Home     Daily Blog     Galleries     Maps     Contact

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Christmas Season is now here

Christmas at Centennial Park #3: Season's Greetings

Seasons Greetings from Nashville's Metro Par(ks) and Recreation. The Parthenon is in the background at this lit Candy Cane sign at Centennial Park.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In the news: Lotz House uncovers many Civil War relics

Lotz House - Franklin, TN

A two-year archeological excavation project in the cellar of Lotz House cellar has produced more than 900 Civil War relics and items connected with civilian life from the mid to late 1800s, museum operators announced Thursday morning.

For the full story, see this story on The Tennessean website:

Trove of Civil War relics unearthed at Franklin Lotz House

Monday, November 25, 2013

View of Downtown Nashville from Love Circle

View of Downtown Nashville from Love Circle

If you're in Nashville and you've never been to Love Circle, I suggest you do it before the tress bloom, as your view is more obstructed then. This place is voted as the best cheap date spot in Nashville. I had always assumed that Love Circle was, ahem, named for what couples did while there. (Kissing, that is). However, I recently noticed that it is really named after John W. Love. This was the site of the city's reservoir before the current one on 8th ave. In this picture, among other things, you can see the State Capitol, Tennessee Tower, The Sheraton with the old rotating restaurant and Kirkman Tower on the Vandy campus.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Etowah, TN L&N Depot

Etowah, TN L&N Depot

In 1902, the Louisville & Nashville Railroad decided they needed a more direct route between Atlanta and Cincinnati. Along this proposed updated route, they found a spot in McMinn County, TN that was about halfway between the two cities that would serve as a good terminal and crew stop. Thus, the city of Etowah, and it's important Station were born.

The 15 room Victorian structure made of yellow pine seen here was soon finished at a cost of $13,000.

Passenger service lasted until 1968 and the depot soon closed. However, since this is still a prime railroad location, CSX continues to many operations along the tracks. The railroad donated the building to the city and by 1981 the depot was open again as a museum after several years of restoration. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Partnering with the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum out of Chattanooga, there is an excursion train which operates from here. Known as the Hiawasee Loop, the excursion follows along the tracks which parallel the Hiawasee River and then ascends to the famous spot on Bald Mountain where the tracks cross over themselves, forming a loop known as "The Eye." (These are the tracks that the new line through Etowah was designed to bypass.)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Viola Valley Town Hall

Viola Town Hall

Viola is a tiny incorporated town in Warren County, south of McMinnville along TN highways 108/127. Sometimes, the area is known as Viola Valley.

Viola Valley town logo

Friday, November 22, 2013

Random East Tennessee Dragon

Random East Tennessee Dragon

Located right off Interstate 75 exit 134 in Caryville, TN, this dragon constructed of rebar and fiberglass has been attracting visitors to a fireworks store since 1986. In May of 2011, the Fireworks store caught fire and everything was a total loss, except for the dragon which still stands on a now vacant lot. (Contrary to some thought, the dragon did not breathe fire upon the store.)

According to www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/14021 as of April, the dragon is for sale. The dragon could be yours, for the right price.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

CSX Cumberland Bypass Bridge

CSX Cumberland Bypass Bridge

This tall and long railroad bridge crosses the Cumberland River to the east and upstream of downtown Nashville. The southern end of the bridge on the right is located next to the Omohundro water filtration plant (an area that is usually off limits to most people.) The northern end runs through Shelby Park as many segments of the trestle can be walked or driven under. It was completed in 1914 by L&N to provide a spur to bypass Union Station.

If you're into bridge specifics, here's an article published in the Engineering Record of August 30, 1913: "The Cumberland River Bridge of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad is approximately 3000 ft. long. including a viaduct approach at each end, one 300' and three 200' through-truss river spans and three 135' deck truss spans, all of which have riveted connections except the pin connected 300' span . The substructure is entirely of concrete, of which there about 1700 yd. which were built in cofferdams of interlocking steel sheet piling, under an average head of about 16' of water. All foundations were carried down to bed rock to a depth of 130' below base of rail. In three of the cofferdams considerable difficulty was experienced from encountering open conduits leading to the city waterwork pumping station, close to one end of the bridge. The concrete was mixed in a plant on each bank of the river and was carried by hauling engines to the different piers. All of the truss spans are erected on falsework built with an overhead traveling stiffleg derrick. It is expected that the erection will be completed this fall. The steel superstructure was fabricated by the American Bridge Co and erected by the Foster-Creighton-Gould Co, of Nashville, Tenn., which has also constructed the substructure."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unnamed waterfalls seen along the old Dixie Highway in the Winter

Unnamed waterfall one seen along the old Dixie Highway

When the founders of the Dixie Highway were planning their route from Nashville to Chattanooga, one of their biggest obstacles was deciding how to get over or around Walden Ridge. One method was to go around the ridge completely by placing a bridge over the Tennessee River. Eventually, they chose the river option with the building of the Marion Memorial Bridge. However, the original route crossed over the ridge along a route that today is known as highway TN27 or Suck Creek Rd.

While undertaking the difficult task of constructing a road down the east slope of the ridge, they were mindful of their surroundings. Suck Creek Road follows the path of Suck Creek as it drains down the side of the mountain. I'm sure this creek has multiple spectacular cascades, rapids and plunges but only the most adventurous outdoors people might ever be able to fully explore them. Luckily, the view here didn't require much effort.

There are a couple of wide pulloffs along the highway to stop and see some smaller trickles. The day I took this picture, it was in the winter on the day after a heavy rain so I really don't know if this is something worth finding year round or if it is more of a wet weather falls. The water seen here eventually goes into a pipe underneath the highway and eventually drains into Suck Creek.

Unnamed waterfall two seen along the old Dixie Highway

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Things that are now gone: Becker's Bakery Neon Sign

Beckers Bakery

Cakes for Special Occasions. I have several friends and family members that have fond memories of the cakes they got from here.

Lebanon Rd. (U.S. 70) in the Donelson area of Nashville

Update: I drove by this on 8/16/13 and this neon sign was replaced with a modern plastic sign. I suppose most businesses try to keep their old fashioned signs up for as long as its feasible. I'm glad that at least I got it when I did.

Becker's Bakery Neon sign

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christ Church Episcopal - Rugby, TN

Christ Church Episcopal - Rugby, TN

Rugby is a small community along the Cumberland Plateau in Morgan County, founded by British Immigrants in 1880. The Rugby Colony was designed to be a utopian community, but the design failed in less than a decade. Still a few townspeople and their descendants lived in the area over the next several decades. In the 1960s, residents, friends and descendants of Rugby began restoring the original design and layout of the community, preserving surviving structures and reconstructing others.

The Christ Church Episcopal was established on October 5, 1880, and initially used the original Rugby schoolhouse for services. The current building was built in the Carpenter Gothic style in 1887 by Cornelius Onderdonk, who constructed many of the original buildings in Rugby, and consecrated by Episcopal bishop Charles Quintard in 1888. The church's alms basin was designed by English carpenter Henry Fry, who had previously done work for various churches in the London area. The church's reed organ, built in 1849, is one of the oldest in the United States. The Christ Church congregation has met here regularly since 1887.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gibson County Confederate Memorial - Trenton, TN

Gibson County Confederate Memorial - Trenton, TN

The Confederate Monument is stop #6 of the Battle of Trenton Tour. I have a copy of the brochure and unlike most brochures, it doesn't actually give any info of the stop, but only driving directions to get to all of the sites. The Monument is on the grounds of the Gibson County Courthouse in Trenton's town square. It's in front of the front right corner of the courthouse, but older photographs show it used to be front and center.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lone Rock Coke Ovens

Lone Rock Coke Ovens

The Tennessee Coal and Iron Company in 1883 built 120 coke ovens to help supply its growing iron works. The company contracted with the state, and convicts worked the ovens until 1896. The coke was sent to be used by the steel industry around South Pittsburg, TN. On August 13, 1892, Tracy City miners, who opposed the use of convict labor, burned the stockades and put the convicts on a train and sent them back to Nashville. (This had also been done a year earlier in Anderson County, TN.)

These Coke ovens are viewable near Tracy City at Grundy Lake, which is part of the South Cumberland State Park. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Grundy Lakes Historic District.

Friday, November 15, 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.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cravens House - Lookout Mountain

Cravens House - Lookout Mountain

The Cravens House is the oldest surviving structure on Lookout Mountain, and was the home of Robert Cravens, a pioneer Chattanooga Industrialist. The home is located on a shelf-like ledge of the eastern slope of Lookout Mountain and provides a great overlook of Chattanooga. The house was a major focal point in the Civil War "Battle Above the Clouds" on Nov. 24, 1863.

Today, the house is under the oversight of the National Park Service as part of the National Battlefield and free tours are offered on Saturday and Sunday Afternoons. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Cravens-Coleman House. See the historical marker here:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Savannah, TN Historic District: Welch-Hansgen House

Savannah, TN Historic District: Welch-Hansgen House

The Savannah Historic District is a group of 17 homes that form together to become an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. This home dates back to 1901.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Burger Free Zone - Chik-Fil-A Water Tower

Burger Free Zone - Chik-Fil-A Water Tower

The Fast Food chain Chik-Fil-A is very popular in and around Atlanta, where they got their start. In addition to numerous eye-catching billboards with 3d cows is this advertising water tower seen along the I-75/I-85 Corridor.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day 2013

In honor of Veterans Day, I'd like to show off several Veterans Day memorials I've found in and around the area.

Veteran's Memorial - Bristol, VA
Veteran's Memorial - Bristol, VA

The Veteran's War Memorial is located at Cumberland Square Park. The memorial contains five 6'2" bronze statues representing the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The statues are arranged on a platform in the shape of a V for Victory. The helicopter in the background is an AH-1H COBRA

Westmoreland, TN Veterans Memorial

Westmoreland, TN Veterans Memorial

DeKalb Co., TN Veterans Memorial

DeKalb Co., TN Veterans Memorial - Smithville, TN

Cocke County, TN Veterans Memorial

Cocke County, TN Veterans Memorial - Newport, TN

Scott County Veterans Memorial

Scott County Veterans Memorial - Huntsville, TN

Marshall Co. Desert Storm Memorial

Marshall Co. Desert Storm Memorial - Lewisburg, TN

Flapjack's Pancake Cabin

Flapjack's Pancake Cabin

Sevierville, TN - US441

I like the 3D nature of the sign, with the 3d butter on top of 3D pancakes in the 3d Skillet - until you look at it in the original size and the 3d butter doesn't look so appealing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pikeville AME Zion Church

Pikeville AME Zion Church

The Pikeville African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is the oldest African-American church still operating in Bledsoe County. The main part of the building dates back to 1870 when it served as the Freedman's Bureau school. The AME Zion dates back to 1888 when it was identified as a meeting house in a deed. It served as a school until the 1920's. Today it is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Southern #630 comes around the bend - 2013 Railfest

Southern #630 comes around the bend - 2013 Railfest

Railfest is the annual celebration at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, TN. This year as part of the celebration, they offered Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630 as an excursion round trip to Cleveland, TN. Once the locomotive made it back to the Chattanooga station, it had to be re-positioned from one end of the train to the other, which it is seen here doing along their wye.

This locomotive was built in 1904 by the American Locomotive Company Richmond Works. It was restored to operation at TVRM in 2011 and is now part of Norfolk Southern's 21st Century Steam program.

You can see quite a thorough collection of photos of #630, the Missionary Ridge Local with Southern FP7 #6133, and other rolling stock on the grounds. This gallery is on my website here:

Also, I took video and put it on youtube:
Just the steam train departure seen here: youtu.be/QVBCATNnTQI
That, and more footage of the steam train: youtu.be/85iljPK1TfY
All the steam footage, plus the Missionary Ridge local: youtu.be/AhCCpvO41iM

Friday, November 8, 2013

Green-Winged Macaw - Birmingham Zoo

Green-Winged Macaw - Birmingham Zoo

The Green-winged macaw is a large mostly-red macaw of the Ara genus. It is the largest of the Ara genus, widespread in the forests and woodlands of northern and central South America. However, in common with other macaws, in recent years there has been a marked decline in its numbers due to habitat loss and illegal capture for the parrot trade.

The Green-winged macaw can be readily identified from the Scarlet Macaw as whilst the breast of both birds is bright red, the upper-wing covert feathers of the Green-winged macaw are mostly green but can occasionally sport a few yellow feathers above the band of green (as opposed to mostly yellow, or a strong mix of yellow and green in the Scarlet Macaw). In addition, the Green-winged macaw has characteristic red lines around the eyes formed by rows of tiny feathers on the otherwise bare white skin patch; this is one of the biggest differences from a Scarlet Macaw to the casual viewer. Iridescent teal feathers are surrounded by red on the tail. If seen together, the Green-winged macaw is clearly larger than the Scarlet Macaw as well.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Daytona Restaurant neon sign - Dayton, TN

Daytona Restaurant neon sign - Dayton, TN

Air conditioned! So the sign is old enough that it dates back to the days when that was enough of a rarity to be pointed out on the signage. Located one block east of the town square.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Capitol Theater - Union City, TN

Capitol Theater - Union City, TN

The Capitol Theater opened in 1927 in the central business district in Union City. As on 1999, the Theater is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1994, the theater was used for live action productions under the name Masquerade Theater. The Marquee can still light up at night.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gen John Morgan Statue - Lexington, KY

Gen John Morgan Statue - Lexington, KY

This equestrian statue of General John H. Morgan is located in downtown Lexington on the grounds of the old Fayette County Courthouse. The statue is itself listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

As a young boy, Morgan's family moved to Lexington. As an adult, he owned a hemp factory and a woolen mill. In the Civil War, he was killed in Greeneville, TN and was buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hungry snail

Hungry snail

Snail munching on some greenery.
seen at Rock Island state park, TN

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Historic Ye Ole Jail - Jamestown, TN

Historic Ye Ole Jail - Jamestown, TN (2013)

The new jail is now an addition onto the county courthouse. This old jail is on the Jamestown town square. The building is now used as the local Chamber of Commerce and the headquarters for the 127 Sale aka "World's Longest Garage Sale."

The jail is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is over 100 years old and made of native sandstone.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rock City's Diamond Corridor Gnomes

Rock City's Diamond Corridor Gnomes

Located soon past the entrance to Rock City's Fairyland Caverns are these two gnomes on a swing holding the sign to the Diamond Corridor.

On my website, I have created a gallery entitled "A Tour of Rock City" where I not only have tried to photograph each individual display in Fairyland Caverns and much of Mother Goose's Village, but all the other wondrous scenes at the beloved tourist attraction.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trousdale County Courthouse at Night

Trousdale County Courthouse at Night (2013)

This courthouse is the third to be built in Hartsville, after the first one burned down in 1901 and it's replacement also burned down just two years later. Completed in 1906, this courthouse is made out of brick on a stone foundation. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Hartsville Historic District.

The top of the courthouse features stepped gables in front of a small cupola on the hip roof. Along the front, brick bands provide decoration, as well as an entry porch. One story additions have been added to either side. Since my previous visit five years earlier, several trees have been removed making it easier to view the courthouse architectural details.

Trousdale County Courthouse at Night (2013 Alternate View)