Like Lyerly, Menlo replaced another once-thriving town when the railroad bypassed previously bustling Alpine. In 1891, the Chattanooga Southern Railway was built and passed through the area near the property of Captain Andrew J. Lawrence. Captain Lawrence, a Confederate Veteran, is considered the father of Menlo. He and his estate donated the land for most of the town’s schools and churches—with particular attention to those for African American citizens. Near the center of the town, Lawrence Park was given to Menlo in 1915. Captain Lawrence held inventor Thomas A. Edison in very high esteem, thus the town was named for Edison’s home and laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey .