Thursday, April 30, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Liberty Mule, also known as the Allen Bluff Mule, has been a landmark, a mystery and a source of Civic Pride for the residents of Liberty, TN for over a century.
For the residents of the Tiny DeKalb County town, the mule had been there for as long as anyone could remember. For a long time, what nobody could remember is who put it there in the first place. On a large bluff near town many years ago someone scaled it several feet off the ground and painted the black mule, which included the word MULE above it. Even still, every so often, someone goes up there to repaint it, sometimes even changing the color, and nobody really knows who does that either. It's original color is black, the way it is today, but the previous color was red.
For a while, there was a story that someone had a pet mule die from falling off the cliff and this was a tribute. Another speculation was it was an advertisement for a mule trading company in town. Neither story really made sense. However, one story that worked is based on a name that's also up there: "L. Woodard." That would have been a local resident named Lavendar Woodard, and the people that knew him thought he was the kind of guy that would do such a thing. As it turns out, he may have repainted it, and he certainly added his name nearby but he wasn't the first. It was still a mystery.
As it turns out, the answer may have been hiding in plain sight. The first painter of the mule may have been Dr. Wayne T. Robinson who was 21 at the time it was painted in 1906 but moved to Dallas without telling anybody he painted it. Fast forward several decades to 1957, Dr. Robinson wrote a series of articles of area history in the local paper. In one of those articles he focused on a nearby cave but casually added that he climbed the bluff to paint out of coal tar the mule to resemble the then-popular comic strip character Maude the Mule. Apparently, nobody remembered this admission and it stayed a mystery for nearly another half century until 2006 when the local county historian made the discovery and then wrote this article in the same newspaper.
Today, highway US70 (as well as TN96, TN53 and TN26) passes right past this bluff and through the town of Liberty. About 10 years ago, the Tennessee Department of Transportation decided to widen the two lane highway to four lanes and the Liberty Mule was in danger of being dynamited for the project. The townspeople started a letter writing campaign which worked and the new lanes were shifted enough to save the landmark. Now, the Mule even has a website where you can buy a t-shirt.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
In front of the house is a wooden marker that reads:
The Edward Cox House
Built in 1774
A Shrine of Methodism
In 1774, former Revolutionary War soldier Edward Cox and his wife Sallie moved here from Maryland. This is located in what is today known as Sullivan County, TN near Bluff City on the Holston River. He was a Methodist preacher and he moved here to establish a Methodist congregation in the area.
This home was rebuilt in 1966.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Railfest is the annual celebration at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, TN. This year as part of the celebration, they offered Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630 as an excursion round trip to Cleveland, TN. This locomotive was built in 1904 by the American Locomotive Company Richmond Works. It was restored to operation at TVRM in 2011 and is now part of Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program.
You can see quite a thorough collection of photos of #630, the Missionary Ridge Local with Southern FP7 #6133, and other rolling stock on the grounds. This gallery is on my website here:
Also, I took video and put it on youtube:
Just the steam train departure seen here: youtu.be/QVBCATNnTQI
That, and more footage of the steam train: youtu.be/85iljPK1TfY
All the steam footage, plus the Missionary Ridge local: youtu.be/AhCCpvO41iM
Sunday, April 26, 2015
This church building is a stop on the Southeast Tennessee Tourism's religious heritage trail. Although the building has been expanded, the core of the building dates back to 1857-59. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Saturday, April 25, 2015
In and around Western North Carolina in Cherokee areas are several different Black Bear statues painted with different themes. This one was located near the eastern end of the Cherhola Skyway and Robbinsville, NC.
Friday, April 24, 2015
Around 1870, the Lime industry began to flourish in Erin and Houston County. Several Limekilns were built in the area and several still remain. Limestone was loaded into the fire chambers of these kilns and was converted into a fine lime powder. It was the county's biggest industry until the 1940's when the high quality limestone was depleted.
Limestone was mined from a man-made cave in Erin until they hit an underground spring. The water has since formed a lake in the cave but also extends outside. This Limekiln is on the other side of the lake from the cave entrance. You can also get right up to it as the other side is now a gravel parking lot for nearby businesses. Today, this is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as "Quarry Limekiln"
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
The Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden's town square is the county's third and was completed in 1950 at a cost of $720,000. The Three story limestone clad structure is designed in a Classical style.
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I didn't think I'd ever see an NCStL locomotive out in the wild, but I saw this EMD GP7 parked in a train yard outside of Copperhill, TN. I'd like to think I just happened to stumble across a vintage locomotive that just happened to be sitting around. Realistically, that kind of thing doesn't happen too often.
As it turns out, this locomotive is used by the Tennessee Valley Railway Museum based out of Chattanooga. One of their excursions called the Hiwassee River Rail starts from Gee Creek near Etowah and occasionally goes all the way to Copperhill.
During the years the GP7 was made, NCStL purchased 37 of them. Before acquired by TVRM, it spent several decades with Amtrak.
Monday, April 20, 2015
This faded Enjoy Pepsi-Cola advertisement mural is located on the side of a brick building a couple of blocks south of the town square in Brownsville, TN. My dad would tell me how when he was growing up, the Pepsi jingle was "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot. Twelve full ounces, that's a lot!" Although I can't make out the first word, there's also an ad for something above it that ends in Jungle.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
This Rock City barn is located at the Ellis Homestead at Sequoyah Caverns. Clark Byars, who was the famous Rock City barn painter, later in life was hired to commercially operate the caverns. He painted ads for both tourist destinations on this barn.
I was last here in 2006. Since then, this barn has suffered some wind damage. I don't know this for certain, but I would imagine the storms that devastated parts of Alabama on April 27, 2011 did this damage. That storm was best known for the large Tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa. It progressed later on Sand Mountain (past the house of one of my wife's relatives, about five miles from here) and kept going to Trenton, GA. You can easily see where parts of the roof were ripped off and deposited in the field.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Located at what is now an abandoned building along US70 on the west side of Jackson is this old sign with much of the neon tubes missing. Still, a lot of effort went into this dual-sided sign.
With heavy Irish imagery, We have a leprechaun who climbed the ladder up the side of a clover-laden kettle to stir the chili ingredients. Mostly faded at the bottom is the slogan "Will Steal Your Heart Away"
I don't really have any memory of this company, but they went bankrupt in 2003 and were bought out by Vietti. Here is an old commercial of theirs on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrIId2m9Rdw
Friday, April 17, 2015
Cooter's is located in Music Valley, the touristy area of Nashville near Opryland Hotel. With another location in Gatlinburg, the Dukes of Hazzard Museum is owned by Ben Jones who played Cooter Davenport on the show. Of course, what everyone wants to see is outside the museum as the General Lee is on display along with Cooter's tow truck. One more fun fact: Ben Jones was a U.S. Congressman from Georgia after being on the show.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Located at the beginning of Lick Creek, the ferry crossing at Rome, TN in Smith County traversed the Cumberland River dating back to 1830. The ferry seen here was built 65 years ago.
In 1949, the "Jere Mitchell" cost $11,000 and would allow four cars to cross the river. Back then, there were 33 ferries that operated in the state, but now there are only two. The ferry ceased operation in 1992 and has been resting and rusting on the southern shore ever since. The ferry was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and you can still get up close to this relic - until vandals do even worse damage.
Read the whole story here: www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com/magazine/archives/109-around...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
It's income tax day, a day most people would rather be on vacation, than sitting at home calculating how much they owed the previous year. With that in mind, I present this historic sign from the Emerald Coast in Florida.
For many years, a colorful swordfish has pointed motorists the way to the beach. The original sign, which dates to the 60's, has been restored and is on display behind Flounders Chowder House. Another similar sign is in the original location.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Located along Nashville Rd. (U.S. 70N) on the west side of Cookeville, TN in Putnam County. It has been closed for a few years. This building which was the concession stand was removed in 2008.
Monday, April 13, 2015
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Walk 6 miles of trails!
Located along highway US411, this roadside attraction might be the perfect spot for the old car lover.
This place opened as a car dealership in 1931. At some point over the years, the business became a junkyard. As the decades went by, they kept adding more cars (over 4,000) and expanded to 34 acres. At some point, they realized they were better off as a tourist attraction than a junkyard. They offer the chance to see classic car relics up through the 70s.
I didn't even know this place existed when I drove past it. They were already closed for the day. I didn't even realize it was a tourist destination when I stopped, as I just wanted to take a picture of their fence, which had their name spelled out in hubcaps. According to their website, they have two different admission prices, depending on whether or not you're going to bring a camera. $25 if you are going to take photos and $15 if you are not. oldcarcityusa.com/
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Friday, April 10, 2015
Opening on October 1st, 1914, the Holly St. Fire Hall celebrated its 100th birthday last year. The Fire Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located in the Lockeland neighborhood of East Nashville. The fire hall for Engine Company #14 was designed in a style to complement the Colonial Style architecture of the Lockeland neighborhood and was the first in Nashville to accommodate motorized vehicles. It has been in continuous service since 1914 but a typical modern fire truck will not fit in the smaller door, so they use a smaller-than-normal fire truck.
Thursday, April 9, 2015
This statue was dedicated in 1894 in the town square on the lawn of the Tipton County Courthouse. It's dedication reads:
To the Confederate Soldiers of Tipton County, whose courage in war, and virtues in peace, have illustrated the highest type of American Manhood. "Nor braver bled for a brighter land, nor brighter land had a cause so grand."
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Ok, it's not really a cave. I'd call it more of a natural amphitheater. Upon building state highway TN52 on the west side of Jamestown, TN through a location with a steep elevation change, TDOT thought this would be a good place for a roadside table.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Character Readings - Your Future?
Shown here is an old fashioned scale that when working would pull up a random fortune to go along with your heftiness. Lest you get a free fate, the window currently reads "Your Fortune Shown Here." All this costs just a penny, and you deposit the coin into one of twelve slots based on your birth month.
This was made by the American Scale Mfg Co of Washington, DC and there were several variants produced similar to this one in the 1930's. This one is seen in front of an antique shop on the town square in Huntingdon, TN. Based on condition, they sell on internet auctions for about $200.
Monday, April 6, 2015
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Saturday, April 4, 2015
apparently it was really used as a toll booth a long time ago.. The sign on the side lists the rates: (c for cents)
Horse & Rider.. 6c
Person on foot. 2c
Persons going to church...Free
Located at the entrance of Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY
Friday, April 3, 2015
Located along The Trace on the Tennessee side. According to the historic marker:
Built in 1854 by Brian, Newell & Co., this steam cold-blast charcoal furnace was built of limestone from the surrounding hills. Brown iron-ore came from shallow deposits about two miles north. Pig-iron was shipped by river or hauled to rolling mills to the east. It closed in 1856, due to lack of ore and of a slave insurrection by the furnace crew.
Thursday, April 2, 2015
I thought I knew all of the tourist spots in Tennessee, but here's one I had never heard about, probably because it isn't open for business anymore. Online information is sparse, such as when it closed for business. The best I could tell, the Cave was last owned by the Renaissance Center in Dickson, who also owns the nearby historic Ruskin Cave as a campground. (However, the Renaissance Center recently was sold to Freed Hardeman University, and I don't know if a small Christian college wants to own a commercial cave or two.) Any updates would be appreciated.
Here's a pretty good history of the cave: