see our brand-new Fletcher House 
And revamped Heritage Hall, 
And many new retirement homes 
Which were not here at all. 

The place she knew as Uplands 
Was then an embryo 
Which we have seen develop 
As she hoped it would grow. 
She built the firm foundation 
For all we see today.
We owe our deepest gratitude 
For the dreams of Dr. May. 

If Dr. May returned during Uplands 100th Anniversary celebration, not only would she be thrilled to see the expanded Fletcher House but also an Aquatic Center, the new Wharton Homes for Long-Term Care and the new Memory Care Assisted Living facilities, the Uplands Wellness Center for skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapies that was built on the footprint of her original Wharton Nursing Home, as well as many more new homes and new neighborhoods, and even May’s Café.

Dr. May gave us a wonderful example of caring for the whole person. She was generous with her time and her resources. At the close of this anniversary year, as we celebrate the past and appreciate the present, it is up to us to find ways to continue this legacy of caring into the next one hundred years.

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Uplands Village: The Past, Present, and Future

Written by Jack Stebbins, Uplands Village resident   

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