Introduction: Fairview 7100 City Center Way is a beautiful, sprawling community. It is located in Fairview, Tennessee and its residents are proud of their city. This is the story of how one man’s pride for his hometown community led to him becoming one of the most beloved men in the area today.
ARNOLD HOOVER was born in Fairview, Tennessee. His father was a country doctor, a man of many interests. The Hoovers lived there until Arnold was in his teens and then moved to Chattanooga where his father became the city’s medical examiner. After high school, Arnold attended the University of Chattanooga where he graduated with a degree in pre-law. He went to law school at the prestigious University of Tennessee. He finished his coursework, passed the bar exam and opened his own practice in Chattanooga. It was there he met a charming young woman from a well-to-do family in Memphis: Mary Edith Smith. They married and had three children: Arnold Jr., Mary Edith, and Julie. Life was good for the young family and they made many happy memories together.
Hometown Hero: Bobby Price
Arnold’s first job after college was with the Ross County recorder’s office, a position he held for one year. He then became a public school teacher and taught in counties across Middle Tennessee for five years. In 1963, his marriage to his high school sweetheart produced their first child, a daughter named Tina. In 1967, his older brother, Alton, died in a farm accident. Arnold decided to move closer to family in Clarksville and purchased a farm outside of Sullivan. His second child, a daughter named Donna, arrived in 1968.
When Bobby first entered the Navy in 1969, he was allowed to choose his first ship based on the location of family. Bob’s initial duty was aboard the “USS Fresno”. While on active duty with the Navy, Bob purchased a home for his parents in Fairview and was able to visit them often. Active duty also afforded him time to spend with his growing family; Donna gave birth to three more children: Darrell, David and Julie.
After ten years of service, Bob was released from active duty in 1978. He finished out his days as a government employee and retired with a full-time job at the County recording office.
The Early Years
In the early 1970s, Arnold became interested in local politics as a way to make a difference in his community. He was elected to two terms on the Sullivan County Board of Education and served for three years. He later served on the Sullivan County Commission for four years.
Arnold is a 1974 graduate of Sullivan County High School and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University. He is also a graduate of the General Wesley, Centerpoint and Washington School of Leadership Development programs.
In Longview [TN] , he began his long relationship with the City Council. As an activist, he was active in many projects to improve the city, including revitalizing its downtown area, restoring parts of its historic district, and installing traffic lights on city streets to ease congestion.
Arnold was also elected to the Sullivan County School Board in 1976 and served for five years. During that time, he helped bring eight new schools to the county and advocated more money for public education. He also introduced a law to reduce the amount of property taxes residents pay in the district where they live.
As a county commissioner, Arnold worked unsuccessfully to win $75 million more in state funds for education, operating a program he called “Computers Without Borders. “It paid for a computer for every child who could not afford one.
Ray Price’s Struggle with Stardom
Throughout the 1960s and early ’70s, Arnold was a huge fan of country singer Ray Price. In 1974, Arnold traveled to Nashville to attend a performance by Price. A few days after the concert, he received a phone call from Price’s brother, Tom. He was an agent for his brother and asked if Arnold would deliver some of his brother’s business papers from Clarksville to Nashville. Arnold agreed and, a few days later, he traveled to Nashville to hand-deliver the papers.
Arnold was interviewed for this article, remembering the visit in his later years. Apparently, he did not know Price at all prior to the interview. He described how impressed he was at the level of professionalism he observed in a live music performance, and how impressed he was with Price’s laid back attitude and mannerisms even as they were conducting business. Arnold also expressed surprise that Price would be willing to pick up papers that were sent through his brother’s office by a fan who wasn’t even related to him.
The papers Arnold delivered were the papers that Price used to write his autobiography, “Ray Price: My Life in My Words.” The autobiography was released in 2010 by Random House and was a critical success. It also earned Price an award for Outstanding Musical Biography from the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards.
Bobby Price’s First Song and Music Career
Arnold had the chance to meet the star of the show, Bobby Price. He gave him a small paper sack with several of Ray’s business papers. All of a sudden, Arnold found himself listening to Bobby play his guitar and sing a song he had just written. It was titled “Fairview 7100.” The lyrics were about a Tennessee petroleum town where Arnold grew up. Two days later, while Arnold was at work, Bobby recorded his song on his brother’s recording equipment. The song became a hit in the late 1970s and was later released on an album.
Bobby Price, who was born in 1955 in Butler, Tennessee, was raised by his grandmother. He was inspired to become a musician after seeing his first concert while still a young boy. His first guitar and harmonica belonged to his parents and were left behind when they moved east to Cleveland, Ohio. Bobby’s father played guitar until he received the call to serve in the Vietnam War. While there, he was involved in a grenade explosion and never recovered from the resulting injuries.