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Monday, August 31, 2015

When Lake City, TN became Rocky Top, TN

In the News: Lake City, TN to become Rocky Top, TN

The powers that be in the small Anderson County town of Lake City, TN have decided to change their name to Rocky Top, TN. The thinking is that by having the name Rocky Top, they could be a new tourist destination with museums, theme parks and gift shops galore in the town that's just a county away from Knoxville.

There's one snag in their plan: The copyright holder to the song "Rocky Top" filed an injunction to have the name not available to the city. Today, the judge in the case ruled that the copyright holders couldn't demonstrate how their copyright is being violated with a town's name change. Here's the whole story: www.wate.com/story/25633342/injunction-to-keep-lake-city-...

I expect the next time I'm driving US25W through the area that there will be a new sign for the town.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bardstown, KY Methodist Church

Bardstown, KY Methodist Church

This church was built in 1856 after the congregations first two buildings burned down. In 1892, the Gothic windows and belfry were added.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Hearth Restaurant neon sign - Martin, TN

The Hearth Restaurant - Martin, TN

This restaurant is along US45E on the north side of town.

Friday, August 28, 2015

2013 Coffee County Fair: Ferris Wheel

2013 Coffee County Fair: Ferris Wheel

At the 2013 Coffee County Fair, they had this traditional Ferris wheel in addition to the Astro Wheel. The Midway was operated by Kissel Rides and Shows.

I photographed this ride at a couple of different times of the day at different exposure lengths. Daytime photos were generally an hour before sunset near the "golden hour" and the night shots were done close to dusk. The daytime blurred motion photos were accomplished with a small aperture and a variable ND filter which was probably set around ND16. (Besides, how often do you get to see a daytime blurred motion ferris wheel?) For my other blurred motion fair photos, look here.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jack White's Third Man Records store

Third Man Records store

Third Man Records is the record label, record store, and concert venue operated by Jack White. The location is near downtown in one of the not-so-good parts of town, but this was done intentionally. Third Man Records specializes in Vinyl records, which I am glad to see return to some prominence.

One of the features inside the store in the Third Man Novelties Lounge which features interesting vintage equipment. On hand is a Scopitone video jukebox, a Mold-a-rama machine which makes White's Airline guitar, and a Voice-O-Graph machine.

On the day I took this picture, I really wanted to go inside, but I had no money. The temptation would have been to great to spend money set aside for the electric bill or somesuch.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Family Restaurant & Motel neon sign - Jackson, TN

The Family Restaurant & Motel - Jackson, TN

Located on the road that used to be the main road into town, The Family Motel and Restaurant has quite a nice but faded sign. The property is located along Whitehall St. and used to be highway US70 (and TN1) but now the highway bypasses this area. Based on the two cars in the parking lot, I guess the motel is still open for business, but the restaurant is a casualty. (See the white arrow in the background? That points to the restaurant.)

Below the No Vacancy sign is a hand painted sign for Ice 75¢ and if you look closely, it used to be 50¢. Perhaps you can use that as a guide for how old the sign is.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tennessee Highway 2

Tennessee Highway 2

Single digit state highway signs are some of the toughest to find. They tend to mark what the state originally considered the most important routes across Tennessee, but usually become bundled with U.S. routes. The state markers were systematically removed so to not confuse motorists. As of today, I have found signs of 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 & 8.

The best that I can tell, TN2 was the route from Nashville to Chattanooga. This route was originally the Dixie Highway but eventually became the important US41. When Interstate 24 was constructed, that alleviated traffic off of US41/TN2. After Chattanooga, TN2 went to Knoxville.

There are only so many ways you can get down off of Monteagle. Interstate 24 on the east side of Monteagle became where US41 had been, and US41 between Monteagle and Jasper were reroute through Tracy City over what used to by TN150. In the 80's, road officials felt both directions of I-24 going through that area wasn't getting the job done and a massive construction project was done for new eastbound lanes coming down the mountain. Now the westbound lanes going up the hill is what the Dixie Highway / US41/US64/TN2 Used to be.

Once you're at the base of the incline, TN2 is still there, as it parallels I24 from exits 143 to 152. I would suspect this highway now gets very little traffic, from the locals and from roadgeeks like me.

Monday, August 24, 2015

1830's Probate Office - Livingston, AL

1830's Probate Office -  Livingston, AL

This building which was built ca. 1830 served as the office of the probate judge. It is located on Livingston's town square along with the Sumter County Courthouse. The previous courthouse burned down in 1901 and this was the only structure in the square to survive. Later, the brick building was used as a library.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Putnam County Courthouse - Cookeville, TN

Putnam County Courthouse - Cookeville, TN

Putnam County's third courthouse was built in 1900 at a cost of $30,000. The three story brick building has octagonal projecting corner pavilions at the front.

The courthouse had an extensive remodel in 1962. (Here is a photo before the remodel.) Most notably, a clock tower in the northwest corner was removed, as well as steep roof and Flemish gable wall dormers. In addition to the flatter roof, a porch with four columns was added to three sides, plus an addition to the rear. "In God we trust" was added in 2012.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sam Houston's Lawyer Office - Lebanon, TN

Sam Houston's Lawyer Office - Lebanon, TN

Sam Houston's Law Office is stop #10 at Fiddlers Grove, located at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Here is the description of this building from the sign mounted to the right of the door:

In 1818, after studying law for six months under Judge James Trimble, Sam Houston passed the Bar to practice law. He came to Wilson County to practice law. Mr. Frederick Golladay befriended Mr. Houston and furnished him a small log cabin for an office near the Lebanon town square. Mr. Golladay charged him a dollar a month rent: then, lent him the dollar.

Sam Houston practiced law for ten months, at which time he was appointed Adjutant General with the rank of Colonel in October, 1819.

In 1827, Sam Houston was elected Governor of Tennessee and served approximately two years of his term before resigning in 1929.

He later moved to Texas where he was elected to the Republic's Presidency. Followed by being elected Texas' first U.S. Senator. After serving thirteen years, he became governor of Texas.


This pre-civil war cabin was originally on the property of Judge Nathan Green, who was known as the father of Jurisprudence of the State of Tennessee, served as Professor of Law at Cumberland University.

The family of Judge Sam Gilreath donated the cabin to Fiddlers Grove in 1994. The Wilson County Bar Association assisted in funding the reconstruction.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rock City Barn - Spencer, TN

Rock City Barn - Spencer, TN

This barn is located on the east side of Spencer in Van Buren County along highway TN30 close to the TN111 intersection. You can take my word for it, or pull up the original size and try to see some of the very very faded letters for yourself.


This is one of over 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.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Drink Coca-Cola in Bottles - Engel Stadium

Drink Coca-Cola in Bottles - Engel Stadium

Dating back to the early 1930s, Engel Stadium is the historic stadium and longtime home of the Chattanooga Lookouts. (Today, it is the home stadium of UT-Chattanooga. At one time, it was the home of the state TSSAA baseball playoffs.) You can tell it is an old-timey stadium with the way the outfield slopes and the flagpole is in play

I love the hand-painted Coca-Cola mural on the outfield wall. The mural is larger than it looks - check out the ladder in the bottom left corner of the image. The actual center field wall is the dark green wall on the right, but the coke mural is further from home plate and tougher to hit a home run over. Somewhere, I once heard it is 490 feet over the "In Bottles" and it looks like it's 20 feet tall. I can't find my source for this, but somewhere I read the only person to ever hit a home run over the sign was all-time great Harmon Killibrew

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mississippi State Capitol

Mississippi State Capitol

The Mississippi State Capitol is located in Jackson and has been the home of Mississippi's state legislature since 1903. It is the third capitol building in Jackson. It was created by Theodore Link, an architect from St. Louis, Missouri. The building cost $1,095,681, which was paid by the Illinois Central Railroad in the form of back taxes they owed to the state. The building, which is in the Beaux-Arts architectural style, was designed to house all branches of the Mississippi state government. In 1979, it had a complete renovation, which cost $19 million. The renovation attempted to maintain the original design whenever practical. It was completed in 1983.

Mississippi State Capitol

The Hall of Governors is located on the first floor. Portraits of Mississippi's governors since the creation of the Mississippi Territory in 1798 are on display. The State Library and the Supreme Court chamber, now both committee meeting rooms, are located on the second floor. The Legislature is housed on the third floor, along with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House's offices. Public viewing balconies for both chambers are located on the fourth floor.

Mississippi State Capitol Gold Eagle

a statue erected in memory of the ladies, mothers, sisters, wives and daughters of the Confederate soldiers is located on the capitol grounds and is seen in the foreground in the first photo.

Mississippi State Capitol Rotunda and Front Mississippi State Capitol Architectural Detail
Mississippi State Capitol Front Columns Mississippi State Capitol Modern Entrance
Mississippi State Capitol Side Columns Mississippi State Capitol Rear Entrance

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wonder Cave, an old sign pointing to

Wonder Cave, an old sign pointing to

This sign points the way to Wonder Cave, once a popular middle Tennessee tourist attraction.

The cave is located at the base of Cumberland Plateau in Grundy County. Back in the days of the Dixie Highway and later highway 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 through here.

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 again 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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Smyrna Police Department Cardboard Cutouts

Police Department budget cutbacks?

Back in 2007, the Smyrna Police Department made headlines when they made a cardboard cutout of a police officer appearing to radar traffic. While it appeared in different places around town, the primary purpose was to get drivers to obey the 10 MPH speed limits in the high pedestrian traffic area along Front St. I guess it is safe to say that it wasn't effective, or perhaps the novelty wore off as I haven't seen it for almost eight years.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cades Cove Methodist Church

Cades Cove Methodist Church

Cades Cove at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular destination in the United States most visited national park. The isolated valley was the home to many early settlers and today several of those sites are well preserved. An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sight-see the wildlife, scenic beauty and historic district structures on the National Register of Historic Places at a leisurely pace.

Inside the Cades Cove Methodist Church

This Cades Cove congregation began modestly meeting in a log structure with a fire pit and dirt floor. It took sixty two years to get a newer more modern building in 1902. Carpenter and pastor, John D. McCampbell built this white frame structure which became the Cades Cove Methodist church.

The buildings two front door design was common in the 1800’s. Generally this two front door design allowed men to enter and sit on one side of the chapel and women and children on the other.
Many churches even had a divider in the middle of the chapel. However, the Cades Cove’s Methodist congregation was more relaxed and sat where they pleased. Records show the builder was simply copying the design of another church building which happened to have the two door design.

Cades Cove Methodist Church and Cemetery

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Tennessee Valley Railroad Office Car #98

Tennessee Valley Railroad Office Car #98

According to the marker:
Office car #98 was built in 1917 for the Baltimore and Ohio railroad. It was first used by the President of the railroad before being assigned to a vice-president the following year. Such executives would have used the car to tour the railroad making inspections of tracks and facilities along the way. The car features a kitchen, crew quarters, dining room, three staterooms, two restrooms with showers, and lounge. Appointments include mahogany paneling, brass fixtures and stained glass interior windows. Today, TVRM guests may charter the 98 on our longer excursions to enjoy their own private car experience.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lake Winnepesaukah's Wave Swinger

Lake Winnepesaukah's Wave Swinger

This type of ride is my wife's favorite type of amusement park ride. Looking back to her childhood, she fondly remembers riding the Tennessee Waltz out at Opryland. I think everybody knows someone who has a story of losing a shoe or losing their lunch on a ride like this.

From wikipedia:
The swing ride or chair swing ride (sometimes called a swing carousel, wave swinger, yo-yo, Chair-O-Planes or swinger) is a fairground ride that is a variation on the carousel in which the chairs are suspended on chains from the rotating top of the carousel. On some versions, particularly on the Wave Swingers, the rotating top of the carousel also tilts for additional variations of motion.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cooter's Place Dukes of Hazzard Museum

Cooter's Place Dukes of Hazzard Museum

Cooter's is located in Music Valley, the touristy area of Nashville near Opryland Hotel. With another location in Gatlinburg, the Dukes of Hazzard Museum is owned by Ben Jones who played Cooter Davenport on the show. Of course, what everyone wants to see is outside the museum as the General Lee is on display along with Cooter's tow truck. One more fun fact: Ben Jones was a U.S. Democrat Congressman from Georgia after being on the show.

Cooter's made the news recently. With the Confederate flag controversy following the recent South Carolina church shootings, many people have called for the flag to be taken down from various places. Defenders of the flag say it represents Southern pride and heritage, but not hate. Jones issued a statement where the flag was not going to be taken down from any of these Dukes of Hazzard museums.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

City Federal Building - Birmingham, AL

City Federal Building - Birmingham, AL

From Wikipedia:
The City Federal Building (originally the Comer Building) is a skyscraper located on Second Avenue North in Birmingham, Alabama. It was built in 1913 and was designed by architect William C. Weston. It stands 27 stories or 325 feet on the Birmingham skyline.
At the time it was completed it was the tallest building in the Southeast. It was the tallest building Alabama from 1913 to 1969, and the tallest in Birmingham until 1972. Currently, it is the 5th tallest building in Birmingham. It is still the tallest neoclassical building in the south. The building has since been converted into commercial space and high end condominiums. On December 14, 2005 the City Federal Building's famous red neon sign was re-lit for the first time since the mid-1990s, signaling the buildings renewal.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Coffee County Fair: Downdraft Blurred Motion at Night

2013 Coffee County Fair: Downdraft Blurred Motion at Night

County fairs will be happening all over the state soon. This photo was taken in Manchester in 2013:

The Downdraft is a ride similar to the Hurricane. Read more here:

In the background on the left is the Rock-O-Plane.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Newest Tennessee additions to National Register of Historic Places

Rutledge Presbyterian Church

Rutledge Presbyterian Church

Here is the press release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

August 5, 2015
Six Tennessee Sites Added to the National Register of Historic Places

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Historical Commission announced today the addition of six Tennessee sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

“The National Register is an honorary recognition for time-honored places that enrich our communities and make them unique,” said Patrick McIntyre, state historic preservation officer and executive director of the Tennessee Historical Commission. “We hope this recognition helps generate and reinforce an appreciation for these special properties, so they can be retained for present and future generations of Tennesseans.”

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission, as the State Historic Preservation Office, administers the program in Tennessee.
Sites added to the National Register of Historic Places are:

Fall Creek Falls Fire Lookout Tower
The steel frame Fall Creek Falls Lookout Tower was built around 1895 as an observation tower in Missionary Ridge, overlooking the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. It was moved into the state park in 1941 as part of the efforts to manage the forested area. The 80-foot tall tower is at an elevation of 2,026 feet and the cabin provides a panoramic view of the surrounding forest. A historic crew house, pump/well house, cabin and several utility buildings are also located at the site. The fire lookout tower complex is important locally and statewide for its design and as a representation of the state’s efforts to protect and manage its natural resources.

Murphy Springs Farm
The circa 1841 Gothic Revival Hugh Murphy House is the centerpiece of the National Register listed Murphy Springs Farm. Located in northeast Knox County, the 176 acres in the nomination include the main house, smoke house, spring house, garages, chicken coop and cemeteries. Pastures, agricultural fields and woods surround the buildings on the property. In the 19th century the land was used for subsistence farming; after that the land was farmed for hay and corn fields to be used for dairy stock. In the 1940s, and continuing today, cows are raised on the farm. The farm was settled in 1797 and is important locally as an illustration of settlement patterns, agricultural history and architecture in Knox County.

RCA Victor Studios Building
The nationally significant RCA Victor Studios Building in Nashville was built in 1964-65. It was designed by the WB Cambron company with engineering design by Alan Stevens and John E. Volkmann of RCA Victor in New York City. One of three new RCA studios, Nashville’s new building was the first combination recording studio and office building in the city’s Music Row neighborhood. The RCA Victor Studios Building helped shape two country music eras in the US. First was the Nashville Sound promoted by Chet Akins into the 1970s. The second phenomenon lasted into the late 1970s and was under the leadership of Jerry Bradley. This was the Outlaw movement that widened the popularity of country music from a southern regional sound into a national genre of music. Threatened with demolition in the last year, the Studio A Preservation Partners stepped in to save the building.

Old Grainger County Jail
The circa 1845 Old Grainger County Jail is located on Highway 92 in Rutledge. The two-story, solid brick building served as the jail until circa 1949. Designed and built with no embellishments, this is one of the oldest jail buildings in Tennessee. The building is a key reminder of the important role of local government in maintaining order and justice in Rutledge. Architecturally, the jail is a good example of a utilitarian government building designed without flourishes. The Grainger County Historical Society has owned and operated the building for many years and has plans to expand its use.

Rutledge Presbyterian Church and Cemetery
Constructed in 1903, the Rutledge Presbyterian Church in Grainger County is an outstanding example of a Folk Victorian style church with Gothic Revival detailing. The one-story, weather-boarded building is highlighted on the exterior with a corner bell tower, shingles in the front gable and stained glass windows. Inside, the sanctuary retains wood wainscoting and floors. A historically associated cemetery, with burials dating to 1864, surrounds the church.

Ravenscroft Mine
Approximately 25 acres of the former Ravenscroft Mine site near Sparta were listed in the National Register. The mine was once the only shaft coal mine in the area and it serves as an important reminder of the significance of the coal industry in the Cumberland Plateau. Rail lines came to the Cumberland Plateau in 1887 and large scale mining soon began. Begun between 1901 and 1904, Ravenscroft included a company town and mining operation. Mining of “soft” coal at the site stopped in 1937 and all equipment was removed. Today only concrete and stone foundations, machine bases and a slate dump remain. The nominated property is owned by White County and plans are to develop the site as a park.
Eric Ward | Deputy Communications Director
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Noccalula Falls park train

Noccalula Falls park train

Located in Gadsden, AL atop Lookout Mountain, Noccalula Falls is considered the biggest waterfall inside a city in America. With that in mind, a city park was built around the falls. In addition to the train, there is a garden and some zoo animals. The waterfall might be visible here if it weren't for that stone building on the right, as the gorge runs not too far on the other side of the train.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lucille's Coca-Cola Mural - Knoxville

Lucille's Coca-Cola Mural

located in Old City area of Knoxville. this is painted on the side of a building that used to be Lucille's, a small restaurant and jazz venue.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Geographic Center of Tennessee monument

Geographic Center of Tennessee monument

The first time I visited this spot was in 2008 and it looks a lot better now. I'm not sure how they picked the exact spot, but it was convenient that an important highway ran right next to it. When this was originally built it was in the middle of nowhere but the area around it is fully developed now. It is located along Old Lascassas Pike as the newer highway TN96 runs parallel to this street

In 2008, the metal marker was stolen, but was replaced a year or two later. Landscaping has also improved around the area.

Text of the marker:
This marker is erected at a point designated as the Geographical Center of the state of Tennessee. Erected in 1978 by the Rutherford County Historical Society. It memorializes the 200th year of American Independence. This area has been under the jurisdiction of England, Mero district of N. Carolina, Davidson County, State of Franklin, Territory South of the River Ohio & the State of Tennessee

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Carl Perkins Express - Tiptonville, TN

Carl Perkins Express - Tiptonville, TN

About a decade ago, this vintage Illinois Central caboose was relocated next to the Carl Perkins Boyhood Home. At the time, the caboose functioned as the Tiptonville and Lake County Visitors Center, but more recently a new Center designed like a train station has opened up at the same location.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Faxon-Thomas Mansion - Hunter Museum of Art - Chattanooga

Faxon-Thomas Mansion

This Mansion was built in 1904 with a Classical Revival Edwardian style on a high bluff overlooking the Tennessee River. The house was originally built for Ross Faxon, a wealthy insurance broker. A few years later, it was sold to the widow of Benjamin F. Thomas, on of the founders of the first Coca-Cola bottlers. In 1952, the mansion became the Hunter Museum of American Art, with modern expansions added on to the back of the mansion. The Mansion / Museum is the centerpiece of the Bluff View Arts District near downtown Chattanooga and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

For the full story:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kirkland Hall - Vanderbilt University

Kirkland Hall - Vanderbilt University

Kirkland Hall is the Administration building on the Vanderbilt campus. It was originally known as Old Main but renamed in 1937 after longtime chancellor James Kirkland.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Monroe Street United Methodist Church

Monroe Street United Methodist Church

The Monroe Street United Methodist Church in Nashville was built in 1909 in a Gothic style. There were originally spires on top of both front columns but they deteriorated with age. The congregation would like to replace these someday.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Lake County Courthouse - Tiptonville, TN

Lake County Courthouse - Tiptonville, TN

Looking nothing like it does today, this courthouse was constructed in 1905. Back then, it was a wooden clapboard building with a square cupola and two story entry pavilion and patio.

Lake County Courthouse - Tiptonville, TN

In 1936, the courthouse (and nearby jail) was rebuilt as a WPA project. The entire exterior was covered by brick veneer and stone. A two story porch with colonial pillars was added. A major addition was added to the back with a vault and more office space.

The flagpole on the courthouse grounds is the mast of a ship and commemorates the Island No. 10 Civil War Naval battle.

Lake County Courthouse - Tiptonville, TN