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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Spring St. Super Market in Cookeville

The Spring St. Super Marker in Cookeville, TN has a nice progressing arrow on their neon sign. On the inside of the mom and pop grocery store, they have what looks like an old animatronic display of three bears playing country music. I'm not sure if the bears ever worked, but the music still plays.

Friday, December 13, 2019

8 New listings on the National Register of Historic Places - Dec. 2019

There are 8 new Tennessee listings on the National Register of Historic Places, including the two places pictured below. Text is from the press release

Bank of Loretto

Bank of Loretto (Loretto - Lawrence County)

The Bank of Loretto was chartered in 1910 and after the original bank building burned circa 1924, the current building was constructed. C.K Colley and Company Architects from Nashville were the architects of the building. Colley practiced from 1899 to 1956, but the C.K. Colley and Company was only in operation from 1922-1928. Local lumber company Augustin Lumber, established in 1900, built the new bank building. The Classical Revival style bank is sheathed in stone veneer and distinguished by its symmetrical fa├žade and pedimented entrance. Semi-circular arched windows flank the single-door entrance. The interior retains historic flooring and skylights. The Bank of Loretto moved to a larger building in 1967 and the building is now used as a restaurant.

Water Street Abbey - Lewisburg, TN

Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. (Lewisburg –Marshall County)

Better known today as the Water Street Abbey, the historic church building was constructed in 1910 for the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. Rev. E. L. Orr drew plans and made suggestions for the structure, but the actual architect is unknown. The first services in the new sanctuary were held on January 11, 1911. Situated at the corner of Water Street and 3rd Avenue in Lewisburg, it is a prominent example of the Late Gothic Revival style. The exterior of the brick building features a corner bell tower delineated by Gothic arch openings with y-tracery, a steep pitch roof, and large windows. The interior retains its Akron plan, with moveable doors that allow for classroom spaces or a larger sanctuary when needed. When the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. disbanded in 1939, the building was purchased by the Water Street Church of Christ, who held services here until 1967. In 2007 the current owners purchased the building and plan to rehabilitate it for an event venue.

The list also includes a boundary increase for the Jonesborough Historic District and the world's largest bomb shelter which is in a gated community in Memphis.

See the entire list here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

SeeMidTN.com presents: Neon Signs of Nashville photo slideshow

Some of these signs are quite new while many of these signs are historic and have been around for decades. Some of these signs don't exist any more, but the photos were all taken since 2005. There are many famous signs here such as the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, Donut Den, Loveless Cafe, Drake Motel, Becker's Bakery, Beaman Motors, Elliston Place Soda Shop, L&C Tower, Purity Milk, Tootsie's and Tennessee Central Railway.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Video: Motch Falls waterfall in Claiborne County, East Tennessee

Here is a waterfall in East Tennessee which is easy to walk to, but you have to drive into the middle of nowhere to find it.

I started in Middlesboro, KY and drove highway 186 west from town. After it crosses the Tennessee border, it becomes highway TN132. About two to three miles south of the state line, you'll be able to see the waterfall on the east side of the road and there will be a gravel parking pull-off.

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.