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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Site of Big Rock Court - Chattanooga

Big Rock Court, site of

For years, motorists around Chattanooga have seen a Big Rock with the words Big Rock painted on it. This is the story.

During the golden age of automobile travel, Joe Light opened a motel along Cummings Highway. This highway is located at the base of Lookout Mountain near the Tennessee River. Until I-24 paralleled the old highway, it was the only way that connected the city to the west, which meant lots of travelers passed through here. The most notable geologic landmark at this site was the Big Rock. Thus, the motel was called Big Rock Court and "Big Rock Court" was painted on the rock. Even though it has been several decades, the makeshift sign is still legible.

Big Rock Court wasn't the best motel around. It gained the reputation by the locals as a den of gambling. After a shooting, a police raid finally led to the Court's demise.

This spot was still a prime location for tourists, so in 1977 the Super Water Slide opened for business. Advertised as the largest water slide in the world, the fiberglass slide zig-zagged down the hillside. The popularity faded until the summer hot-spot went out of business in 1989 and the slide relocated to Tullahoma where I find no record of it. With no use, this property became covered in kudzu.

Local conservationist John C. Wilson let the group now known as the Lookout Mountain Land Trust to purchase the land and turn it into a park. Trash was removed, overgrowth was cut down and the park named after Wilson has opened. You can read Wilson's story on preserving the park in this article. Today, you can hike a trail, have a picnic, climb the old stairs to where Joe Light's house was, or get a better view of the Big Rock Court sign that beckons motorists to this day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Arcade Restaurant Neon Sign - Memphis, TN

Arcade Restaurant Neon Sign - Memphis, TN

Located along Main St. in Memphis, the iconic Arcade Restaurant is the oldest in Memphis. Read more here:
arcaderestaurant.com/about/

Friday, June 9, 2017

Opryland Ballroom Mural: Jackson Statue & Capitol

Opryland Ballroom Mural 4: Jackson Statue & Capitol

In Opryland Hotel's original ballroom area, the walls are painted to depict scenes from Nashville around the time of Tennessee's Centennial, in the late 1800's. To view the entire set of 8, Click Here.

The Tennessee State Capitol was designed by William Strickland, who also designed the U.S. Capitol. The building was finished in 1859. The Andrew Jackson riding statue was completed soon thereafter, and an identical statue was placed in New Orleans and one in Washington D.C. near the capitol.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Allie Rock - Decatur, TN

Allie Rock - Decatur, TN

Located at Decatur Veterans Memorial Park, a nearby sign explains:
This rock is dedicated to the memory of Allie Blevens. Whether she was playing with friends or cheerleading, Allie always brightened the day of those around her. We invite you to express yourself by creating art or an uplifting message to brighten the world around you.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Billy Tripp's Mindfield

Billy Tripp's Mindfield

One of the most surreal but expansive work of art I have ever come across is in the small Tennessee town of Brownsville. This metal behemoth is the work of one man, Billy Tripp and he has named it his Mindfield.

The Mindfield is located in a narrow but deep strip of land between the Sunrise Inn and a strip mall along Main St. (old US70/79), just a couple of blocks east of the town square. Started in 1989, he plans on adding to it until the day he dies. He is always on the lookout for scrap metal, such as the abandoned water tower he found once when he was on a trip. If you visit, you might get lucky and find a free copy of his book The Mindfield Years, Vol. 1 which is a stream-of-consciousness for 725 pages which he describes as a difficult read.

There's a whole lot more I'd like to say but these sites say it better:
The Official site
Roadside America's writeup
I have a coworker who came from Brownsville, and she thought it was cool how it brings attention to the city.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Monroe County Courthouse - Madisonville, TN

Monroe County Courthouse - Madisonville, TN

Monroe County's 4th and current courthouse was built in 1897 at a cost of $17,000. At the time, it was praised in the local paper for it's useful functionality and with "no useless ornamentation on the outside." Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The two story brick building is built upon a high basement features a tall tower over the front entrance. Externally, above the basement level is a stone water table and also a cornice at the eave line of the hipped roof. At the main entrance is a one story porch supported with four square brick columns and topped by a balustrade. The clock tower features square pilasters with Ionic and Doric caps. A rear annex was added to the rear in 1979.

Monroe County Courthouse Rear View - Madisonville, TN

Monday, June 5, 2017

Calhoun, GA Memorial Arch with Sequoyah Statue

Calhoun, GA Memorial Arch with Sequoyah Statue

Located at the northern end of Calhoun is this memorial arch honoring soldiers. The arch is at a small triangular park where highway US41 (old Dixie Highway) meets GA225. The Arch and nearby Sequoyah statue were funded by the Calhoun Women's Club in 1927. The statues were made by JL Mott Iron Works in New York. The stone masonry was completed by W. Laurens Hillhouse.

One one side is a Confederate Memorial which commemorates the Battle of Resaca which was fought near here on May 14-15, 1864. On the other side, "Calhoun honors her World War Heroes 1917-1918" featuring a Doughboy statue.

Calhoun, GA Memorial Arch

Calhoun, GA Memorial Arch - WWI Soldier Calhoun, GA Memorial Arch - Confederate Soldier

Sequoyah Statue - Calhoun, GA

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cross Bridges Methodist Church

Cross Bridges Methodist Church

Cross Bridges is a small rural community in Maury County west of Columbia along US412. According to the sign out front, this congregation was established in 1882.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

In the news: Tom Lee Park Obelisk in Memphis toppled by storm

Tom Lee Obelisk (View at dusk) - Memphis Riverfront

Late during the afternoon of May 8, 1925, Tom Lee steered his 28 ft skiff Zev upriver after delivering an official to Helena, Arkansas.
Also on the river was a steamboat, the M.E. Norman, carrying members of the Engineers Club of Memphis, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and their families. Lee witnessed the M.E. Norman capsize in the swift current 15 mi (24 km) downriver from Memphis at Cow Island Bend. Although he could not swim, he rescued 32 people with five trips to shore. Lee acted quickly, calmly and with no regard for his own safety, continuing to search after night fell. Because of his efforts, only 23 people died.

Today. Tom Lee Park is a city park located to the immediate west of downtown Memphis overlooking the Mississippi River. Encompassing about 30 acres parallel to the river for about one mile, it offers panoramic views of the river and the shores of Arkansas on the opposite side.

Tom Lee died of cancer in 1952. Two years later, the park was named in his honor and a granite obelisk was erected. In October 2006, a bronze sculpture by artist David Alan Clark was erected in the park to commemorate the event and to honor the civil hero. The sculpture depicts the rescue of a survivor saved from drowning in the Mississippi River.

In late May, a strong windstorm powered through Memphis which knocked over this monument and shattered it into many pieces. Read the full story and see a video here.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Miniature golf snake

Miniature golf snake

If you've ever had the desire to putt a small white ball into the head of yellow spotted python while in Dixie, then Goony Golf in Chattanooga, TN is for you.