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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Hewett Home

The most noticable feature of this Greek Revival mansion is the monumental pedimented portico. The central original part of the building was built in the 1830s as a female academy. Later, it was turned into a private residence and the portico was added. When Austin Hewitt died in 1921, he willed his estate to become a ladies retirement home, and was then enlarged.

Listed on the National Register of historic places.

Austin Hewitt House

When comparing a modern photo to the most card, the most noticeable change is the color of the exterior. The front lawn with trees and a sidewalk has been replaced with a parking lot. Awnings have been added to each lower floor window. Otherwise, a lot has stayed the same. The Post card calls this the Hewett Home for Old Ladies. Hewitt is misspelled on the card.

Monday, January 30, 2012

In the news: Marion Memorial Bridge

Marion Memorial Bridge seen from Interstate 24

This bridge was built in 1929 to cross the Tennessee River for a new alignment of the Dixie Highway. Originally, there were toll booths on either side but they were removed in 1947. In the mid 1960's with the building of Nickajack Dam just downstream, which formed Nickajack Lake, the water level rose. The Bridge was rehabilitated and also hydraulically lifted 21 feet so that barge traffic could still pass below. While not the Dixie Highway anymore, it did carry the Cummings Highway, which is US41, US64 and US72.

After Interstate 24 was built near the same place, traffic on this bridge shrank. A friend of mine who lived in the area told me how she always hated driving across this bridge because it is narrow and you fell like you could fall off the side. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Recently, the bridge was determined by the state to be structurally deficient. Three weeks ago, on Jan. 9, 2012, the bridge was officially closed. In a couple of years, there will be a new, wider bridge at this location. For the full story, read this article:

On the Marion Memorial Bridge

Sunday, January 29, 2012

NC&StL Diesel engine - Cowan, TN

NC&StL Diesel engine - Cowan, TN

Located at the Cowan Railroad Museum. It is a 1950 Diesel electric locomotive, built by General Electric as a 44 ton. Donated to the museum as a long-term loan in 2007 after years of use in Huntsville, Al.
Historically, in 1962, this was the first locomotive ever to be equipped with radio control so that an engineer was nor needed in the cab.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tallan Building - Chattanooga

Tallan Building - Chattanooga

As you can see from the logo at top, the biggest client of the building is Regions Bank. It was built in 1982 in downtown Chattanooga and is 12 stories tall, most of which have the prominent glass facade.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tank at Alvin C. York State Historic Site

Tank at Alvin C. York State Historic Site

Sgt. York was a WWI Hero. The historic Site is in Pall Mall, TN next door to his old home along US127. Some flickr friends filled in this info about the tank: this is a M247 Sergeant York self-propelled anti-aircraft gun built on an M48A5 tank chassis.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fuston's Antiques Barn

Fuston's Barn

This is one of those barns I had to drive past a couple of times before I had a chance to remember to look out for it.

Fuston's used to be an Antique Shop 10 miles away in Smithville, and then later branched out to a 2nd store in Woodbury. Their other store had an advertising barn, also.

This barn is on highway US 70 barely to the west of the small town of Liberty and the TN96 intersection

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fishing at the Walter Hill Dam

Fishing at the Walter Hill Dam

I wonder how many times I'd driven past this and not realized it was here, right off of US231 north of Murfreesboro. The area is listed as Walter Hill Day Use Park. This is a dam on the Stones River and was built to be part of hydroelectric plant.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Sam Davis Home

This is the home of Sam Davis, the storied Boy Hero of the Confederacy. Above is the way the home looked around the 1930s or 40s and below is the way it looks today. The home is preserved as a museum and you can take a tour today. The home is in Smyrna, TN.

Sam Davis Home version 2

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jackson County Courthouse - Gainesboro, TN

Jackson County Courthouse - Gainesboro, TN

The Pole at the top is a flagpole with no flag.

Gainesboro’s Business District is built on an incline, making it rare compared to most Tennessee towns.

Jackson Co. Courthouse Clock Tower

The Jackson County Court House is the center of the Historic District. Built in 1927 with an illuminated Seth Thomas clock in the tower, it is a remarkable structure. The clock must be wound every thirteen days to keep accurate time. A faithful volunteer climbs the tower and winds the clock devoutly. (At least that's what the county website says - it's off by 6 hours on this day.)


Sunday, January 22, 2012

13th Anniversary of the 1999 Clarksville Tornado

Montgomery Co. Courthouse 2

This is the 4th Courthouse to be built in Clarksville. It was constructed in 1879 for $100,000, and was placed in a location that was away from the town square. It was designed with Italianate and Victorian elements in a classical style and is topped with a tall clock tower.

This courthouse was built after a devestating fire turned the previous courthouse and much of the city was turned to rubble. On April 13, 1878, the fire started, which was aided by wind as well as the town's only fire engine broke down early. This fire wasn't fully out until another fire engine was sent by train from Nashville.

On March 12, 1900 another fire almost destroyed this courthouse. It was believed to have started in the southeast section of a flue in the office of the Circuit Court Clerk. By now, the town had learned its lesson and had better fire-fighting practices in place, which saved the building. Steel girders and beams in the ceiling were anchored in cement keeping the lower floor intact, although the roof and tower collapsed. After inspection, the remnants were deemed structurally sound and the building was rebuilt with a new clock and the soaring bronze eagle was reinstated in his aerie on the top.

On March 20, 1976, heavy winds caused the eagle on top to be blown off and it was feared to be lost but eventually found and reattached.

Disaster struck again on Jan. 22, 1999, when an F4 tornado struck downtown, crippling the courthouse and causing $74 million damage to the city. Sections of the roof and spires were ripped away, the clock tower was leveled and the east wall was collapsed. The eagle was never found. After considering building a new courthouse, city leaders decided to rebuild this one again. The exterior was rebuilt to look just like it had been and the interior was redesigned. A replicated tower and eagle was again placed on top. All repairs were completed in the fall of 2002.

How long will it last this time? Clarksville has a very storied past of disasters with fires, tornados and floods.

This view was taken in July 2008 from the top of a parking garage.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

John Bridgman's House - Pikeville, TN

John Bridgman's House - Pikeville, TN

I have no idea about the signficance of this place, other than the fact it's old and it's on the National Register of Historic Places. Googling this, John Bridgman may have named Pikeville. This brick house is probably more than 150 yrs. old.

Friday, January 20, 2012

This is why they keep tigers seperated from people

This is why they keep tigers seperated from people

I wouldn't want to meet up with the teeth of a Siberian Tiger. At the Louisville Zoo, they had the tiger perform a few tricks in exchange for a piece of raw meet attached to the end of what I hope is a really long stick. I think the trick the tiger is performing right now is called "look scary."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Old Jail - Franklin, TN (2011 Version)

The Old Jail (2011) - Franklin, TN

Yesterday, I posted what the Old Jail in Franklin used to look like. This is it's appearance now.

This is the second time I have been to the old jail and since my visit last time a little over a year ago it has been painted all white except for the stone basement level and all the windows have been boarded up with the bars removed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Old Jail - Franklin, TN (2010 Version)

The Old Jail - Franklin, TN

There are three jails in Williamson County, but of course the newest one is the only one still used as a jail. This is next door to the Old, Old Jail and is known as the Old Jail.

This concrete jail was built in 1941 for $25,000 and was the fifth jail ever in the county. It was in use as a jail until the New Jail was built in 1971. Last I heard, this jail holds county offices.

However, it doesn't look like this anymore, I'll show what it looks like now for tomorrow's post.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Post Card Tuesday - Marshall County Courthouse

The present Colonial Revival style courthouse was completed in 1929. This was the third to occupy this location in Lewisburg, TN. The first was built in 1838 an then burned in 1873. The second was completed in 1874 and burned in 1927. This courthouse was designed by the Nashville firm of Hart, Freeland and Roberts, and the same firm renovated and modernized the building in 1974.

Marshall County is named after Supreme Court Cheif Justice John Marshall.

Marshall County Courthouse 3

Monday, January 16, 2012

Faded Coca-Cola Mural - Dayton, TN

Faded Coca-Cola Mural - Dayton, TN

This mural faces a general store along a corner of the Dayton Town Square. In the top corner of the ad is the word DRINK and in the bottom right corner is a coke bottle on a yellow circle.

Above the Coke Mural is an ad for Mansfields Coffee Shoppe. A block away is a place called Mansfield's Diner, which I will assume is the same place.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Train Bridge, Bicentennial Park, Nashville

Train Bridge, Bicentennial Park, Nashville

A CSX train engine crosses over the bridge which is part of the entrance to Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville, TN. In the background, people sit in the ampitheater to enjoy a sunny day. This picture is taken from Capitol Hill on the north side of the state capitol.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Dandgure's Cafeteria mural

Dandgure's Cafeteria mural

Mural alongside Dandgure's Meat-and-three cafeteria along Lafayette (US41/70S) close to dowtown Nashville. It's across the street from the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. It's sometime's shortened to Dan's Cafe:

Dan's Cafe / Dr. Pepper sign

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Friday the 13th! Mothman


You don't really thing about running into an axe-wielding maniac in January, but it's still Friday the 13th, and there's probably some tv network running a marathon.

This isn't exactly Jason, but if you ran into it in the woods, it would still scare you. This is made from a carved tree, except for the wings which have been fastened onto the rest. Of all places to show up, this is at a nice mom-and-pop motel in a rural area just west of Chattanooga.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Coffee Pot - Roanoke, VA

Today's destinations is a little ways outside of Middle Tennessee, but I thought some people might find it interesting...

The Coffee Pot is a roadhouse restaurant built in what used to be the outskirts of Roanoke, VA in 1936.

The entire building has a log cabin motif, with a large stucco Coffee Pot on the end.  It serves as a great example of Novelty Architecture and for that reason has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.  The Coffee Pot is 15 ft. tall and when it was built, they had steam rise out of the spout, generated by a furnace below.

It was built along Brambleton Ave., which is now US 221.  Various musical acts have performed inside over the years, giving it the slogan the "Biggest small stage in the south"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wedding Chapel in the woods

Wedding Chapel in the woods

Here is a tiny wedding chapel I found several years ago. The area is accessed by crossing a small footbridge on the left, but the area was locked behind a fence on this day. My map calls the water here Lake Louise and it's downstream from Lake Marrowbone in the Northwest corner of Davidson County. Off the right edge of the picture is a dam.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Nashville Municipal Airport

In this linen postcard, we see an Eastern Airlines plane pulling up to the terminal at Berry Field.  The airline went out of business in 1991 but I'm sure that fleet of planes like the one seen here was gone before that.  The building seen here which includes the air traffic control tower on top is still there, I believe.  In fact, if you take Briley Parkway's old airport exit, you can drive around the area and get up close.  Of course there's a much bigger terminal and a much taller control tower in use these days.

Angora - The fluffiest of rabbits

2006 TN State Fair: The fluffiest of rabbits

Although this looks like a bunny head photoshopped onto a foot-and-a-half long cottonball, it's indeed all rabbit. If you have an angora sweater, or anything else made from the soft, fluffy angora wool, it's made from the fur of a rabbit. There a small handful of these types of rabbits every year at the Tennessee State Fair in the Rabbit Barn. This one was seen in 2006.

Monday, January 9, 2012

See 7 States from Rock City

See 7 States from Rock City

See 7 States from Rock City
Near Chattanooga Tenn

This is Lewis Bruton's Rock City Barn on Highway US 64, the old highway that connects Memphis to Chattanooga. It is in Lawrence County, Tennessee about 5 miles East of the Natchez Trace Parkway, or 9 miles west of Lawrenceburg.

This barn can be easy to miss if you're not looking closely for it. Much of highway US64 between Memphis and where it meets I-24 in Franklin County has been or is in the process of being converted to a 2-lane divided highway. In most instances, the older winding road is not marked as a highway. This barn is along the old stretch, but is really close to an intersection with a modern highway. If you're travelling eastbound on the newer 64, I suspect you won't see it as the barn won't quite be facing you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Knoxville Sunsphere View: Old City Hall

Sunsphere View: Old City Hall

This is actually a complex of several buildings that started in 1848 as the Tennessee School for the Deaf. Then it became the City Hall in 1924 until the City-County building was built in 1980. In 2009 it became the Lincoln Memorial University School of Law

The Sunsphere was built for the 1982 Knoxville World's Fair. Not too long ago, it reopened as an observation deck. The views are a little blurred in places and off-color due to the windows that we look through, but still it makes for a great vantage point of the city. Ony my website is a gallery of other landmarks you can see from the Susnphere. If that interests you, check it out here:


Friday, January 6, 2012

Cordell Hull Bridge - Carthage, TN

Cordell Hull Bridge - Carthage, TN

It is the old bridge connecting Carthage to South Carthage. On the south side of the river, is just a bluff and an area wide enough for U.S. 70S to pass through. It was built in 1936 and was the second bridge to span the Cumberland River at this spot. Hull was Secretary of State for FDR for 11 years. This is the view from the newer TN25 bridge. The last time I was able to drive over the Hull Bridge was in 2007, and it appears to be semi-permanently closed to traffic for now.

If you're a fan of Country Music or you just pay attention to top 40 radio, you may have noticed this bridge in a recent video. Released about four months ago was Rodney Atkins music video for "Take a Back Road" which in part features the singer sitting atop the bridge as the camera pans by. (Later in the same video, he's at the water tower in White Bluff.)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cowan, TN Steam Locomotive #1

Cowan, TN Steam Locomotive #1

My wife, who likes steam locomotives, commented it looks like it's smiling!

Steam Locomotive #1 has been the highlight of the Cowan Railroad Museum for many years. It's a Columbia Type 2-4-2. It was built by Porter in 1920 as a tenderless Tank style locomotive and converted with a small homemade tender and had the saddle tank removed. The cab used to contain a small coal bunker. The Engine was functional around Charleston, SC until 1964 when it was sold to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. Then, was sold to the Cowan museum in 1979.

To see my other photos from the Depot Museum, look here:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Bluebird Cafe storefront

The Bluebird Cafe storefront

This unassuming little storefront is for the Bluebird Cafe, which is not known as much for being a cafe but is well known for being an intimate concert venue for better aspiring songwriters. It's a place that you'd almost miss if you weren't looking there. I've never been inside, as there is always quite a line to get in.
It's located in the Green Hills area of Nashville on Hillsboro Rd. (U.S. 431)
It was also heavily featured in the movie That Thing Called Love along with the Drake Motel.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Postcard Tuesday: Old Battle of Nashville Monument

I don't know why but this is one of the most fascinating post cards I have. The monument isn't there anymore (It was removed about 10 years ago - but a stump of a base remains). Franklin Road that goes part this isn't even flat like this anymore. it's a good challenge just to get to this spot. Its very close to where Franklin Rd meets Woodmont Pk. (with I-65/I-440 looming overhead) The ramps at the interchange between the two really blocked the view.

What used to be the Battle of Nashville Monument

Signifying an important event, the monument itself has had an interesting history.

The monument was originally commissioned by the Ladies Battelfield Associtation and created by Giuseppe Moretti. It was dedicated on Armistice Bay, 1927, on Franklin Rd. (U.S. 31) near Woodmont Blvd. The Post Card shows what it looked like at the time.

This memorial is dedicated to the struggle of both the Union and Confederate forces who clashed here on Dec. 15-16, 1864. Moretti interpreted the scene with two charging horses (for the North and the South) divided by a wall of antagonism. The horses are halted and quited into the spirit of teamwork by a youth who embodies the spirit of Unity (as the word UNITY is written on the banner which entines the horses.) Atop the summit of the shaft, and Angel of Peace protects the group. The monument is nationally significant as it was the first civil war memorial in the country created in the memory of both the North and the South.

A few decades after it was built, the creation of Interstate 65 meant Woodmont Blvd became a bridge in the area, and Franklin Road became a trench and you couldn't see the monument as it was well above the street.

In 1974, a tornado came through, destroying the statue's 30-foot carrara marble obelisk and angel, leaving just the base and bronze figures behind. Then, after the completion of Interstate 440 and its interchange with I-65 left the remains isolated where nobody could see it.

The Battle of Nashville Monument

in 1992, the Tennessee Historical Commission selected an undeveloped site on Granny White Pike for the complete restoration of the monument. The new carved stone and obelisk are of white granite, quarried at Elberton, GA. The bronze figures - preserved and refurbished from Moretti's original work- face due east toward the rising sun as Moretti intended. The six foot angel at the apex was carved by local sculptor Coley Coleman

Here is a picture of the marker:

Monday, January 2, 2012

New for 2012: Post Card Tuesday!

I'd like to introduce a new feature for the SeeMidTN.com Blog: Vintage Post Card Tuesdays. Before I ever had a real camera, I liked to collect post cards, vintage and modern. (Maybe that's what inspired me to become a photographer in the first place.)

Each Tuesday, I'll post a scan of a vintage post card. Many of these places are still around. Some are long gone. Even the ones that are still around may have seen some changes over the 50 to 100 years. If I've taken a photo of the location, perhaps we can see a now and then comparison, too.

To start, I'd like to begin with this post card, one of the earliest obtained for my personal collection. (One that my wife bought me, in fact.) This is a linen-era card of the James Robertson Hotel in Downtown Nashville (and also featuring Fort Nashboro) .

The James Robertson is not a hotel anymore. Today, it's an apartment. Located on 7th Ave., it is Nashville's second oldest remaining hotel building. (The Hermitage is 1st.) Built in 1929, the hotel was named after the founder of Nashville. The architect that designed this building also designed the TN State Supreme Court building (next to the Capitol) and the Frist Center (old post office). Almost not surviving the great depression, it had gone back-and-forth from a hotel to apartments since 1978, when it permanantly became low income dowtown housing. The Renainnace hotel dwarfs it in the background.

"The James Robertson" - Nashville

Here is a closeup of the architectural detail:

James Robertson Architectural Detail

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012!

09 TN State Fair #159: Cake Decorating

Happy new year!

I hope you enjoyed your evening of dancing the night away, listening to tunes, or watching your favorite ring-in-the-new-year TV special. I will presume you stayed up really late and you didn't wake up until noon. However, It's all good - I wrote this post two weeks ago.

I don't suppose people really have new years cakes. However, today is my birthday and I'd like a birthday cake - not that you particularly care. :) This cake was one of the amazing cakes seen at the Tennessee State Fair in 2009. The Tennessee Chapter of the JCES (and I don't know what that stands for) had many wonderful cakes from their members on display that year! The card in front says Mary Jo Manis designed this one. Great work, wherever you are. Buttercream Gum Paste never sounded so good.

With the new year, I have a new feature for the blog that will roll out tommorrow, so If you are a regular reader, stay tuned!