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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Postcard Tuesday: Bedford County Courthouse

Bedford County Courthouse - Shelbyville, Tennessee

This is what the courthouse looks like today:

Bedford Co. Courthouse #2 daytime

The county's fifth and current courthouse was built in 1935 after lynch mob violence destroyed the previous courthouse. That previous courthouse was built in 1873 and had a very similar design to the one here. The most noticeable difference between the two is the previous courthouse had a fancier clock tower and the lower lever windows had a rounded top just like the upper windows. That makes this post card an image of the current courthouse and although the card isn't dated, it would be newer than 1935.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Seattle Wheel at the 2006 Williamson Co. Fair

The Seattle Wheel

This is the "Seattle Wheel" Ferris wheel at the 2006 Williamson County Fair. It is owned and Operated by Drew Operations, but was built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. If you've ever seen video from that world's fair, you've likely seen one similar to this one before. It is over 90 ft. tall and I have been told it spins in a way to provide a bigger thrill than a typical Ferris Wheel.

The Williamson County Fair opens this upcoming weekend!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Central Church of Christ - McMinnville, TN

Central Church of Christ - McMinnville, TN

In the 1830's, a group of Church of Christ members met every Sunday inside the Warren County Courthouse to worship. In the 1840's, the built their first brick building which was damaged in the Civil War and replaced in 1878. Over a century later, that congregation still exists and meets in this building on the McMinnville town square. The building of a Greek Revival style was finished in 1973 and has a seating capacity over a thousand.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bijou Theater - Downtown Knoxville

Bijou Theater - Downtown Knoxville

This theater has quite the history. The Theater dates back to 1908, but the building dates back to 1815 where it was built as a hotel. It went through a seedy period but in the late 70s a "Save the Bijou" campaign began to restore it to it's previous glory.

Read the full story on their website here:

Bijou Theater - Downtown Knoxville

Friday, July 27, 2012

See Beautiful Rock City

See Beautiful Rock City

Although most of the wood that says this part has been replaced, it used to say "World's 8th Wonder" below ROCK CITY. (The top of the first W and most of ONDER is still visible. On this particular day, I got there about an hour or so before dusk and I liked the way the trees cast a shadow upon this oft viewed barn.

This Rock City barn is located in Giles County, TN less than a mile from Lawrence County. Highway US 64 runs from Memphis to Chattanooga and at one time there were many of these barns along the way. Now, I think only three remain. This particular highway over the last two decades has had extensive route upgrades and the old windy road that passed by here has been paralelled by a new two lane divided highway so that you're probably not going to see this unless you venture onto the back roads to look for it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nelson County Courthouse - Bardstown, KY

Nelson County Courthouse - Bardstown, KY

Located in the town square of Bardstown, KY. Compared to other town squares I've been to, this city was quite the happening place. The town square is where highways US31E, 150 and 62 meet.

This courthouse was built in 1892 and replaced an earlier courthouse built in 1790. A few of the original courthouse's stones were used in the foundation of this one. For the building of this courthouse, there was a local advertised contest to design this building.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Falls Mill

Falls Mill (version 5)

Falls Mill was built in 1873 near the town of Belvidere, TN on the western side of Franklin County. The Mill was built in this location because of the two small waterfalls along factory creek could be harnessed.

upstream from the first waterfall is an 8 foot high dam which routes water into a millrace to supply water to the waterwheel. The 32 foot tall and 4 foot wide wheel from the Fits Waterwheel company of Hanover, PA was installed in 1906 and is believed to be the tallest overshot waterwheel still in productive service in the U.S.

Today, the mill produces stone ground grits, cornmeal and flour. At one time, this was a cotton mill and many of the looms are on display on the third floor. Much of the mill is open as a museum which visitors can see. The mill is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

In this alternate version, the phot was taken during a temporary clouded time. Generally, the sunny versions are better, but here, I like the dreamy look and the spillway to the right of the wheel shows up better.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Post card Tuesday: Rock City Overlooks

This Chrome era post card dates back to 1951.

I've heard my parents and grandparents talk about the good ol' days. Back then, kids could play with lawn darts with metal tips on them, baby high chairs were made of metal, and tourist attractions atop a mountain didn't have guard rails.

In the view here, there are two different overlooks. In the background, we have the famous Lover's Leap overlook where they say you can see 7 states. In the foreground is a small cantilevered walkway where there's not much under you, except for quite a drop. If you've ever seen a picture of Lover's Leap in the 1930's, there was nothing except your good judgement from walking off the edge. It didn't take too long for them to add the stone-and-mortar walls so that it was safer for the family. From my visits to Rock City, I can't seem to find a photo of the observation spot in the foreground. (I took pictures from there, not of there.) I don't know when the guard rails were added to the stone walls, but they certainly make me feel safer.

Rock City Lover's Leap

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Orange train cars at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum

The Orange train cars at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum

Both get used for the TC excursion trains. Seen here is a rare glimpse of just the two of them together as they had to get all of the train cars lined up just right after an excursion.

For more info about the Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR) Locomotive 579 "City of Cookeville," look here:

For more info about the Illinois Central Caboose, look here:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sundown Drive-in sign - Columbia, TN

Sundown sign - Columbia, TN

There used to be a Sundown Drive-in on the north side of Columbia, TN along US31. The area has now been engulfed by the city, and the property is quite rundown.

If I understand properly, some investors came in and refurbished the drive-in sign in hopes of making the property more attractive to buyers.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The See Rock City Silo near Murfreesboro

See Rock City Take US 41

Although this is not a barn, it is park of Rock City's advertising barn program painted by Clark Byers. It's tough to read, but it does say SEE ROCK CITY TAKE US 41. This is in Murfreesboro, TN on US Highway 231 just north of US41. I wonder if at one time, the letters were painted over in accordance with the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, but the covering paint wore off since it wasn't as durable.

Friday, July 20, 2012

World's First Coca-Cola Bottler

World's First Coca-Cola Bottler

Now, there's a neon sign that I bet has quite a history. I just don't know what that history is because I can't find anything about this particular sign online. There does appear to be several Coca-Cola bottlers with a similar styled sign, but only one is the World's First.

The first Coke bottler did go by the name of "World's First Coca-Cola Bottler" and they were located in Market Street in downtown Chattanooga. They later expanded to a larger facility on Broad St. Then, in 1970, they moved to their current location, with their vintage neon sign out front, at 4000 Amnicola Highway.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Siamang Flies through the Air

A Siamang Flies through the Air

A siamang is a type of Gibbon, and there are a couple of them at Gibbon Insland at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

Often times, they'll sit at the tops of the trees and not do anything particularly interesting for seemingly hours. Sometimes, they'll make loud howling sounds seemingly nonstop. While the howling is fun, they are the most entertaining when they swing from branch to branch with the greatest of ease. There are other times when they look like they're about to fall 20 feet crashing to the ground, and then you realize they got this, as they find the right branch to swing around.

If you like zoo animals, or are a fan of the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, I invite you to check out my Nashville Zoo website gallery:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aerial view of Gatlinburg

Aerial view of Gatlinburg

In Gatlinburg, this is a view from the space needle. Christus Gardens in the bottom left corner and the sky lift up the side of the mountain. Storm clouds are starting to set in. (I can't remember for sure, but Christus Gardens may have gone out of business and then back in business since this was taken.)

If you are looking for a value-priced attraction in Gatlinburg, this might be your best bet. Not only is it one of the better priced attractions in town (the sky lift costs twice as much), but you can stay as long as you want, and then come back later in the day with your ticket (so you might want to see what everything looks like at night!)

It can be rather scary, especially if you're as afraid of heights as I am. I couldn't get within 5 feet of the railing. It's also high up so it can be quite windy and the metal sounds very creaky, so you wonder when the whole thing will snap in half.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Harvey's

Harvey's...Nashville's Largest and Oldest Department Store
This post card of the best known department store of the time dates back to 1954.

Harveys was a department store chain best known for its original store in downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The original Harveys store was opened by Fred Harvey in 1942 at the corner of 6th Avenue North and Church Street. The site was the former home of a post-Reconstruction Nashville retailer, Lebeck Brothers/Denton & Company, which rose to prominence in the 1870s. When the Lebeck Brothers property became available due to the store's closing, Fred Harvey founded Harveys department store on the property. The store expanded to eventually cover the entire block of Church Street from 6th Avenue to 5th Avenue. The store brought the first escalators to middle Tennessee and the decor featured several carousel horses which had been salvaged from Glendale Park, a local amusement park that closed during the Great Depression. The store was also known for its lavish Christmas decorations as well as the annual nativity scene it sponsored in Centennial Park. Harvey's even had a Monkey Bar, a bar-seating restaurant with actual monkeys. If business was light, sometimes the monkeys were allowed to have free roam of the store, which turned out to not be the best of ideas.

By the 1980s, the popularity of suburban shopping malls led to declining sales at Harveys downtown Nashville location. The original store was closed in January 1984 and torn down to make way for a parking lot. The chain of stores was sold to Virginia-based Peebles in 1988.

King Louis XVI statue - Louisville, KY

King Louis XVI statue - Louisville, KY

On this date 45 years ago, downtown Louisville got a new statue of the city's namesake.

Located in front of Louisville Metro Hall is this statue of King Louis XVI, whom the city is named after. It is downtown on the corner of Sixth and Jefferson, across from the Louisville City Hall, and was presented as a gift to Louisville from Louisville's sister city, Montpellier, France, on July 17, 1967. At the presentation, a crowd of 300 dignitaries, both French and American, saw Montpellier's Mayor François Delmas officially present it to Louisville Mayor Kenneth Schmied. It was sculpted in 1829 by Achille-Joseph Valois for the king's surviving daughter, Marie-Thérèse, queen dowager of France, and made its public debut in Montpellier. However, the Second French Revolution soon took place, endangering the statue. It was then placed at a military base to protect it, and then was placed in Montpellier University, and then finally in the municipal archives' storage basement. In 1899 the statue was found to have an arm damaged, and to be in disrepair. It stayed in storage until it was decided in 1966 to give the statue to Louisville, making a seven-month journey between Montpellier and Louisville. The Carrara marble statue weighs nine tons, and is 12 feet high.

The base reads:
This city was named Louisville in 1780 because of his support of the American colonies in the Revolutionary War. The statue, sculpted by Valois in 1827, was given to Louisville by her sister city in France, Montpellier as a permanent symbol of our special friendship

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spanish-American War Cannon - Chattanooga

Spanish-American War Cannon - Chattanooga

On this date 114 years ago, the cannon seen here was captured by American troops

Located on next door to the Hamilton County Courthouse along with the Chattanooga Firefirghter Fountain. The text says this:

This cannon was captured by the United States Troops at Santiage de Cuba on the 16th day of July 1898. It was one of the guns which commanded the ay and harbor of Santiago at the time of the sinking od the Merrimac by Lieut. Hobson and his brave party, and was employed by the Spanish Garrison in their effort to destroy them, and is now loaned to the city of Chattanooga by the U.S. Government.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rusty train bridge over the Cumberland River

Rusty train bridge

This is the Really old rotating train bridge that crosses the Cumberland River in Downtown Nashville. I heard the train coming so I ran over here as fast as I could, and then after it finished, (and when no one was looking) I crawled up here.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wendell Smith's Restaurant sign

Wendell Smith's Restaurant sign

Wendell's is a Meat-n-three along Charlotte Pk. (U.S. 70) in Nashville, TN. The daily menus are printed on a mimeograph. Best I could tell, drive-in service hasn't been available for a long time. the front half of the building is a liquor store.

Wendell's neon sign at night

Friday, July 13, 2012

Vacation Motor Hotel

Vacation Motel sign

It looks suspiciously like an Old School Holiday Inn neon sign
Located along US41A/79 in the Providence area of Clarksville, TN

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pat's Cafe - Home of the Slugburgers

Pat's Cafe - Home of the Slugburgers

A slugburger is not what you're thinking, fortunately. The quick explanation is the ground beef has inexpensive filler added to it.

Slugburgers are a regional delicacy found in and around the Corinth, MS area. Pat's Cafe seen here is north one county in Selmer, TN (and is about as far north you'll find one.) Mixed in the ground beef is some form of extender and depending where you get it, it could be soybean, corn meal, potato flakes or flour (but no gastropod mollusks). Then the burger is deep fat fried instead of grilled.

The best I can tell, these were created out of necessity in the early to mid 20th century, perhaps because of a struggling local economy. A slug used to be common slang for a nickel, and slugburgers cost five cents. In Corinth, there's even a yearly Slugburger Festival and it is this weekend. www.slugburgerfestival.com/ I suppose it's a source of civic pride, although they're celebrating something which by definition is a lesser quality product. Still, I want to try one.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This bank was robbed 75 years ago today

Linden Bank building

The Linden Bank building was built in 1906 and after it was a bank, it also became an attorney's office, optometrist, dentist, Masonic lodge and a florist.

On July 11, 1937, Robert and Oliver Adkins robbed the bank. They stole $6,600, but they were apprehended soon after.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Postcard Tuesday: Maury County Courthouse

Maury County Courthouse - Columbia, Tennessee

Built in 1906 for $120,000. The top of the tower is 132 ft. above street level. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Columbia Commercial Historic District. This linen-era postcard probably dates from the 1940s or 50s. Below is a modern view of the same place, where not much has changed except for the trees which have grown taller.

Maury County Courthouse - Columbia, TN

Monday, July 9, 2012

94th Anniversary of the Great Train Wreck of 1918

Dutchman's Curve

Dutchman's curve is the location of the deadliest train wreck in U.S. history, and it happened in Nashville. Human error on the NCStL line mistakenly thinking the tracks were clear allowed a train to proceed with another coming in. The two train engineers couldn't see each other as they approached around a curve and crashed into each other at full speed. At the time, it wasn't uncommon for passenger cars to be made of wood, and on impact the cars essentially disintegrated. All told, on the day of July 9, 1918, over 100 people died.

The exact spot the two trains collided is a little difficult to determine, but the wreckage covered a lengthy area. Today, the area is commemorated in a sublte way. As one of the Nashville Greenways, the Metro Board of Parks and Recreation added a Wayside along the Richland Creek Greenway at a location near where the wreckage had been.

The original railroad bed has been replaced with newer tracks that are built higher up. The small memorial is at a spot between bridge masonry abutments along the old line. These predate the Civil War and were built by the nearly forgotten Nashville and Northwestern Railroad. The tracks here used to cross Bosley Road, which is also long gone. A train wheel and a connector is embedded into the concrete here. A metal bar and some other miscellaneuos unsecured pieces were here the day I was. I suppose someone found them and just laid them there.

A few feet from the old Bosley Road Underpass is where the tracks cross Richland Creek. The modern bridge is about 15 feet high. The old pier remains here also. A pedestrian bridge crosses Richland Creek Also, and then it's only a few more feet to the memorial.

Dutchman's Curve

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Erin Double Stack Limekilns

Erin Double Stack Limekilns

The lime industry used to be the cheif industry of Erin, TN and in 1871 this pair of limekins was built. The twin kilns are about 25 feet tall and 19 feet square at the base. They are located on the west side of town along Main St. (which is also state highway 49).

There are four Limekiln sites in the county. Based on their importance to the history of the county, this pair as well as the one at the quarry a few blocks away are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For the entire story, see this article on the Houston County Chamber of Commerce website:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cannon County Courthouse at Night - Woodbury, TN

Cannon County Courthouse at Night (2011) - Woodbury, TN

Woodbury is one of those small towns that's close to where I live, so I pass through often. There's been a change since my last visit here: All the big trees have been removed and replaced with small trees. While I like a nice tree, they do get in the way if you are concentrating on the building behind it. Also new is the addition of nice benched, decorative fencing, and a main sidewalk of concrete and brick pattern.

This courthouse was completed in 1936, and in my opinion is one of the nicest great depression era courthouses in Tennessee. Designed in a Neo-classical style of brick on a stone foundation, the courthouse features two story stone pilasters and corner quoins on the barely taller central section. The gable roof is topped by a tall clock tower. The courthouse replaced an 1838 courthouse, which burned down in 1934 and was also located at the center of the town square.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Place Where Sam Davis was Captured

The Place Where Sam Davis was Captured

If you are a fan of Civil War Confederate Boy Hero Sam Davis, there are two well known places to visit, his mansion is Smyrna and his museum in Pulaski. There is a third spot which has become more forgotten, perhaps because it's more in the middle of nowhere.

The area is known as Minor Hill, a rural area in Giles County. It's just off of highway TN11 just 2 or 3 miles north of the Alabama border. The actual street this is located on is Sam Davis Dr. To help you spot it, between Sam Davis Dr and TN11 is a small street with a median named Monument Dr.

On the top of the monument is a capital D in a circle, then this text:

Place where Sam Davis was captured Nov. 19, 1863. Minor Hill, Tennessee
Executed at Pulaski Tenn. Nov. 27, 1863
When Offered his freedom for information, his answer was, "No, I cannot, I would rather die a thousand deaths than betray a friend or be false to a duty."
No Greater Love hath man that this: Life for one's friend to give, that soul divine, speaks to his foe, "I Die that you may live.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nashville Fireworks on the 4th

Nashville Fireworks on the 4th #11

With the recent dry spell we've had around these parts, many towns and counties have placed a ban on shooting off fireworks. At least you have some pretty good options for watching the professionals, as Nashville has one of the top shows in the country. Then, if you don't want to deal with the weather or the crowds or the traffic, there's probably some local station that will carry it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kangaroo says: It's Hot!

Kangaroo says: It's Hot!

The recent heat wave we've had around here reminds me of what it was like on a trip I made a couple of years ago. On a trip to Kentucky Down Under in Horse Cave, KY it may have been the hottest day of the year! At KDU, you can walk amongst and pet the kangaroos. This kangaroo had a priceless expression, as if to put up its hands and give up.

Fun fact: to beat the heat, often the kangaroos will lick their arms and legs to help cool them off

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Read House - downtown Chattanooga

Read House

Dr. John T. Read built and opened the original Read House in 1872, and sold it to his son Samuel Read in 1879. Eventually that building was demolished and this replacement Read House was built in 1926 at a cost of over $2 Million. Samuel sold the hotel to the Noe family in 1943 until the mid 60s when it was bought by the Provident Life and Accident Company. Later it became a Radisson and is now a Sheraton.

The building is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its Georgian Architecture and since it is a significant example of the opulent hotels for railroad passengers in the early twentieth century (NCSt.L's Union Depot was across the street until 1972). The hotel is a ten story red brick building with the main story limestone base and storefront windows. Terra Cotta detail work decorates the exterior as quoining, window surrounds and pediments, beltcourses, and cornices.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dyer County Courthouse - Dyersburg, TN

Dyer County Courthouse (Prominent Cannon View) - Dyersburg, TN

The Dyer County courthouse built from 1911-12 is one of my favorites in the state, perhaps my third or fourth favorite in West Tennessee. When I first got interested in county courthouses, I was at an antique store in Dickson and found a ca1930s post card of this courthouse, making me want to see it in person. Today the courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I suppose the most distinctive feature on this courthouse is the dome up top, with a clock facing each direction. The domed cupola is wider than normal, and there's about one story tall's worth of bricks there. Several decades ago, that round brick part underneath the dome was painted white.

I suppose the second most distictive thing about this building are the four two-story tall columns out front. Above the columns is an entablature that goes all the way around the building. Above that is a low parapet wall that conceals the low pitched roof.

In just the past couple of years, the grounds of the town square have been renovated, with new sidewalks and landscaping additions. The bricks embedded in the sidewalk were chosen to match the color of the brick of the courthouse. Also, the hundred year oold clocks and mechanical bell work for the first time in a long time.