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Monday, March 19, 2012

Temperance Hall - Harriman, TN

Temperance Hall - Harriman, TN

This Romanesque building was built in 1890 to be the office of the East Tennessee Land Company.

Soon afterward, it took on a more prominent use as the main building at American Temperance University. I suppose in this day and age it's hard to imagine an entire school and city built around the idea of Alcohol Prohibition. According to the historical marker, Harriman was incorporated to be the ideal industrial city, one where one could expect to find thrift, sobriety, superior intelligence and exalted moral character, where workers would be uncorrupted by Demon Rum. The city is named after Union General (this part of the state leaned pro-Union) Walter Harriman, former governor of New Hampshire.

The idea didn't stick and the University ceased 15 years later. (The city remained dry until 1994!) Today, this building serves as City Hall and a local museum. There are stories that this place is haunted, but as you might expect, all the ghosts act in a manner of sobriety and exalted moral character. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places under the name Harriman City Hall.

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