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Friday, November 30, 2012

Lincoln American Tower - Memphis, TN

Lincoln American Tower - Memphis, TN

This is the top of a 22-story 290 foot tall skyscraper tower in downtown Memphis, TN. It was built in 1924 by the Columbia Mutual Insurance Company (which later became Lincoln American Insurance Company) overlooking the court square. The building was designed to be a one-third of the size replica of the famous Woolworth Building in Manhattan. The top floor was the office of branch president Lloyd Binford, who also ran from here the Memphis Censor Board which was controversial based on the films he banned being shown in town.

Today, the building is mixed use with four floors of businesses and 31 apartments. It is the 9th tallest building in Memphis. In 2006, a nearby church caught fire and stong winds pushed embers up to the top floors causing the tower to also catch fire. This happened when the building was undergoing renovations and vacant, but tennants were able to move in in 2008. The Commercial Gothic style building is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR) Locomotive 579 "City of Cookeville"

Nashville & Eastern Railroad (NERR) Locomotive 579 "City of Cookeville"

Nashville & Eastern is a short line railroad which was formed in 1980 to run east from Nashville to Lebanon, Watertown, Cookeville and Monterrey. They operate on track which used to belong to Tennessee Central, so they work with TC to operate their railway museum excursion trains. Locomotive #579 has been named "City of Cookeville"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Plaque about Abraham Lincoln's Parents - Elizabethtown, KY

Abraham Lincoln's Parents plaque

Located in Elizabethtown, KY on the side of a building really close to the town square and N. Dixie.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Model Train Version of Nashville Landmarks: Union Station

Model Train Version of Nashville Landmarks: Union Station

For many years, Nashville had a Children's Museum on Second Ave. S. At the time, they had a large model train display which involved 1:48 O-scale trains rumbling around scaled replicas of local landmarks, such as Union Station, the L&C Tower and Woodmont Christian Church.

The Children's museum was relocated in 1974 to Fort Negley hill where it became the Cumberland Science Museum (and is now the Adventure Science Center). The model trains were not a part of the relocation and are now part of the Tennessee Central Railway Museum. These O Gauge buildings were built to scale using light wood, paper, cardboard, and glue by members of the Nashville Association of Model Engineers around 1955.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wood Ducks, Female and Male

Wood Ducks, Female and Male

Seen at Murfree Springs Wetlands in Murfreesboro, TN

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bust of Senator Howell T. Heflin

Bust of Senator Howell T. Heflin

Located on the grounds of the Colbert County Courthouse in Tuscumbia, AL. Heflin was the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and three time Democrat senator from Alabama. However, his biggest claim to fame might be that he was portrayed by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Agnew Hardware old sign - Chattanooga

Agnew Hardware old sign - Chattanooga

Agnew Hardware was a longtime mainstay along the north shore area of Chattanooga. The large painted mural is visible to people at Coolidge Park or those travelling over the Market Street Bridge. That sign also mentioned they sell Gilman Paint, Tools, Cement and Glass. They also have an old smaller sign visible to the people travelling east on Frazier. Today, the building houses the Association for Visual Arts.

Agnew Hardware old sign - Chattanooga

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Black Friday - Never Know What Shop

The Never Know What Shop

For those of you willing to brave the large crowds, you never know what you'll find (and you can interpret that however you want). This store is located north of Lawrenceburg's town square along Military Ave. across from the Crockett theater. Personally, I'd rather be here on the biggest shopping day than at WalMart.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving with a Pulaski Gobbler

Pulaski Gobbler

"Walk gently upon these green hills"

More and more cities are coming up with a town mascot, which is then being made into artistic statues. It used to only be big cities that did this, like Nashville and the catfishes. Now some of the smaller towns are doing it, also, such as Pulaski, TN and their Turkeys, since they have large flocks of wild turkeys walking around the countryside. This one is one of the easiest to find, along the town square.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Franklin County Courthouse - Winchester, TN

Franklin County Courthouse - Winchester, TN

Franklin County has had three courthouses, all of which have stood at this spot in the center of Winchester's town square. A new courthouse was needed as the previous one became to cramped for the growing county.

This courthouse was built in 1937 in a symmetrical Art Deco style. In constructing the courthouse, the ground was raised higher than street level, creating a basement floor that still had ample windows. Perhaps the most distinct feature is the clock tower which is made of sheet metal instead of concrete for the purpose of simplicity and to make it lighter. The exterior has remained virtually unchanged except for an external elevator addition covered completely by mirror/windows which was added on the other side in 1992. Today, the courthouse is on the National register of Historic Places.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Gallery: A Tour of Rock City

On the SeeMidTN website, there is a new gallery entitled "A Tour of Rock City" where I not only have tried to find all of the gnomes, but all the other wondrous scenes at the beloved tourist attraction.

Rock City's Gnome Valley #3: Gathering nuts & berries

Gnome Valley is a newer feature at Rock City, seen early along the Enchanted Trail where the white fallow deer used to be. According to their sign, "Rock City Gnomes have long inhabited Lookout Mountain. A number of these rare creatures have recently been spotted migrating into this tiny valley."

Rock City has long had a history with gnomes, dating back to when founder Frieda Carter imported many of the gnomes from Germany and had them placed around the grounds of the attraction, some of which are seen in Fairyland Cavern. However, The gnomes seen here populating Gnome Valley are new. In 2011, artist and Rock City Employee Matthew Dutton sculpted them so that they would be on display for the yearly Garden of Lights. Each whimsical creation is unique and hand-crafted with a durable resin so that they will be enjoyed for generations. For further reading, check the article on page 10 of this issue of Pulse Magazine: issuu.com/brewermediagroup/docs/pulse_8_24a

Rock City's Gnome Valley #4: Getting some water

This gnome is filling up his bucket with water. The Moonshining gnomes are further along at Rock City.

Rock City's Gnome Valley #8: Relaxing on a bench

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today in 1906: Iowa Civil War Monument - Lookout Mountain

Iowa Civil War Monument - Lookout Mountain

The Iowa Monument is about halfway up the side of the mountain (About halfway between Point Park and the Tennessee River) just a little ways down from Craven's House. The monument commemorates the Iowan regiments that fought at the Battle of Lookout Mountain on Nov. 24, 1863. The impressive 50 foot Monument was dedicated November 19, 1906.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Woolly Monkey - Louisville Zoo

Woolly Monkey - Louisville Zoo

The thing that I always like about monkeys is how they are built to be able to climb all around everything. (Many species have feet with opposable thumbs that work just like hands, as well as a prehensile tail that can grab hold as well.) For more info on this entertaining creature:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Elliston Place Soda Shop neon sign

Elliston Place Soda Shop neon sign

This vintage sign is for one of those establishments that haven't changed since the 50's. It's located just a couple of blocks from Centennial Park. Now, I'm hungry for a hamburger and a milkshake.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dual-sided Rock City Barn near Robbinsville, NC

Dual-sided Rock City Barn near Robbinsville, NC

Depending on which way you are travelling along highway US129 in Graham County, NC, there is a message on this advertising barn for you. The barn is located near a bend in the highway, so one message is on the south side of the barn, and the other message is along the west side. This is one of those barns that looks like it is being held up by the paint on the barn, so it may not last too much longer.

The message on the south side is written on the roof. It says:

The other message is painted on the side. This one reads:
When You See ROCK CITY You See the Best

This is the 76th different Rock City Barn I have photographed and uploaded to Flickr in my Rock City Barns set. People often ask me how I've found so many of them. I have drawn from many resources such as books and web sites and sometimes luck, but there's not really one "go to" place to find them all. Well, now on my website, I have tried to create a one stop source for the locations of all of the barns I've been to. On my Map of Rock City Barns page, I have plotted each barn on a Google Map.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coca-Cola Mural - Pulaski, VA

Coca-Cola Mural - Pulaski, VA

5 cents - Delicious and Refreshing - 5 cents
Drink Coca-Cola - Sold Everywhere

Located in the small downtown area of Pulaski, VA along a wide building and facing Peak Creek. At some point over the last few decades it has been repainted, and even that has a slight fade to it.

One of the things I like about this creek as it runs through town is the old built up rock wall, and at this spot, it's practically an extension of the side of the building.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Curving Tracks of the Nashville Gulch

Curving Tracks of the Nashville gulch

If you are taking a standard picture of Union Station from the Broadway bridge, and you turn around, this is what you see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Postcard Tuesday: Cordell Hull Birthplace

Cordell Hull was born at this log cabin just outside of Byrdstown, TN in Pickett County. Hull was best known for being Secretary of State during the FDR administration and having a role to create the United Nations. He was also a U.S. Congressman and Senator from Tennessee. This post card is newer than most of the ones I post to the blog, but I suspect this old home wasn't considered a tourist attraction during the linen postcard era.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day roundup

I suppose I should have posted this yesterday on the actual date of the day of remembrance, but today is the federal holiday and many people have the day off, so I am posting it today. We are going to look at some of the ways that Veterans are memorialized around the state.

First here is a statue on the grounds of the Stewart County Courthouse in Dover.
Stewart Co. Veterans StatueStewart Co. Veterans Statue

Here is a Hickman County marker in Centerville:

Hickman County Veterans mareker

Here is the Greene County Veterans Memorial in Greeneville:

Greene County, TN Veterans Memorial

Finally, this is the memorial in Rockwood, which is located at a prominent intersection of US27 and US70.

Rockwood Veterans Memorial

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dunbar Cave Vintage Concession Stand

Dunbar Cave Vintage Concession Stand

Dunbar Cave is a scenic State Natural Area in the middle of a residential area in Clarksville, but a hundred years ago it was a rural tourist destination.

At one time, a resort hotel operated here. More significantly, the opening of the cave became a popular party spot for big bands in the 1930's and 40's. (So popular, that Roy Acuff bought the area in 1948).

Caves tend to maintain a nice cool temperature, and having lots of people hang out by the entrance would be a cool place on a hot summer evening, plus the rock formations around the entrance make for a nice bandshell. The springs from the cave were dammed to make the picturesque Swan Lake.

The typical picture of the area shows the triple arches of the white concrete. As soon as I got here, I went down there, and there was nothing there. It looks like it should be an entrance, but it isn't. Instead, it's purpose from the big band era was to hold up the concrete dance floor. The reason the arched area was made accessible was so you could walk the nature trail along to the other side of the lake. The actual entrance is of course above the arches.

Today, Dunbar Cave is owned by the state and operated by the State Park service. As of right now (July 2010), the actual cave itself is closed while researchers study the white nose syndrome which has been plaguing bats in many caves around the country.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Railroad Bridge over Barren Fork - McMinnville, TN

Railroad Bridge over Barren Fork - McMinnville, TN

I can't find too much information on how old this bridge is, but there was a railroad line that ran from McMinnville to Tullahoma before the Civil War. During the war, the north destroyed every bridge on this line between the two cities, including the one that crossed the Barren Fork River, which I assume is at this same spot.

Originally, there were multiple mills up and down the river through here, but in 1902, a hydroelectric dam was built, but is not in use anymore. According to a photo on the historical marker nearby, this bridge was already here when the dam was built.

At one time, the bridge was used by NCStL, and then by L&N, and then by CSX. Today, the tracks are used by the short line Caney Fork & Western Railroad, which connects CSX from Tullahoma to Manchester and Sparta.

There are a couple of kids sitting on the nearest pier. Can you see them?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lauderdale County Courthouse - Ripley, TN

Lauderdale County Courthouse - Ripley, TN

The Colorful New Deal era Courthouse of Lauderdale County was built in 1936 at a cost of $120,000, in part paid for by the WPA. It is the forth courthouse to be built in the town square of Ripley, where the east and south sides are rather level, but the north and west side slopes quite a bit. The brick building is trimmed with stone and features Art Deco detailing. Sometimes Art Deco results in boring, uninspired boxy design, but this building has intricate detailing with well maintained grounds. Today, the courthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

See all my photos of this courthouse here:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ritz Theater - Covington, TN

Ritz Theater - Covington, TN

This well maintained art deco storefront is just off the town square. Some space on the main floor has been converted to an antique store, while much of the theater seating space is now operated as a dinner theater. The Ruffin Theater is also in Covington on the other side of the square.

Ritz Theater - Covington, TN

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Old Stone Fort Bridge - Manchester, TN

Old Stone Fort Bridge - Manchester, TN

This Pratt through truss bridge crosses the Duck River at Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park in Manchester, TN and is used to connect the campground to the main road. The one land bridge with a wooden driving surface was built in 1906 and crossed the Elk River at Dabbs Ford (Which as far as I can tell was about 20 miles away to the southeast). The bridge was relocated here in 1971 and rehabilitated in 2009. My favorite feature is the etched pattern at the top, as you don't see that too often around here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Post Card Tuesday: Nashville's Memorial Square

Happy election day! I hope you have taken the opportunity to vote, or are at least planning on it. In this view, we see the State Capitol, and while the Governor's office isn't at stake this time around, all of the state congressmen and half of the state senators are up for election.

With the Capitol in the background and War Memorial Auditorium on the left, most everything else in this photo is different than the way it appears here. Notably, The square is now a plaza and the Andrew Jackson Hotel is now the location of TPAC. Many post cards from these days that appear to be taken from the air are drawn from the artists best approximation of how everything might look, or it might be taken from the roof of the Hermitage Hotel.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dixie Motel sign - Indian Hills, GA

Dixie Motel sign - Indian Hills, GA

Located along the old Dixie Highway and current US41, somewhere in Catoosa County, GA between Ringgold and the Tennessee state line.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

JFG Coffee sign at night - Downtown Knoxville

JFG Coffee sign at night

JFG Coffee was started in Knoxville in 1919. For many decades, they were located in several buildings in the Jackson Avenue Warehouse District, an area that today is known as Knoxville's Old City.

The main factory building has a large JFG sign atop it. The sign has the company's slogan atop a steaming cup of coffee. The sign still lights up at nights, although many of the bulbs are out.

JFG is now owned by Luzienne Tea and not located here anymore. this area is a popular spot for loft apartments and is today the JFG Flats.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sumatran Tiger

Sumatran Tiger

This Tiger was seen at the Montgomery Zoo, which has a nice "up close and personal" tiger exhibit. The tiger is about 10 feet away from me with about 4-6 inches of glass between us.

The Sumatran Tiger is rarer than the Bengal Tiger. For more info:

Sumatran Tiger
Sumatran Tiger

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lt. Gen. Aexander P. Stewart Statue

Lt. Gen. Aexander P. Stewart Statue

This bronze statue of Confederate General Stewart is in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse in downtown Chattanooga. It was placed here by the local chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1915.

There was a story about this statue that appeared in the Oct. 20, 1952 issue of Life Magazine. Apparently, a local member was upset when the bronze-turned-green statue was defaced and contacted a local judge. The judge decided to have the statue painted and went with the original bronze color paint. At first, the group members were outraged that their beloved weatherized green statue had been painted bronze, but they decided to wait to let it turn green again.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Maxwell, TN Passenger Train Depot

Maxwell, TN Passenger Train Depot

Here is a long since forgotten train station!

Tracks first came through the area with the formation of the Winchester & Alabama railroad in the 1850's. They never could get their line finished into Huntsville, AL as they made it to Elora, TN just north of the border and instead made a line to Fayetteville. After W&A went bankrupt, the line was purchased by NCStL who did complete the line to Huntsville.

Much of the land through here was owned by a man named William R. Jones, who sold some of his land to the railroad in the 1860's. The depot that was built here became known as Jones Station. Soon afterward a new stationmaster with the last name of Maxwell came in and from there the stop was known as Maxwell. I can't find any age on the date of the depot seen here.

By the 1980's, the line was owned by Seaboard Systems who decided to stop running the line in 1985. All the tracks through here are gone, leaving this old depot in a seemingly unexpected place.