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Friday, May 31, 2013

Log Rolling Contest

09 TN State Fair #78: Lumberjack Log Rolling

The Great Lakes Timber Show is a touring act that goes around the country and sometimes comes to Nashville for the Tennessee State Fair. The finale of the show is a log rolling contest between these two contestant. Who ever stays on the log the longest wins. Contestants can try to spin the log or bounce it up and down, but no contact between the two of them is allowed.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Collection of bags of mill flour at Falls Mill

Collection of bags of mill flour at Falls Mill

Falls Mill produces stone ground grits, cornmeal, flour and pancake mix. Along one wooden wall of the third floor of the mill (which is used as a museum) is a collection of similar bags from other mills around Tennessee and nearby. Some of these mills are gone and others are not productive anymore. Some of the bags are:

Mill Springs Mill - Mill Springs, KY
Brown's Mill - Lascassas, TN
Readyville Mill, Readyville, TN
Little River Mill
Prater's Mill
St. John's Mill - Watauga, TN
The Old Mill - Pigeon Forge, TN
Lanterman's Mill - Youngstown, OH
War Eagle Mill
Ledford's Mill - Tullahoma, TN
Old Graue Mill - Ill
Boiling Fork Mill, Winchester, TN

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

In the News: Teen survives scare at McMinnville Dam

Railroad Bridge over Barren Fork - McMinnville, TN

The Dam seen here was in the news yesterday. Here is the NewsChannel5.com story of a teen who was carried away by the current of the river and nearly pulled over the 25 foot tall day and had to cling to the top of the dam until rescue personnel could arrive.

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. The dam is on the National register of Historic Places.

On the day I took this photo two summers ago, there were a couple of teens sitting underneath the bridge along the piers. Can you see them? If not, click the photo to see an enlarged version.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Cambria, VA Passenger Depot

Cambria, VA Passenger Depot

Cambria is a city in Montgomery County, VA that has now been swallowed up by Christiansburg, but with its old city center intact.

This depot is significant for two reasons. 1) It's one of the oldest in the state and is one of two surviving depots in southwest Virginia that dates back to the Reconstruction period. 2) Architecturally, it was designed in a high style Victorian Tuscan Italianate style, with an imposing central tower, overhanging eaves and a deep bracketed frieze. After the original Virginia & Tennessee Railroad depot was burned in the Civil War, this depot was reopened in 1870. Passenger service stopped in 1960.

Like many trian stations, it fell into disrepair for a couple of decades until 1983 when locals bought the historic building to restore it. In 1985, the depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Register. In 2007, one area opened as the Cambria Toy Station and in 2009 a museum opened on the other side.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Let's spend a moment to see some of the War Memorials in the area.

Hardin County War Memorial - Savannah, TN

Hardin County War Memorial, in front of the county courthouse in Savannah.

Bledsoe County War Memorial

Bledsoe County War Memorial in front of the county courthouse in Pikeville.

McNairy County War Memorial - Selmer, TN

McNairy County War Memorial in Selmer.

Lawrence County War Memorial

Lawrence County War Memorial in the town square of Lawrenceburg.

Ssgt. Daniel M. Morris Memorial - Clinton, TN

This one honors an individual, Ssgt. Daniel M Morris is memorialized here on the grounds of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, TN.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

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 out of 81 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.

Dual-sided Rock City Barn near Robbinsville, NC

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Smitty's Body & Glass neon sign at night - Parsons, TN

Smitty's Body & Glass neon sign at night

Located in Parsons, TN along Main St. (US 412)

After originally posting this image, I got this nice note:

"Thank you Brent for posting this sign. This is my Dad's business. It is the oldest business in Parsons, Tn. He is Ralph Smith and is 91 years old and still running this business today. It was started by my Granddad, Robert Smith in 1921 the year my Dad was born. I now live in Jackson, Tn. but I stumbled up on this picture and I remember when this sign was bought from a company here in Jackson, Tn. called Den Ray Signs. It was a surprise for him from my Mom which we lost three years ago. I know I don't know you but thank you again, you have made my day for sure. Robin S. Jones"

Friday, May 24, 2013

Birthplace of Country Music Mural - Bristol, TN

Birthplace of Country Music Mural - Bristol, TN

In 1927, Ralph Peer of Victor traveled to Bristol to record some of the local mountain music on the advice of Ernest "Pop" Stoneman. During these sessions 76 songs from 19 artists were recorded, including The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and the Stoneman Family. In 1998, the U.S. Congress recognized Bristol as the Birthplace of Country Music, Soon a birthplace of Country Music Museum will open in Bristol.

This mural was painted in 1987 by local artist and musician Tim White. from left to right is Ralph Peer, the Carter Family, the Stoneman Family and Jimmie Rodgers who is giving his double thumbs up pose. The mural serves as a backdrop for a stage making for a popular music venue in town.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Falls of the Ohio Park and Bridge

Falls of the Ohio Park and Bridge

The Falls at the "Falls of the Ohio" were a long series of rapids caused by rock outcroppings which caused the river elevation to drop 26 feet over a couple of miles. This made the Ohio rather unmanageable for river traffic. In 1830 a lock and dam was built in the area so that river traffic could navigate the river. Over the years, the lock and dam have gone through modernization and improvements.

As a result, the falls don't fall any more as they are mostly underwater. Instead, there is now calm waters and an area that can be enjoyed as a state park. Large areas of rock bed are exposed and extensive fossil research is done. It's also a great place for viewing various wildlife.

Also in the picture is the Falls of the Ohio River Bridge, with downtown Louisville as a backdrop. The bridge was originally built in 1870 to be used by Louisville & Nashville and Jefferson, Madison & Indianapolis Railroad. In 1919, the bridge had to be reconstructed and reopened in 1920. It is wide enough for two tracks but only one is in use today. Today, the bridge is owned by Louisville and Indiana Railroad. The largest span is on the KY side, which is 644 feet long and is a lift bridge. the entire bridge is 5218 ft. long.

Falls of the Ohio Park and Bridge Falls of the Ohio Park and Bridge

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Coca-Cola Mural - Downtown Chattanooga

Coca-Cola Mural - Downtown Chattanooga

This old mural, with the C's busted out for windows, is located in downtown Chattanooga in the building that used to be the Grand Hotel. The Grand Hotel is on Market street across from the parking garage next door to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Old White Bridge over Richland Creek in Nashville

Old White Bridge

Many Nashvillians have driven White Bridge Road on the southwest side of town, but this is the White Bridge the road was named after. Cars don't drive over the bridge anymore as today White Bridge Road meets up with Woodmont Blvd at West End.

White Bridge was engineered by Howard Jones who also also engineered the Shelby Street Bridge. When it was constructed in 1913, it was an important link across the railroad and Richland Creek.

Old White Bridge B&W

Not too long ago, the long unused bridge was made a part of the Richland Creek Greenway. Also accessble from this greenway is the site of the Great Train Wreck of 1918 when two trains collided on the tracks about a mile from here.

Old White Bridge and Train

Monday, May 20, 2013

Violet-backed Starling male - Birmingham Zoo

Violet-backed Starling male - Birmingham Zoo

This vibrantly solid-colored bird which is also known as the Plum-coloured Starling or Amethyst Starling, is a relatively small species of starling in the Sturnidae family. This strongly sexually dimorphic species is found widely in woodland of mainland sub-Saharan Africa. He looks to be enjoying a tasty morsel of bird chow and is located at the zoo's rather new giraffe exhibit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Rock Island, TN Train Depot

Rock Island Train Depot

Upon my last visit to the town of Rock Island in 2008, I saw how the old NCStL Train Depot was used as a private residence. Today, the depot has been converted into a small antique store. I suppose all of the new decorations to the depot make it visually more interesting. (Make sure you notice the Caboose mailbox on the left.)

2008 Version:
Rock Island, TN Depot (2008)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mossy Waterwheel at Falls Mill

Mossy Waterwheel at Falls Mill

Upstream from the first waterfall is an 8 foot high dam which routes water into a millrace to supply water to the waterwheel. The first two wheels were wooden, but for a more permanent solution, a steel with cast iron gears. This 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.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Nolensville First United Methodist Church

Nolensville First United Methodist Church

Nolensville, TN along US31A/41A. Here is a picture of the historical marker.

This church building had a cameo in the mid 1990s movie "The Thing Called Love." At the beginning of the movie, the main character is riding on a bus to Nashville and this church is clearly seen out the window. Near the Climax of the movie as she gets on a bus out of town, she passes the same building again.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mooreland - Brentwood, TN

Mooreland - Brentwood, TN

Here is an example of an old Majestic Home that has been repurposed after a commercial development has sprawled up around it. Revolutionary War General Robert Irvin settled here in 1807. Work began on this house in 1838 by his son Robert Irvin Moore and their family lived in the house until 1944. During the Civil War, both sides used the Greek Revival home as a hospital.

Today, this area around Franklin Pike (US31) in Brentwood is home to many businesses. I didn't even realize until recently this old home was here among all the office complexes here. In 1985, the home was restored by Koger Properties and they use it for their offices. See the historical marker here:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

W.I. Brown & Son Ghost sign - Celina, TN

W.I. Brown & Son

Ladies & Gents
Ready To Wear
(doing the best I can to read it)
Located on the Celina, TN Town Square

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Martin Springs

Martin Springs

Martin Springs seems like it should be one of the most interesting places to visit in Tennessee, and yet I've had trouble finding anybody who had ever heard of it.

This interesting geologic feature is located in Battle Creek Valley not far from where Interstate 24 ascends Monteagle on the east side of the mountain. This is the entrance to a water-filled cave and it is said that the springs have 6500 gallons of water flow out of it every minute forming Battle Creek!

Some of the earliest history to occur here was this was along the Bell Route of the Trail of Tears and the area was used as a campsite by the Cherokee in 1838. There is a historic marker here that notes the Trail of Tears as well as Civil War Battles that took place here.

The Dixie Highway, one of the earliest cross-country highways in the country, passed right by this spring. Thornton Herbert Martin bought the land at the spring and soon opened Martin Springs Tourist Camp which offered cabins and a boardinghouse for the early highway travelers. Back then, anyone who had a spring advertised the supposed healing properties of the water. Eventually this segment of the Dixie Highway became US41 and was much traveled for many years until the interstate came through the area and US41 was rerouted. I'm not sure when the tourist cabins closed but an interstate makes it tougher to stop at spur-of-the-moment places such as this.

Martin Springs

2021 Important update! In this post, I previously documented how I confirmed this location was open to the public and then provided directions how to find it. In April 2021, the owner contacted me and clearly said visitors are no longer permitted. I recommend you respect his wishes.

Martin Springs

Monday, May 13, 2013

Saturn 1B rocket at dusk

Saturn 1B rocket at dusk

Millions have seen this Rocket at the Alabama Welcome Center and rest area along Interstate 65 near the Tennessee border. I happened to see it very early in the morning and I was surprised at how well it came out despite being so dark and from a car going 70mph. Specifically, this one is SA-211 and was never actually used by NASA on a flight mission.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day: Here's a Mama Goat

09 TN State Fair #35: Protective mother goat

Depending on what day of the Tennessee State Fair you go on will determine which animals you can see. On this particular day, the building was full of goats, and some of them we mother goats protective of their kids.

100 Things to see at the fair #12: Mother & Baby

Saturday, May 11, 2013


09 TN State Fair #129: Zedonk

As part of the petting zoo at the 2009 Tennessee State Fair is a Zedonk. It's a half zebra and half donkey, and sometimes called a Zebroid or Zonkey.

09 TN State fair #130: Zedonk

Friday, May 10, 2013

Johnson City, TN Coca-Cola Mural

Johnson City, TN Coke Mural

For an old unrestored Coke Mural, this one is rather well preserved.

It looks like there was another building that used to be next to this one. It would have been built after the mural was painted and then torn down more recently. Thus, the bottom half of the fading ad (below the seam) was less exposed to the elements and retains more of the paint.

Delicious and refreshing

Relieves Fatigue
Sold Everywhere

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bring Your Camera and See Rock City

Bring Your Camera

Located along US 11, Lee Highway in McMinn County about 2 miles north of Sweetwater, TN.

This is one of 80 different Rock City Barns 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.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

Established in 1947 and one of Many Nashville Country Music institutions, this record shop of one of the industry's greats is located along Broadway in downtown Nashville. One of the things the shop is best known for is the Midnite Jamboree every Saturday after the Grand Ole Opry finishes its WSM broadcast. WSM brings its microphones here as well and back in the day it was a short walk from the original Opry at Ryman Auditorium.

The three-sided sign rotates as well. The first side seen here shows Tubb with the Decca single "Walking the Floor Over You." Side two advertises the Midnite Jamboree. Side three advertises they ship anywhere in the world. See sides two HERE and three HERE.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Traditional Nashville Skyline view (taken in 2006)

The Traditional Nashville Skyline view

In the 7 years since this photo was taken, there have been plenty of changes. First, a skyline wouldn't be complete without the Pinnacle on the left. Also, the Bellsouth building is now the AT&T building. Also Caremark has CVS added to it.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blue Jay Motel neon sign - Salem, VA

Blue Jay Motel neon sign

Occasionally, I'll post an image for a place that's a day's drive away from Nashville and I thought I'd do that today.
What a wonderful neon sign for a motel that is still in business. The Blue Jay Motel is along US11 about 5 miles west of Salem, VA. It's probably still in business along the old highway because it is right next to an interstate exit. Unfortunately, the owners either didn't like this look or thought it was too hard to maintain as is and a few months after I saw this they removed all of the neon tubing and gave it a fresh coat of paint.

Blue Jay Motel neon sign detail

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wonder Cave Barn Usually Hidden by Trees

Wonder Cave Barn

For fans of barns painted with advertisements for classic tourist attractions, Highway US41 between Murfreesboro and Monteagle has several that still remain. You'll see a handful of these barns for Rock City, Ruby Falls and Meramec Caverns. On my most recent drive, I discovered this one that I had previously always missed when the trees were in bloom. There the barn hides most of the year at this spot less than 10 minutes south of Manchester.

The cave is located near the base of the Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County. Back in the days of the Dixie Highway which later became US41, the turn to get to the cave was located at the last turn before making the ascent to Monteagle. Everyone travelling from Nashville to Chattanooga would have passed this barn and then the sign pointed to the entrance.

As has been the case with many "impulse" tourist attractions, the opening of the interstate killed off this business. Now people take I-24 through the area and the Cave soon went out of public. It reopened again but soon closed thereafter circa 2000. Even though it's not open commercially these days, I hear it's possible to get in the cave if you do a little research.