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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Creaky old house - Happy Halloween

Creaky old house

in Belleville, TN (Between Shelbyville and Fayetteville) on US Highway 231

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coffee County Fair 2013: Astro Wheel at dusk

Coffee County Fair 2013: Astro Wheel at dusk

In 2013, the Coffee County Fair in Manchester, TN had a midway provided by Kissel Rides and Shows. This is the text of the info marker at the Astro Wheel:
In 1967 the Astro Wheel was designed by Chance Manufacturing, and was built in their Witchita, Kansas facility in 1967. Only nine were ever made. The Astro Wheel was unpopular with Carnival owners of that era, due to the fact, the ride required multiple trailers to transport and the excessive amount of man-hours to assemble the seventy-three foot tall device. Only four are still known to be in existence.

This particular Astro Wheel is believed to be the first one ever manufactured. It was found in a closing amusement park and was headed for certain destruction. Purchased by Kissel Rides and Shows, in 1995, our Astro Wheel quickly became a Midway favorite. Although, 2004 brought about a sad change for the massive ride. The owner at that time decided to retire the machine and replace it with a smaller, more portable wheel. The unique amusement device was once again rescued when Kissel Rides and Shows was purchased in 2005. The new owners set things in motion to not only use the wheel, but to totally restore it to pristine condition.
Fast Facts:
1967 year of manufacture
73 feet tall
2 semi trailers to transport
6 men to assemble
65 kilowatts to power
750-800 passengers per hour
2009 year of renovation
6051 individual lights
153 gallons of paint
2 miles of electrical wire
6 tons of sandblast sand
Please enjoy yourself while riding an Americal Classic.....
The Mighty Giant Astro Wheel

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Seen at the Montgomery Zoo. I assume it's an exhibit but perhaps they just flew in.

From Wikipedia:
The Black-bellied Whistling Duck or Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis), formerly also called Black-bellied Tree Duck, is a whistling duck that breeds from the southernmost United States and tropical Central to south-central South America. In the USA, it can be found year-round in parts of southeast Texas, and seasonally in southeast Arizona, and Louisiana's Gulf Coast. It is a rare breeder in such disparate locations as Florida, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina. There is a large population of several hundred that winter each year in Audubon Park in uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. Since it is one of only two whistling-duck species native to North America, it is occasionally just known as the "whistling duck" in the southern USA.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hollow Rock

Hollow Rock

Hollow Rock is one of the most unusual rock formations in Tennessee. First of all, there aren't any other rock formations on the area, leading to speculation this might be an ancient meteorite (although it does seem to be made of native sandstone). The rock is about 50 feet long, 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. See the circular hole in the front? It's called hollow rock as the hole in one end of a tunnel which runs all the way through it. Also along the top it forms a miniature bridge.

Historically, there is evidence the hollow rock was used by Indians as shelter for centuries as the interior of the tunnel has been charred by smoke from many fires. There is a creek that runs through the area about ten five feet to the right of the photo, so this area also became a popular camping and hunting spot for the earliest white settlers. In the earliest days of railroad travel, this area became a water tank stop for steam locomotives, as the tracks are about 50 feet away, with the modern Bruceton Yard also nearby. Eventually, the nearby town of Sandy Bridge was renamed Hollow Rock.

Today, the Rock and nearby grounds are opened as a city park, although perhaps a slightly run down one. The place seems like it's in the middle of nowhere, but I had looked it up before I left home, so I knew for sure I was at the right place. The paved driveway gives way to a dirt road. Once here, the old bridge over the stream seemed a bit creaky. But the worst part was how much graffiti has been sprayed on this thing. Even with all that, about the only people who seem to know about it are the locals, so you can be the first of your friends to check it out if you're ever in Carroll County.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Desoto Falls

Desoto Falls

A fork of the Little River plunges 104 feet into the pool below at one of Lookout Mountain's most accessible waterfalls.

Desoto Falls is named after Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. De Soto's exploration traveled through the area, likely south of here, but according to legend, some artifacts were found near the falls.

According to more folklore, it is suggested that caves in the steep bluff below the falls were part of a fort built by Welsh explorers in 1170, and while most archaeologists and historians find no evidence of this, it's tough to prove something didn't happen that long ago.

Today, the waterfall is part of Desoto State Park, which contains several waterfalls. Upper Desoto Falls is just a few feet from here, and an old 1920's hydroelectric dam is just upstream from that. A short paved path leads to the overlook where you can get this view of the falls. Unless you know someone who lives across the canyon, this is the best view most people can get of these falls.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Office Building Neon Sign

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Office Building Neon Sign

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Office Building is an historic building located in downtown Louisville, KY where it was once the headquarters of the important area railroad.

The structure is eleven stories tall. The first three stories are made of stonework of rusticated ashlar, with capital-topped pilasters in a series. Floors four to ten have ashlar pilasters framing a finish of red brick. Windows of the building are done in series of three. The attic is 1.5 stories tall, and features the distinctive initials of L&N. It was designed by W. H. Courtenay, the chief architect of the Railroad, in a Beaux Arts style; one of the largest commercial buildings in that architectural style still standing.

The original Louisville and Nashville Railroad offices in Louisville were at Second and Main in Louisville, by the entrance of present-day George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge. By 1890, it had become obvious that the building was too overcrowded. It was decided that the office building should be located next to Louisville's Union Station. Construction began in 1902, but its completion was delayed until January 1907, due to difficulties with organized labor in a 1905 steel workers strike. Its total cost was $650,000. It was large enough that after decades of separation, all of the main administrative staff could be in the same building. In the 1970s, about 2,000 L&N employees worked in the building. After L&N was purchased by CSX nearly all of the jobs were moved from Louisville to Jacksonville, Florida, in 1980. In 1984, the state of Kentucky spent $15 million to purchase and renovate the property, retaining the L&N name and neon lights on its upper stories.

Louisville and Nashville Railroad Office Building

Friday, October 25, 2013

Springfield Used Cars - Old Gas Station

Springfield Used Cars

Looks like a really really old gas station that was converted into a used car lot. Along Main St. (old U.S. 41 and 431) south of the town square in Springfield, TN. Has hand-painted slogans all around the front. (see my notes for what they say.)

UPDATE: I believe this old gas station has now been torn down. It did look like it was in bad shape back in 2008.

Check our Prices

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rock-a-Billy Mural - Jackson, TN

Rock-a-Billy Mural - Jackson, TN

Jackson, TN is home to the International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame. This 28'x70' mural prominently features Carl Perkins and his band and Paul McCartney. Perkins grew up in Jackson and is credited as the founder and father of Rockabilly. Then, as the museums website explains, Paul McCartney sent it around the world.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ledford Mill Falls

Ledford Mill Falls

Ledford Mill is an 1884 gristmill listed on the National register of Historic Places. The nearest city is Tullahoma, sometimes listed as Wartrace, but is in the corner of Moore County, so it's technically in Lynchburg. Visually, it's an unusual setting for a Middle Tennessee Mill. The road leads right up to the door on an upper floor of this mill in the narrow valley.

Mills need a place to harness the power of water, and are usually situated at a waterfall or a dam. This place has both. An old large metal pipe runs from the top of the dam of Shipman's Creek to the mill. a path with a wooden pedestrian bridge leads to a bench where you can sit and watch the 20 foot waterfalls in a peaceful setting. With the lake above the dam, you can see the fish which are considered pets at the mill.

Like most gristmills, it went out of business decades ago. However, the mill was restored in 1996 by innkeepers John & Mildred Spear who operate the mill as a three room bed & breakfast. During business hours, the mill is open as a gift shop / antique store. Visitors are allowed to look around but when the paying overnight guests arrive, they get the area to themselves.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

See Rock City: Turn Right on US64

See Rock City: Turn Right on US64


This old Rock City barn with the paint-chipping roof is located along US411 south of Madisonville, TN about halfway to Englewood. It's facing southbound traffic where you'll see it on the left (east) side of the street. From here, US64 is about 30 miles away and that highway will take you all the way to Chattanooga. If you were to stay on the route they suggest, you'd be about two hours away, although if Rock City was your destination, you could save half an hour by taking the Interstate.

This is now one of 82 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.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Old Tennessee State Prison

Old Tennessee State Prison version A

This interesting building was built in 1898 and was modeled after the fortress-like structure in Auburn, NY. The main building in the front and center is an administration building. The prison has 800 cells and was built for a cost of $500,000. Due to deterioration, it was closed in 1992 to coincide with the opening of Riverbend prison.

Since it's closing, it's been a popular spot for films ranging from Ernest Goes to Jail to The Green Mile.

I've seen post cards of this place from the 1910s and 20s. It seems like an odd thing to make a post card for. What are you going to say? Wish you were here!

I've heard it's also a popular place for ghost tours. At the same time the interior is quite unsafe. I've heard reports of security keeping people from getting close to the building, bit nobody was on duty the day I was here. To the right of the prison is the Cumberland River and to the left and behind it is Briley Pkwy.

To see my other views of the outside of the prison, look here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Faith Chapel Church

Faith Chapel Church

Buffalo Valley, TN along highway 96 along the western side of Putnam County.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Halloween at Lake WinnepeSPOOKah: Patriotic Skeleton

Halloween at Lake WinnepeSPOOKah: Patriotic Skeleton

Here's the perfect photo that merges today's Halloween with next weeks election. How many other people will have a photo of a stars-and-stripes-bikini-clad-skeleton?

Lake Winniepesaukah is an amusement park located in a Chattanooga Suburb in Northern Georgia. Every year for October, they bring out the Halloween decorations and put "spook" in their name. While I didn't actually visit during their Halloween themed season, I went on the last day of the regular season where they had already put many of their decorations out. One of my favorite features of this is how they reused old seats and cars from rides that are still in use.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Walking Tall in Adamsville Water Tower

Walking Tall in Adamsville Water Tower

Sheriff Buford Pusser, made famous by the movie Walking Tall was sheriff here in McNairy County in the 1960's. His home was here in Adamsville, about half a mile from the water tower he has been immortalized on. His home is now open as a museum.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Frisch's Big Boy Statue

Frisch's Big Boy Statue

Depending on where you live in the country, you either see a Big Boy all the time (which will make what I say sound ridiculous), or you never see one. As a Tennessean, I'm in the latter category.

I thought about using this space to tell the Big Boy Franchisee story, but I decided it's way too convoluted. Instead, if you're really interested see the Wikipedia article.

Unlike McDonalds where every McDonalds is a McDonalds. There were different Big Boys depending on where you lived in the country. In Tennessee, there was Shoney's Big Boy up until I was 7. Then, the Big Boy statue was taken away, and the restaurant became just Shoney's. That was about three decades ago.

Each Big Boy locale has a Big Boy statue out front. Also, each Big Boy statue is holding a Big Boy hamburger, which is the flagship menu item. (As a point of reference the McDonald's Big Mac was created as direct competition.)

On the weekend I traveled to Lexington, KY, I made it a point to stop at a Big Boy since I hadn't eaten at one in nearly three decades. From the To Go menu, I wanted to order one of everything to make up for lost time. Since that was impractical, instead I went for the Big Boy burger and the Swiss Miss. (In retrospect, perhaps I should have gotten the Brawny Lad just because.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rhea County Courthouse - Dayton, TN

Rhea County Courthouse - Dayton, TN

In 1925, the small southern town of Dayton became the center of National attention as the county courthouse became the venue for one of the most important trials in American History.

In 1890, Rhea County needed to move the county seat from the city of Washington to accommodate the newer growing city on an important rail line. Located in Dayton's town square, the Rhea County Courthouse was built in 1891 as a three story brick structure in a Romanesque Revival-Italian Villa Style. The most noticeable feature at the front on the right is a tall square clock tower with an open balcony topped with an octagonal termination. Offsetting this is a lower tower with a pyramidal roof on the other front corner. Between the towers is the main entrance porch behind a double arch.

In the 1920's Tennessee passed the Butler Act, which made it a crime to teach evolution in school. The ACLU wanted to challenge the Act and offered to defend anyone accused of violating the law, when local businessman George Rappleyea thought the small town of Dayton could use the publicity. He convinced local high school biology teacher John Scopes. Soon, high profile lawyers wanted to be a part of the trial and the Scopes Monkey Trial became the focus of national attention. Former Democratic presidential nominee William Jennings Bryan stepped up to lead the prosecution and Clarence Darrow headed the defense. The trial proceedings became the first nationally broadcast radio event.

The prosecution argued that Scopes indeed violated the law and the defense responded that the Butler Act was unconstitutional. Scopes was convicted and the punishment was a fine of $100. The conviction was appealed to the state supreme court and eventually overturned on a technicality (since judges couldn't set fines over $50).

In the aftermath of the film, the film Inherit the Wind was based on the story. In the late 70's, the courthouse was remodeled with the courtroom to look like it did during the trial and the basement floor to become a museum. Since 1987, every year there is a re-enactment of the trial in the same courtroom. The Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places and is also a U.S. National Historic Landmark. To see my photos related to the courthouse and the Scopes Trial, look here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Historic Nashville's 2013 Nashville Nine

Every year, Historic Nashville releases their Nashville Nine list, featuring historic places in Nashville which are threatened to be taken down.

Here is their 2013 press release with their nine newest properties.

Included on this year's list is the Naval Reserve Building at Shelby Park:

U.S. Naval Reserve Training Center

Previous years list include the Mt. Olivet Cemetery Chapel, The old Tennessee State Prison, and the US Army Corps of Engineers Building at Lock Two Park

Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel Old Tennessee State Prison version A
US Army Corps of Engineers Building at Lock Two Park

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Only Abandoned Church

The Only Abandoned Church

...as in the abandoned church in Only, TN. Not to be confused with the Only Baptist Church.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

In Tennessee, even the caboose is orange!

In Tennessee, even the caboose is orange!

In Nashville, Illinois Central 9380 has been restored with vivid color. This caboose is on display at the Tennessee Central Railway Museum and accompanies all of their excursion trains. It might just be the most popular train car there!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Nashville Skyline - 17 minutes after sunset

Nashville Skyline 4d - 17 minutes after sunset

This photo of the Nashville skyline was taken about five years ago on a twilight with a colorful sky.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Old Franklin County Jail - Winchester, TN

Old Franklin County Jail - Winchester, TN

This jail was built in 1897 and served until 1972 when a newer jail was built. It's located a couple of blocks from the town square and overlooks the banks of the local river.

Inside the jail are things you typically find inside a jail converted into a museum. You can see the jail's 8 cells, plus the old living quarters of the sheriff who lived at the jail. There's also civil war and local history artifacts. There's also memorabilia of one of the town's biggest celebrity, Dinah Shore. Admission is only a dollar. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Apparently it gets so cold here in the winter that the museum closes for a few months.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Alvin C York Gristmill & Dam

Alvin C York Gristmill & Dam

Tennessean and hero Alvin C. York was one of the most decorated soldiers in World War I. On Oct. 8, 1918, while leading a small patrol through the Argonne Forest in France, Sgt. York had the assignment to eliminate a flank of opposition machine gun fire that was halting his regiment's advancement. York found himself alone facing a German machine gun unit and he took them on with only a rifle and a pistol. The fight ended with over 20 German soldiers dead and another 132 soldiers surrendering along with their four officers and 35 machine guns. For his efforts he was awarded a dozen medals including the Congressional Medal of Honor.

After the War, he returned to his family farm in Pall Mall, nestled in the Tennessee Mountains. York never looked to capitalize on his fame, and instead led a quiet life.

York's Family farm, grist mill, and burial site are now maintained by Tennessee as a State Historic Park. The Grist Mill and dam were built on the Wolf River and operated by York until his death in 1964. Since then, the farm has been designated a National Historic Landmark District and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rock City's Old Fashioned Brochure dispenser

Rock City Brochure dispenser

The brochures are held in a form-fitting bin on the left. At the bottom, it says Free BROCHURES and MAPS TAKE ONE

The rest is shaped like a Rock City barn. At the top is a familiar saying: SEE ROCK CITY ATOP LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

Below that are 4 windows. The contents of the windows are controlled by a dial on the right side. In the first window are an alphabetical list of many cities around the continent, most of which are in the Southeast U.S. Highlighted here is "Nashville, Tenn" Located above Nashville in this view are Milwaukee, Wisc., Mobile, Ala., Montgomery, Ala., Montreal, Que., and Murfreesboro, Tenn. After Nashville in the list are New Orleans, La., New York, N.Y., Norfolk, Va., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Ocala, Fla.

In the second window is the mileage from the highlighted city in the first window to Rock City. Nashville is 171 Miles. Murfreesboro is 140. The third window is a cartoon drawing of Rocky the Rock City elf mascot, with the label Rocky invites you... In the final window, is a shrunken post card view of one of the sights at Rock City. This view is of the "Entrance to Rock City" and the label finishes the sentence to see this colorful preview of Beautiful ROCK CITY.

At the bottom is the overall description:
Compliments of Beautiful ROCK CITY

Monday, October 7, 2013

Falls Mill

Falls Mill

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.

On the right, you can see Falls Mill Falls as the stream tumbles 6 feet into the pool below.

Historic Marker:

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Santa Fe Baptist Church - Santa Fe, TN

Santa Fe Baptist Church - Santa Fe, TN

Santa Fe is a small town in Maury County and this church building is located along old TN Highway 7.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ralph's Automotive - Hohenwald, TN

Ralph's Automotive - Hohenwald, TN

This classic Gas Station architecture is now home to a service station. The car in the photo is apparently a 1956 Nomad.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Siamang, hanging out - Nashville Zoo

Siamang, hanging out

This Siamang is seen out at the Nashville Zoo. A siamang is a type of Gibbon, and there are a couple of them at Gibbon Island.

Often times, they'll sit at the tops of the trees where you can't see them and not do anything particularly interesting for what feels like 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. And then on the rarest of occasions, there are times when they take a small break from their midair dance and they'll pose for me.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Limestone, TN Depot

Limestone, TN Depot

Here is a train station that has seen better days... The depot originally built by Southern is barely standing. The main part of the unincorporated town seems to be on a slope. The homes on the other side of the tracks from the depot (that are behind me) look down on the depot. All the mostly deserted storefronts look up at the depot.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mississippi Governor's Mansion

Mississippi Governor's Mansion

The Mississippi Governor's Mansion is a historic residence in Jackson, MS, located at 300 East Capitol Street. Since it's first use in 1842, It is the second oldest executive residence in the U.S. that has been continuously occupied as a gubernatorial residence (only Virginia's Executive Mansion is older). In 1969, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Then, It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior in 1975, an honor previously bestowed on only one other state gubernatorial residence. The mansion was also declared a Mississippi Landmark in 1985.

William Nichols designed the Mansion in the period’s most popular architectural style – Greek Revival. Architectural historians consider the mansion to be one of the finest surviving examples of the Greek Revival style in the U.S. In 1840, here is how Nichols described his plans to the state legislature:

"The building will be seventy-two by fifty-three feet. The ground or basement story is eight feet high and is divided into servants’ room, store rooms, and cellar. On the principal floor the main entrance is from a portico twenty-eight by twelve feet, into an octagon vestibule, which communicates with a drawing room fifty by twenty-four feet, with a dining room which by means of folding doors may be made of the same size, and with the great staircase leading to the upper floor; … the upper floor will contain four spacious chambers, a wardrobe and a private staircase, communicating with the basement story. The portico on the principal front will be supported by columns of the Corinthian order. In finishing the building, it is intended to avoid a profusion of ornament, and to adhere to a plain simplicity, as best comporting with the dignity of the state."

After about seven decades of use, it started to fall into disrepair that in 1908 newly elected Governor Edmund Noel refused to move in. The legislature approved funding for renovations and many internal changes were made. About another seven decades passed and the story repeated itself in 1971 and Governor John Bell Williams had to move out for a second major renovation. Mark your calendars for 2035 when it might be due to happen again. For a more complete history: mdah.state.ms.us/museum/mhistory.html

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

McMinnville Park Fountain at Night

McMinnville Park Fountain at Night

This fountain is located in a park across the street from the Warren County Courthouse in McMinnville's town square. There are blue colored lights inside the fountain to give the water that tint. According to a nearby plaque, the fountain is circa 1900, but installed during a main street renovation in 2005.