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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

In the news: iconic Grand Guitar building is demolished

World's Largest Guitar - US11W view

Grand Guitar view from US Highway 11W

World's Largest Guitar - Interstate View

View from the rest area along Interstate 81

This had been several things over the years, but was vacant for many years. Most recently, it was Joe Merrell's Grand Guitar Museum and Gift Shop.

This spot is strategically placed where you can see it from the Interstate, I-81, near the TN/VA border in Bristol. The street in front is US11W.

The Guitar was 70 feet long and three stories high.

Despite the well-known building being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it was demolished in August, 2019.

Read more from this story in Bristol's newspaper.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In the news: Loudon County Courthouse sustains heavy damage in fire

Loudon County Courthouse - Loudon, TN
The photo above is of the Loudon County Courthouse in 2010.

"Flames burst through the roof of the Loudon County Courthouse on Tuesday evening as firefighters worked to battle a blaze that broke out at the historic building.

Crews with the Loudon and Lenoir City fire departments responded shortly before 6:30 p.m. to the courthouse, located at 601 Grove St. in downtown Loudon. They quickly called for backup.

Heavy smoke could be seen pouring from the roof of the building, which dates back to the 1870s and is on the National Register of Historic Places."

Read the entire story from the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Also, check out this second story which deals with the aftermath of the blaze and includes some day after photos.

Hopefully, enough of the building can be salvaged so that it can be rebuilt to its former glory. Below are two more photos of this courthouse, another from 2010 and one from 2006.

Loudon County Courthouse - Loudon, TN Loudon County (TN) Courthouse

Saturday, March 23, 2019

In the News: Nashville Sounds Greer Stadium Guitar Scoreboard for sale

What the Nashville Sounds are known for

Greer Stadium, the previous stadium for the Nashville Sounds, was unremarkable except for the Guitar-shaped scoreboard. If you have $54,000 lting around, you can now bid on it.

Read the story from the Tennessean newspaper.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In the news: Lake Barkley Bridge demolished

Henry R. Lawrence Memorial Bridge

Henry R. Lawrence Memorial Bridge
Also known as the Lake Barkley US68 Bridge in Trigg County, KY, this was built in 1932 to cross the Cumberland River. With the building of Barkley Dam in 1966, the river became Barkley Lake, so the bridge had to be raised and extended. The main through truss is about 320 feet long and the total length is 3,104 feet.

Here is some video of the crossing the three historic bridges at Land Between the Lakes:

This bridge was demolished on April 11, 2018. You can see a news clip with video at this link.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Lorraine Motel / National Civil Rights Museum

Lorraine Motel / National Civil Rights Museum

As America honors Martin Luther King, Jr. on the third Monday in January, I'd like to share this photo of the National Civil Rights Museum that promotes the vision that Dr. King embraced.

Walter Bailey purchased the Windsor Hotel in 1945 and renamed it the Lorraine Motel. Located close to the center of Memphis, during the days of segregation the motel catered to an upscale black clientele.

In April 1968, King traveled to Memphis in support of striking sanitation workers. King stayed in room 306, located on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel. At 6:01 PM on April 4, 1968 while he was standing on the balcony outside his room, King was struck by a single bullet, causing him to fall backwards unconscious.

Following the assassination, Bailey left Room 306 undisturbed. While the Motel remained open for a few more years, Bailey worked to preserve the motel as a historic site raising funds to Save the Lorraine. The Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation bought the motel in 1982. The Motel officially closed in 1998 as the property transformed into a museum.

For architectural designs, the museum called upon McKissack & McKissack from Nashville, the first African American architecture firm in America. After purchasing adjoining property, the museum opened in Sept. 1991.

Today, on the grounds of the museum, a wreath is placed at the balcony where King was hit. The original sign for the museum has been preserved outside. From this iconic photo from the balcony there are two cars visible below, and there are replicas of these two cars at the museum today. For now, customers of the museum are allowed to look into the window of Room 306.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

In the news: Nathan Bedford Forrest statue removed in Memphis

Newsworthy: Nathan B. Forrest statue to be removed?
(Photo from 2015)

The City of Memphis has been trying to remove this statue for a while. They have been looking for a legal solution, so they sold Health Springs Park to a private company, then the new private owners removed the Forrest statue.

Read the story here.

Here is my write-up from 2015 when the statue removal talks became prominent:

Disclaimer: Recently, everything that is associated with Nathan Bedford Forrest or the Confederacy in general has become controversial. I take no sides in the matter, but I am documenting this for the historical and newsworthy nature.

By now, most people know that Nathan Bedford Forrest was a general in the Civil War for the Confederate Army. Then after the war, he became a leader for the Klan. Forrest stated a desire to be buried among his troops. Upon his death in 1877, he was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

At the turn of the century, the Sons of Confederate Veterans wanted a more prominent tribute to General Forrest. In 1905, the bodies of Forrest and his wife Mary were re-interred at this park. Atop the graves was this monument and equestrian statue by the E. Gruet Jeune Foundry in Paris. The park was named Forrest Park. Today, the site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The existence of this park and statue has not set well with several leaders of the Memphis community. In 2013, this park along with Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park were renamed. Today, this park is known as Health Sciences Park after the UT campus next door.

With the recent horrific Charleston Church shootings, there has been a renewed intensity in removing public tributes to Forrest and other Confederate leaders. On July 7, 2015, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to exhume the Forrest family and move them and the statue to another location. (They probably would be moved back to Elmwood Cemetery or the highest bodder.)

The legal maneuvering doesn't stop there. After the city finalizes their removal, then the city has to officially file a lawsuit in probate court. At that point, the Forrest descendants will also appear in court, and they will fight to keep everything the way it is.

A couple of other notes. There is a rumor that the city really has a desire to expand the UT Health Sciences Campus onto this park ground and perhaps that is their real motivation. Also someone had spray painted the other side with [Edited] the KKK; while the graffiti was cleaned, it was still readable. If this does get moved, I am sure I will photograph it at the new location as well.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cordell Hull Bridge truss detail - Carthage, TN

Cordell Hull Bridge (2014 reopened) truss detail - Carthage, TN

Originally Built in 1936 and reopened in 2014, the Cordell Hull Bridge crosses the Cumberland River in Carthage, TN.

Work on the bridge began in 1934 and is named after the former US Secretary of State Cordell Hull who lived in the area. The bridge is a 3 span continuous truss at a length of 1412 ft. with the main span over the river at 316 ft. The southwest side of the bridge reaches highway US70N which runs along a bluff near the river. The northwest side intersects with Main St. near the city's central business district. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

The bridge was closed in 2007 when a routine TDOT inspection found the superstructure was in critical condition. Repairs began in August 2011 and they replaced all of the concrete bridge deck and guard rails. The remaining truss, lattice work and rivets were preserved with blast cleaning and then painted white. (It had been green.) The bridge reopened on July 2, 2014.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Luke Lea Heights at Edwin Warner Park, 10x zoom, near dusk

Luke Lea Heights, 10x zoom, 6:30 PM

Luke Lea heights offers perhaps Warner Parks' best view of Nashville.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lookout Mountain 3D art

Lookout Mountain 3D art

In downtown Chattanooga, TN, located inside the northern terminal for the free electric shuttle, known as CARTA, is a series of 7 3D art / paintings focusing on local attractions. This image represents many of the attractions on lookout mountain, such as Rock City, Ruby Falls, and the incline railway, but also features some of the sights in the St. Elmo community at the bottom. The spikes were added to prevent birds from perching there.
Here are links to all seven images, if you want to see the others.
Lookout Mountain
Rock City
Ruby Falls
Incline Railway
Chattanooga Choo-Choo
Bluff View Arts District
The Electric Shuttle

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Rosenwald School Replica (Community Center) - Smyrna, TN

Rosenwald School Replica (Community Center) - Smyrna, TN

Located in Hilltop-Rosenwald Park in Smyrna, this community center was built to look identical to the Rosenwald School that had been at this location decades earlier. The park is full of markers discussing local African-American history.

Julius Rosenwald was the owner and president of Sears, Roebuck & Co. and established the philanthropic Rosenwald Fund. This fund was used to build schools in under-served African-American communities in the south. From 1917 and into the 30's, the fund helped build 354 schools. Very few of these schools still remain. For more info on these schools: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosenwald_School