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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Monsters Inc. Pumpkin

A couple of years ago, I saw this pumpkin, dressed up, if you will, as the one eyeball character from Monsters, Inc. in a store window at Bridge Street town center in Huntsville

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lyric Theater - Loudon, TN

Lyric Theater - Loudon, TN

The Lyric Theater dates back to 1912. For more info, they have a facebook page:

Note the Gone With the Wind and John Wayne painting to the right of the theater.

The movie murals of the Lyric Theater

There is a small picnic area between the Theater and the next business. Images of classic movies and stars are painted here. Unfortunatley, access to the area was locked the day I was there, or I would have gotten a better view.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

See 7 States from Rock City

See 7 States from Rock City


This Rock City barn is located along highway U.S. 70 (Broadway of America) a couple of miles east of McEwen, TN in Humphrey's County. This message was written for the eastbound passngers to see.

This barn was built in 1925 and belongs to the Holloran family farm. I saw a photo of this barn taken in 1995 and there was another faded ad on the front of the barn which you can't even see now and was very faded in that photo from 15 years ago. It looks like it spelled ORELISKET, so your guess is as good as mine.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sewanee Natural Bridge

Sewanee Natural Bridge

From Wikipedia:

Sewanee Natural Bridge in Franklin County, Tennessee, is a 25 feet (8 m) high natural sandstone arch with a span of 50 feet (15 m). It is essentially a giant sinkhole partially eroded to form a large stone bridge. A wet weather spring located behind the bridge in a rock cave probably contributed to the erosion forming the arch. It is called the Sewanee Natural Bridge as it was once owned by the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. It is a 3 acre (12,000 m²) designated state natural area.

Today, the Area is considered part of the South Cumberland State Park. You can't get to the bottom if you are afraid of heights as you have to walk over the bridge, which is about 3 ft. wide, to get to the other side where you can scale down it. To get here, you'd follow the signs iff highway TN56.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Colgate Clock - Clarksville, IN

Colgate Clock at night - Clarksville, IN

For the first time, I am posting something to this blog from Indiana. While I focus on things in Middle Tennessee, I will often include other places not too far away, usually withing a half day's drive. Sometime's it's hard to remember that you can get into Indiana, two states away, in less than three hours.

With a diamater or 40 feet, this is one of the largest clocks in the world, and I first saw it about 10 years ago on a vacation to Louisville, where while the clock is across the rvier from downtown, it is easily viewable. Recently, I had a chance to visit the clock up close.

The building the clock sits atop was built to be a prison in 1847. After a 1919 fire, a new prison needed to be built and Colgate-Palmolive bought the building.

Colgate Clock and Factory - Clarksville, IN

The clock was originally built in 1906 by Colgate engineer Warren Day and was constructed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company. At the time, the clock served a similar function at a colgate plant in Jersey City, NJ but was relocated here in 1924. (Another similar but slightly larger clock was built in it's place in NJ.)

While it still keeps accurate time and the neon still lights up at night, the clock is endangered. Colgate closed the plant in 2008. (Until recently, there was a large neon "Colgate" also on the roof to the left of the clock.) The National Register of Historic Places offered to add the plant to the register and provide funds for restoration, but Colgate hopes to sell the property to another business.

Colgate Clock in the day- Clarksville, IN

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

P.M. Cragmiles House - Cleveland, TN

P.M. Cragmiles House - Cleveland, TN

It seems like the neatest things in Cleveland, TN have the Cragmiles name on it, and so it is with this house along Ocoee St., not far from the center of town. Today the house is used as the History and Archives branch of the county Library system, which contains significant records about the Civil War and Reconstruction years in Bradley County and East Tennessee.

The home was built in 1866, when business leader P. M. Craigmiles announced the beginning of post-Civil War recovery in Cleveland with the construction of this impressive Italianate-style brick home. Today, the building is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bicentennial Mall Carillon Bell Towers

Bicentennial Mall Bell Towers

Seen about an hour before dusk at the Tennessee State Park is a rare large instrument. A simple way of thinking about it, take a piano or organ keyboard, and for each key that is pressed, a bell is rung. Most Carillons are built into a large tower, however the one here has a separate tower for each bell. Carillons make for an inconvenient instrument, there are perhaps about a thousand in the world. There's 164 in the United States, but since Nashville is Music City, you know there's going to be more than one: Both Belmont University and Lipscomb University both have one. (side note: The one at Lipscomb was dedicated on the day I graduated, and later Lipscomb's Carilloneur played the harpsichord at my wedding.) There's also one at the University of the South and maybe one inside Knoxville's Sunsphere.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Regas Restaurant Sign - Knoxville

Regas Restaurant Sign

This is a nice old-fashioned restaurant sign which is seen by motorists passing by on Interstate 40 on the east side of downtown Knoxville. I've heard it's a popular place and it's not too far from Old City. I drove by along the street level one evening and the parking lot was packed.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Clarksville's Mural from the left

Clarksville Mural from the left

"Bursting with Pride" is quite a large 10,000 sqft. mural in downtown Clarksville, painted by Ricky Deel. The mural overlooks a large parking lot on Franklin St. and is near the Roxy Theater. If you click on the photo, it will take you to the flickr page where you can either enlarge the photo or see where I've tagged the mural with what is what.

Places represented on here: Mt. Olive Baptist Church, St. Peter AME Church, Emerald Hill, Trinity Episcopal Church, Tip Top Mansion, Immaculate Conception Church, Customs House, Madison Street Methodist Church, Montgomery County Courthouse, Smith-Trahern Mansion, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, L&N Depot, Austin Peay University's Browning Building.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Coca-Cola - Sold Everywhere 5¢ - Acworth, GA

Coca-Cola - Sold Everywhere 5ยข

Delicious and refreshing

This restored coke mural is one of two in the small town of Acworth, GA in Cobb County. (The other one is on the side of the tracks with fewer businesses)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bristol VA / TENN sign (Daytime view)

Bristol VA / TENN sign (Daytime view)

One of only 33 signs to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this landmark was built in 1910 to divide Tennessee and Virginia. In 1915, it was moved to its current location along State Street. In 1921, "A Good Place to Live" was added to the sign.

The sign lights up at night. I suppose that's a sun or a starburst under the S in Bristol, plus the red arrows pointing to VA and TENN are chaser lights.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Crumbling Barn with multiple old advertisements

Crumbling Barn with multiple old advertisements

This Dilapidated barn has several old advertisements on it. Three are visible in this picture. See below for closeups.

This is a "Rock City Barn" On the left, with very peeled letters are "See Rock City." In addition to the black paint mostly missing, a vertical strip of metal with the R and C is gone.

Peeled "See Rock City"

Facing the street is an old sign for "Crystal Cave" which since the early 1970's has been knwon as Raccoon Mountain Caverns. The words below it read "Chattanooga's best attraction or your money back"

Old Crystal Cave sign

To the right of the cave sign is a rusty metal sign for a gas station, which I am unable to read. If you can identify it for me, I would be thankful.

Around the corner from the rusty sign is another ad for "See Rock City" but the barn must have been rebuilt at one point as only the See is still showing.


This barn is south of Trenton, GA in Dade County on highway U.S. 11, which runs from Chattanooga to Birmingham and is known as the Birmingham Highway.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Loveless Cafe Neon Sign before dusk

Loveless Cafe Neon Sign before dusk

Located just southwest of Nashville on Scenic Highway 100 near the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway, this is now a "Must Visit" place, as it has been for decades. Some might say it's Nashville's premiere meat-and-three, while I've heard other's say they don't understand what all the hype is about.

So what's the best thing to get here? it may not even be on the menu. Let me explain... If you ever find a brochure for here, it'll likely have quotes from The Today Show weatherman Willard Scott or Martha Stewart saying they serve the best biscuits in the country. I've been to eat here twice. The first time must have been an off night as the biscuits were not-special-at-all disappointing and I had fries that may have come from the microwave. However, on my second visit, they lived up to their lofty expectations. The biscuits came with three different fruit spreads, which made for a better desert than I could have gotten at other places. Carol Fay Ellison is the Biscuit Lady and is a celebrity in some circles.

I don't know how many decades it's been since this was a motel, apparently some time in the mid 80's. The motel was named after the Loveless family which started the Motel. (If you don't know anything about the place, Loveless Motel makes for an amusing name.) The Lovelesses sold it to the Maynesses who sold it to the McCabes and it's now owned by TomKats caterers. The old motel rooms have been converted to shops.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Walden Farm: Pumpkins and more pumpkins

Walden Farm: Pumpkins and more pumpkins

Walden Farm is a fall agritourism farm just outside of Smyrna in Rutherford County. They have all the things you'd expect from such a place: a corn maze, hay rides, and pumpkins as far as the eye can see.

I'd say this is a bit of an optical illusion in one sense. There are multiple piles of pumpkins here. The smallest pumpkins are in the closest pile, at a price of $2 each. They get larger until you get to the furthest pile, where they a $10 each. They get even larger where there's a small $15 pile in the top left. The largest of the large are in the back under the shed where they are individually priced.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Rocky Springs Stagecoach Inn at Falls Mill

Rocky Springs Stagecoach Inn at Falls Mill

This Stagecoach Inn was originally built by Jacob Hamilton in 1836 in the town of Elora, TN which is about 10 miles southwest of Falls Mill. The Inn was purchased by the owners of Falls Mill and carefully reassembled here (finishing in 2005) to serve as their private residence.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chilhowee Inn - Walland, TN

Chilhowee Inn - Walland, TN

Originally opened in 1903, it's now an easy to miss spot on the way to the Smoky Mountains off US321 along the really old road to Townsend.

A lot of good history and photos can be seen here:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hamblen County Courthouse in Morristown, TN

Hamblen County Courthouse

Not many counties can say they still have their very first courthouse still in use, but Hamblrn County can. The county was formed in 1870 and for a few years court met in a Morristown store.

The courthouse was designed by architect A.C. Bruce of Knoxville. He drew up three plans, costing from $10,000 to $18,000, and county leaders chose the most expensive plan. The final construction cost came in at $21,750 and was finished in 1874.

The original main entrance faces south and includes a double balcony for speakers at rallies. The courtroom is on the second floor. Originally, there were two ground floor rooms without windows called "The Dungeons."

The building is three stories, but since it is built on a slope, today's entrance on the north side makes it appear two stories when over there. it is built with a tall central pavilion with slightly lower wings flanking the center, all of which are embellished with corner quoins. A tall, mansard-roofed cupola is atop the center of the roof. The rest of the roof is a combination of low hip and gable construction with mansard roof components.

An expansion was made in the early 1950's as matching wings were added to either side, matching the original design. An interior redesign was complete in 1968.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The ornate tower of Fisk's Jubilee Hall

The ornate tower of Fisk's Jubilee Hall

Jubilee Hall is the focal point of the Fisk University campus and one of the prettiest buildings in Nashville. Not only is the building on the National Register of Historic Places, but it's one of 30 in Tennessee on the more select list of National Historic Landmarks.

In 1871, Fisk's popular singing group, the Jubilee Singers, went on tour and raised the money to have this building built. It became the first permanent structure erected in the South for the education of African Americans. Of special interest is the Appleton Room of Jubilee Hall, totally refurbished and adorned with a 14th-century ceiling from the Castle Polheim in Austria.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cartersville, GA Friendship Monument

Cartersville, GA Friendship Monument

Perhaps one of the more unusual monuments you'll find in a small town is this one paid for by Mark A. Cooper in Cartersville, GA

The monument with a marble shaft has the rare distinction of a debtor honoring his creditors. Losses during the panic of 1857 forced Mr. Cooper, who was the proprietor of the nearby Etowah Iron Works, to offer this property for sale to satisfy a $100,000 debt. 38 of his friends signed notes totaling the amount to save the enterprise. When the debt was repaid three years later, he built this monument on which the names of the 38 benefactors are iscribed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



I was going through my photo archives of things from several years ago and came across this which was during the place-catfish-all-around-Nashville craze halfway through last decade. I think it's since been removed, but at the time it was in front of the Ronald McDonald (get it?) house near the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

See 7 States From Rock City

See 7 States From Rock City

it looks like it also said "Near Chattanooga, Tenn" but some of those boards have been missing for many years.

This barn is visible to the southbound traffic on highway US 11E between Bull's Gap and Whitesburg in Hamblen Co., TN.

When Clark Byers first painted the barn, it belonged to James Self.

Monday, October 10, 2011

City of Clarksville Police Mural

City of Clarksville Police Mural

Painted on the side of the city's police Headquarters.

C.O.P.S. = Concerns of Police Survivors.

Painted in Oct. of 2009 by Michael Cooper of Murals & More, who has done many of the most intersting murals around Middle Tennessee.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hurricane Mills, TN

Hurricane Mills, TN

This is the mill of Hurricane Mills. Today, this area is much better known as being part of the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state.

This mill, and other historic spots nearby are on the National Register of Historic Places listed as the "Hurricane Mills Rural Historic District." According to a plaque across the river from the mill, this mill and dam were built by James T. Anderson in 1896. "Though wool was carded here, grain processing predominated, corn meal and flour were shipped through the south."

In the mid 60's, Loretta and Mooney Lynn purchased the 1876 mansion across the street from the river. Over the next few years, they preserved many of the nearby buildings and commercially opened the area as the dude ranch. Today, you can take a tour of the area, or just walk around some of the places, like I did. The mill's water wheel was removed and placed nearby.

Today, the mill serves two purposes. First, it is one of three gift shops on the ranch. Second, it is opened as the "Loretta Lynn Doll and Fan Museum"

Unfortunately, the Middle Tennessee May floods were not kind to Hurricane Mills. Just a few feet downstream from the mill (and would have been viewable in this picture), there was an iron bridge built in 1911 that used to carry highway TN13 (but had been replaced by a newer bridge in the background on the right) was completely washed away. I can't find any confirmation of this, but I suspect the mill suffered much damage as well as it looks like the exterior is almost completely rebuilt with new wood. (If you find any pre-flood picture, the mill is painted a deep red.) The area was closed for a couple of months after the flood and just reopened July 3, 2010.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bridgeport, AL Depot black & white trackside view

Bridgeport, AL Depot b/w trackside view

Built in 1917, this is the NCStL depot in the important railroad town of Bridgeport soon before trains cross the Tennessee River. The Sequatchie Valley Railroad also came through here. Today it is CSX along the tracks with some Norfolk Southern and Union Pacific coming through.

The architecture here is an unusual design for this part of the country, a Spanish Mission style that you would more likely see in St. Augustine or San Antonio. This is a view of the tracks that you can only see by train or if you are crawling around on the tracks like I was.

Today, the depot is a museum operated by the Bridgepoort Area Historic Association (BAHA).


Friday, October 7, 2011

Sulfur Fork Bridge - Port Royal, TN

Sulfur Fork Bridge - Port Royal, TN

Port Royal State Historic Park is important as a stop for the early days of travel in Tennessee. This bridge in the park was built in 1887 to accomidate an old route of the Clarksville-Springfield Highway across Sulfur Fork Creek. Today, the bridge is only available to pedestrian traffic.

The bridge is a Pratt through truss design and made by the Converse Bridge Co. The main span is 114 ft. long and 14.5 ft. wide. The entire bridge is 231 ft. long.

This creek is also a border between counties, so I am standing in Montgomery County and the other side is in Robertson County.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mars Hill Presbyterian Church - Athens, TN

Mars Hill Presbyterian Church - Athens

A little over a month after Athens became the county seat of McMinn County, this congregation was started. This brick building was built in 1838 to be their church building and a civic meeting house.

During the Civil War, their pastor left to become a chaplain for the Confederates. In the summer of 1863, Union troops came to occupy the city and most of the people in the city fled south. Those of the conregation who remained had no pastor. When the war was over, the church was in bad shape. Restoration was slow, but by 1878, the building was fully rebuilt.

In 1944, the building caught fire and much of the interior was damaged and then repaired. Additions and renovations were made in 1960.

Literaly every time I walked up to photograph this place, the sun would hide behind clouds. When I would give up and walk away, the sun would come out. The clouds can be such a tease sometimes. Hmmph.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dull General Store

Dull General Store

While it could be truth in advertising laws at work, in reality it is the General Store in Dull, TN

Dull is an unincorporated community in Dickson county along state highway 49 between Charlotte and Ashland City

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Old Three Forks, TN Post Office

Old Three Forks, TN Post Office

Three Forks was one of the early names for the Wilson County city of Watertown. Mr. Edsel Floyd, former Watertown postmaster, acquired the post office equipment from a general store in Milton. The post office was located in the back of the store from 1910 until the US Mail started the rural delivery. This building was relocated from a farm located on US70N in 1991 to the Fiddlers Grove area of the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Parthenon in Nashville at Night

Parthenon at Night

In the Christmas season the lights which illuminate Centennial Park's iconic landmark turn the columns red and green. Near Valentine's Day, it might go all red. However, for most of the year this is the way it looks.

If you're interested in the Parthenon, it's history, how it was built and how the Athena Statue came to be, I have a book recommendation.

The Parthenon in Nashville
This book was originally written in 1968 by Nashville historian Wilbur Creighton. He briefly writes the story of how it came to be for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition and how it came to be rebuilt and is now a city mainstay. This version of the book was published in 1990 and includes an extra section on Alan LeQuire's Athena Statue which was rather close to being finished at that time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Watauga Old Fields marker - Elizabethton, TN

Watauga Old Fields marker

Located on the lawn in front of the Carter County Courthouse in Elizabethton, TN it reads

Where the Watauga Association was formed in 1772, being the first place west of the Alleghenies where men joined together in a written compact for civil government and for the preservation of their ideals of liberty.

(then it lists the thirteen elected commisioners)

Erected by the Tennessee Daughters of the American Revolution October 1923