Saturday, July 31, 2021
Friday, July 30, 2021
Thursday, July 29, 2021
This combines the two things Erin is known for, it's Irish Heritage and it's placement as a railroad stop on the line that used to run from Memphis to Clarksville.
The city of Erin was initially inhabited by Irish laborers working to construct the railroad and the city has remembered its Irish heritage. When the railroad completely pulled out, the town decided to construct a park in the heart of town where the tracks used to be. This park is Betsy Ligon Park.
Among the things you can see in the park are a blue L&N Boxcar and Red L&N Caboose (seen in the background) and a picnic pavilion made to look like a train depot.
I think the highlight of the park is Doc the leprechaun. He's wearing an L&N Logo conductor cap, with rail worker overalls and gloves. He also has the leprechaun shoes and socks with a clover on his front.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Monday, July 26, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
As someone who loves the Rock City barns dotted across the highway landscape, I was thrilled when I found out they added another Rock City barn, and this one is actually inside Rock City. It may not be your typical See Rock City message, since this one says you've already Seen it, but I'll count it among my list.
This is now 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.
Saturday, July 24, 2021
This house is on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing property to the East Main Street Historic District in Murfreesboro, TN. Here is a description of this house from the brochure entitled "Explore Historic Murfreesboro - A Walking Tour"
425 East Main Street
Built circa 1849 by Ivy J. C. Haynes, this house was remodeled after 1870 to reflect the popular Italianate style that dominated architecture from about 1850 to 1880. Paired rounded arches, brackets, a bay window, and the projecting tower covering the entry are typical of the Italianate style.
Friday, July 23, 2021
Country Music legend Conway Twitty had his mansion built in Hendersonville, TN in the early 1980s. At the time, he had a museum and gift shop also open on the property, an entertainment complex known as Twitty City. Fans were welcomed to walk around the gardens in front of his house. Twitty City remained open until his death in 1993.
The property was purchased by the religious television station Trinity Broadcasting Network to create Trinity Music City. Trinity still allows visitors to walk around the gardens and offers free tours of the mansion. My guide said they get a good mix of Conway's fans and TBN fans. Most of Twitty's belongings were auctioned off, so only one of his items, a desk, remains inside the mansion. Many of the remaining interior rooms are used for TV show filming. Around Christmas, they string up an impressive display of holiday lights.
Thursday, July 22, 2021
a portion of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park extends to the few miles between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg along highways US441 and US321. Since Gatlinburg also has heavy traffic, there is a scenic bypass to get to the main entrance of the park.
This Dashcam footage is the highway from the edge of Pigeon Forge to the Gatlinburg Bypass. Along the bypass, there are some areas with downed trees, which shows what the wildfire-damaged areas look like five years later.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Monday, July 19, 2021
Old Green County Courthouse - Greensburg, KY
I've been told this is the oldest courthouse in America west of the Appalachians. It's certainly the oldest courthouse in Kentucky, built in 1804. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as "The Old Courthouse." It was in use for 135 years. Read the complete story in the National Register nomination form:
Sunday, July 18, 2021
Saturday, July 17, 2021
This Victorian era county courthouse located in downtown Knoxville was built in 1886 and is difficult to photograph when the trees are in bloom. The most distinguishing feature is the tall, elaborately layered clock tower which projects upwards from the front of the main floor. The building has seen multiple additions and renovations over the years leading to the 1979 City County Building which is across the street but connects via crosswalk.
Friday, July 16, 2021
Ridgetop, TN is known for the Ridgetop tunnel, a railroad tunnel completed in 1905 which was the longest in the world. The tunnel runs under the town and is about a quarter mile from this park.
Thursday, July 15, 2021
According to the marker:
The Little Lion of Big Springs Park
Gift of J.F. Hummel
to the park for
"As long as children...play in the park"
Refurbished and restored by
The Historic Huntsville Foundation
August 7, 1995
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Sarie and Sallie were a hillbilly comedy act of the early days of WSM.
This is the famous WSM 650 AM 50,000 Watt radio transmitter just off Interstate 65 and Concord Road south of Nashville in Brentwood, TN.
When it was constructed in 1932, it was the tallest radio tower in America. In fact, at the time, you could purchase a post card that stated its height at 878 feet and then pointed out it was 323 feet taller than the Washington Monument. This tower turned WSM into the radio blowtorch which helped much of America be able to hear the Grand Ole Opry and cement Nashville's place as the home of Country Music. WSM remains the only "clear channel" in the U.S. to still play music.
From a technical perspective, this is a dual cantilevered center guyed tower, a.k.a a diamond antenna. It was made by Blaw-Knox company of Pittsburgh who went on to make similar towers until going out of business in the 50s. This tower still is the tallest Blaw-Knox tower in the U.S. but today it is only 808 ft. tall.
Monday, July 12, 2021
Railfest is the annual celebration at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga, TN. As part of the 2013 celebration, they offered Southern Railway 2-8-0 #630 as an excursion round trip to Cleveland, TN. 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
Sunday, July 11, 2021
Saturday, July 10, 2021
This old home / museum is located in Arlington, a suburb of Memphis.
From the Historic Marker:
Early pioneers settled in the Arlington area around 1830. A depot, called Withe Station, was established in 1856. The land was given by General Samuel Jackson Hays. In 1872 his land holdings were sold at public auction and the community became Haysville, incorporated in 1878. The name was changed to Arlington in 1883, and again incorporated in 1900. In 1905, the Arlington Bank and Trust Company was established in this building.
Friday, July 9, 2021
I am one of those people who has always said 'I've lived in Nashville my entire life but has never been to the Grand Old Opry." I still haven't been to a show, but at least now I have taken a tour of the historic concert venue.
I do think the self-guided tour is well worth the money. This includes the opening video, which was far more interesting than a typical tourist site video. The guided backstage tour is probably best suited for the biggest country music fans as photos are not allowed except for one backstage view of the stage.
The place is full of history, from the architecture, wooden construction, Opry barn backdrop, stained glass windows and the Confederate Gallery.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby by 6 1/2 lengths but then shattered at the Preakness. His struggle was the focus of national attention.
This bronze statue of Barbara and jockey Edgar Prado by local artist Alexa King was dedicated in 2009 in front of the Churchill Downs Museum. Barbaro's ashes are interred beneath the memorial.
What makes this statue unusual is the way Barbaro appears to be midair with all four feet off the ground. The 1500 pound sculpture is attached to the horizontal bronze rail.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
In 1823, Andrew Jackson donated the land, a portion of the funds, and the labor of his slaves to build this simple church. There's little doubt that it was the encouragement of Rachel Jackson. Originally non-denominational, in 1832, the Hermitage church joined the Presbyterian church. In 1838, he officially joined this church fulfilling his promise to Rachel that he would become a member after he retired from politics.
The church remained active until 1965 when it was gutted by fire. Then the Ladies' Hermitage Association donated nearby land for a new building and the LHA rebuilt it to look as it did in 1839.
See the historic markers here:
On a personal note, I took this photo in 2019. I had been here once before about 30 years prior. At the time, my dad as a Music Professor at Lipscomb University ran an ensemble which performed Medieval and Renaissance music. His group had a performance here. Upon arrival, they learned there was no working electricity. All of the musicians had to read their music from candle-light.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Here's what this look like today:
And here's the view when you turn around:
In 1833, Beersheba Cain found a mountain spring at the base of a summit along the Cumberland Plateau at the Collins River Valley. Like many other places where a spring was found, it didn't take long for the medicinal properties to be proclaims and a resort town to "Spring up."
By 1857, local businessman John Armfield had bought all the surrounding property and had built the hotel seen here. It is quite a massive building and I couldn't step back any further without falling down into the valley.
Like most spring resorts, tourists stop coming in the early 1900s and business dried up. In 1941, the Methodists bought the complex and now use it as a retreat.
Monday, July 5, 2021
Sunday, July 4, 2021
Back in 2008, I told myself that I didn't want to go downtown and deal with 100,000 people, even if the fireworks here are really good. Then I was browsing a different photo website and saw someone who took a pic of the show a prior year from the east bank side with the skyline in the background and that was all the inspiration I needed.
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Friday, July 2, 2021
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Located in Marion County, TN, Nickajack Cave not only has quite an interesting history but also has an important collection of endangered species. The entrance is 140 feet wide and originally 50 feet high.
Originally located on Cherokee Land, the cave was located near the Cherokee city of Nickajack. Beginning in 1800, saltpeter (which is a key ingredient to gunpowder) was mined here, and eventually used for the War of 1812 and then the Civil War. Around the time of the war, the cave was owned by Robert Cravens, who also owned Lookout Mountain Cave and is best known for his Cravens House.
Starting around the 1870's, the cave opened commercially. The Shellmound Railroad Station was very close to the cave which operated passenger service to and from Chattanooga daily. Tour guides would take visitors through the cave on boats. By the 1940's, the cave was run by Leo Lambert (who also operated Ruby Falls) under the name Nickajack LaCaverns. By the early 1960's, the cave was closed commercially, but the cave was still accessible by people who were willing to walk a quarter mile in waste-deep water.
One part of the lore of the cave happened in 1927 when the cave was being shown by Lawrence S. Ashley, who supposedly disappeared in the cave during exploration. His disappearance was covered by both the local Chattanooga newspapers and the New York Times. After being "lost" from August 15 through August 22, 1927, Ashley reappeared, claiming that he dug his way out through a new entrance located 8 miles away. This entire episode was a hoax designed to gain publicity for the cave and increase the number of tourists visiting the cave.
in 1967 with the construction of Nickajack Dam about a mile away, the landscape of the entire area has changed. What used to be an entrance 50 feet high is now half underwater. The old ticket booth and entrance gate are under the water there somewhere.
in 1968, Johnny Cash visited the cave with the intention to commit suicide. While there, he had a spiritual experience that caused him to stop his drug use.
Environmentally, the cave his home to about 100,000 Gray Bats, which is an endangered species. Every evening, many of the fly out of the cave for about 45 minutes to feed on insects. In 1980. the Tennessee Wildlife Refuge Agency closed off access into the cave and added a fence across the entrance. Also at the cave are Indiana Bats which hibernate here. Cliff swallows nest on the natural rock face above the entrance to the cave. Until the cave was flooded, there were three species that lived only at the cave including a crustacean, a pseudoscorpion and a beetle.
From the parking area, the TWRA added a 1,000 foot boardwalk which provides the best view of the entrance and the nightly bat show.