Saturday, April 30, 2022
Here's a view that really doesn't happen anymore. This photo is from 2006.
I am standing between Adelphia Coliseum and the East Bank of the Cumberland river, as a CSX train is ready to come by, with the Shelby St. Bridge in the background
Friday, April 29, 2022
The historic Cohen Building is located in downtown Nashville along Church St. between the Downtown Presbyterian Church and the Viridian. The history of the building is taken from their website:
Meyer and Etta Brinkley Cohen lived on the two upper levels, which had parquet floors, fireplaces in every room, stained-glass windows and wainscoting. Mrs. Cohen lived and entertained here from the time of her marriage in 1897 until her death in 1930. She commissioned lavish carved oak mantelpieces, stained-glass windows, and a grand staircase. In 1925, she deeded her residence and its contents to George Peabody University.
Obscured from view for a quarter-century by a store awning and boarded-up windows, this impressive building has been uncovered to reveal two white glazed-brick arches that rise from the sidewalk to the top of the second floor. Within the arches are two balustraded loggia with bay windows projecting from the second floor On the first floor of the Cohen building, Meyer Cohen ran a jewelry store. Mrs. Cohen enjoyed the balcony on her bedroom, fronting on Church Street.
Downtown uber developer and parking mogul, Tony Giarratana, has meticulously restored this once magnificent building to its former prominence. Mr. Giarratana along with Ryan Chapman have chosen the historic Cohen Building as the new home for Giarratana Development and Premier Parking.
Thursday, April 28, 2022
This museum is located inside the Archibald Butterfield House which was built in 1922 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's located at Fort Hill, which was a Union Civil War fort overlooking Waverly and the important railroad line.
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
"It costs less at STERCHI'S to furnish your home"
Sterchi Barns are an elusive thing. As someone who looks far and wide for advertising barns, there aren't many of these to be found, but they're not really near each other. There's this one near blountville, this one between Pulaski and fayetteville, and my favorite one north of Fayetteville. The one here is painted similarly to the previous two. During their heyday, the were the largest furniture store in America. Long out of business, their old warehouse in Knoxville has been turned into loft apartments.
The road to find this barn is a bit of an elusive thing, too. There are two old routes between Nashville and Louisville, which have been signed US31E and US31W. From there, almost all of US31E between Gallatin, TN and Scottsville, KY has been replaced by a modern smoother and straighter highway. If you'd like a slow leisurely drive that doesn't take you anywhere fast, I'd suggest you get your GPS and drive the old winding road between the two cities. This barn is a couple of miles north of Westmoreland. Before the days of US highways having numbers, back when they were called Auto Trails, this was known as the Andrew Jackson Highway, which follows a small stream through the area. This route dates back to 1911 and connected Chicago and New Orleans via Nashville.
There's one more thing that's been elusive. Sadly, that's been me taking a photo of the barn I could be happy with. The day I stumbled across this place, I noticed there was nowhere to pull over and there was just enough traffic that I couldn't just stop in the street. The same ad is painted on both sides, and I drove back and forth past it a couple of times. Then, I found on what otherwise would have been my best shot, the sun was hitting the roof is such a way to wash out any evidence of writing. I made a return visit a few months later and again I didn't get a good shot, plus the barn's owner didn't take too kindly to me taking a picture of his barn. (at least that was my impression, I didn't stay any longer to find out.) It pains me that I'll settle with the photos uploaded today, where I've picked one from each side, one from each visit.
Monday, April 25, 2022
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Located in downtown Knoxville, this railroad bridge now used by Norfolk Southern has elements dating back to the Civil War, but has been rebuilt several times.
The stone piers and approaches are the oldest element of the bridge, dating back to the 1850s. Wooden spans were completed in 1867. In 1903, wooden spans were replaced with a steel trestle. It underwent a major rebuild in 1940. A tugboat hit one of the piers in 1993 and that pier was fortified. The center span of the bridge is a Pratt through truss and the other segments are Warren deck trusses.
The original builder of the bridge was Knoxville & Charleston Railroad which chartered in 1852. In the 1870s, they became the Knoxville & Augusta Railway. In 1890, they were bought out by East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railway. Then, in 1894 they were bought out by Southern Railway.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Recently, I was driving highway TN25 west from Cross Plains, TN when I saw a historic marker for Thomas Kilgore. I saw a stone wall and a gravel driveway, so I turned around to check it out.
Text of the marker:
One hundred yards south is the grave of Thomas Kilgore, Revolutionary War veteran from North Carolina, close friend of James Robertson, and one of the earliest settlers of this area. Kilgore first visited here at age 62 in 1778 and returned in 1779 to erect an important early stockaded fort, "Kilgore's Station,” which became a point of gathering and departure for the settlers of this part of Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
This sign must have moved because the grave is about 5 yards away. The gravestone is obviously newer than 1823. Of note, Kilgore lived to the age of 108. Thankfully, someone must be maintaining this area.
Friday, April 22, 2022
This is a photo slideshow of Cheatham County, including Ashland City and Kingston Springs, highlighting the Courthouse, The Montgomery Bell Tunnel and the Bicentennial Trail converted railroad to pedestrian bridge. All photos taken by SeeMidTN.com and can be viewed in this gallery: https://seemidtn.com/gallery3/index.php?album=MidTN-Counties/cheatham-co
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
In the earliest days of cross country automobile travel, there weren't as many places to pull over and rest, so the early highway departments would add scenic stops with several parking spaces and concrete picnic tables. This would be even more important for the winding drive up a mountain, especially if it was a new or scary experience.
One of the earliest routes to ascend the Cumberland Plateau in the Monteagle area connected Sewanee at the top to Cowan down below. As the members of the Dixie Highway Association were looking for the best route to cross the plateau, they decided to reuse this early road, making improvements along the incline.
A more detailed description of this spot comes from the TDOT book Tennessee's Survey Report for Historic Highway Bridges on Page 125:
During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a growing interest nationally in scenic beautification projects along highways. These often included turnouts, or pull-offs, sometimes with small parks or picnic areas. If an impressive view existed, the turnout was called a scenic overlook. During the 1930s, beginning in 1934 in Tennessee, federal relief programs funded “Roadside Development,” “Landscaping,” and “Beautification” projects resulting in landscaping projects and a variety of roadside parks, pull-offs or turnouts, and overlooks. An example is the scenic overlook on the steep western side of Monteagle Mountain. In 1918 Franklin County issued a $300,000 bond issue for road improvements which included a joint project with the state in 1919 to improve a ten mile stretch of the Dixie Highway through the county that contained this pull-off. It is unknown if the original pull-off, which contained a sweeping 400 foot stone wall flanking a massive boulder, pre-dates the 1919 project or if it was built (or enhanced) as part of the project. In 1936 the state spent $11,190 as a National Recovery Highway Project to landscape 5.4 miles of the Cowan to Sewanee section of State Route 15 (the Dixie Highway). The 1936 project, whose plans show the location of the original stone wall, removed the older wall and erected a new wall of rubble masonry 1400 feet long, cut steps into the boulder (7” rise, 12” tread, and 30” width), and paved the parking area with macadam stone. The state also built over 900 discontiguous feet of rubble masonry walls and planted over 2100 trees and shrubbery “grouped in as natural arrangements as possible” on the project.
While the road was originally part of the Dixie Highway, and then state route TN15, eventually it became US41A/US64. (It is not US64 anymore as that route now meets I-24 and ascends Monteagle that way.) This area is right along the western edge of the Domain of the University of the South. The stone masonry that extends from the left of the boulder eventually meets up with the highway marking the western entrance of the University of the South. When you climb up the steps, you see the surface of the boulder is covered with graffiti covering graffiti. My personal favorite was "Don't fall of and die!!!" (Things dating back to the Thirties don't always have guardrails.) Even still, in the 10 minutes I was here, multiple carloads of young and old passengers stopped for family portraits.
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Monday, April 18, 2022
This is an old neon sign with the tubes removed and almost certainly repainted for a new business. This time, Rock City has nothing to do with the tourist attraction atop Lookout Mountain. In this case, Rock City is a small community along US70N in western Smith County, TN.
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Victoria is a small town in Marion County along the Valley View highway (old TN28). Queen Victoria donated a bell to the local Bethel Church and the locals showed their gratitude by naming the town after her.
This brick building was originally a Combination freight and passenger train depot for the Sequatchie Valley Railroad (and eventually NC&StL) likely dating back to the late 1860s. If you look closely, you can see the Victoria name plate above the door.
Although partially obscured by a tree, there is also a hand-painted sign for Ketner's Feed Mill - "Definite Feeds for Definite needs" - Master Mix Feeds - Custom Grinding, Mixing - Molasses. I don't know if this building was once a store, or if it was simple an advertisement for the nearby Ketner's Mill.
Today, the building is a private residence.
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Located in downtown Nashville at the prominent corner of 1st Ave. and Broadway is the Acme Farm Supply building which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Here is the history of the building, according to Wikipedia:
It was built in 1890 by J.R. Whitemore as a three-story building. The first tenants were two brothers, Frederic and William Cummins, who rented the building for their grocery store in 1890. It later housed Southern Soda Works, Continental Baking Powder Co., Ford Flour Co., and D. Byrd and Co. In 1913, it housed the Bearden Buggy Co., and a wooden elevator was added to the building to move buggies up and down. It later housed Sherman Transfer Co., Chadwell Transfer and Storage Co., and the Tennessee Wholesale Drug Co.
In 1943, it housed Acme Feed and Hatchery, known as Acme Farm Supply in 1965. The farm supply store, which sold "straw, feed, wire, tools" and more products needed on a farm, was owned by Currey L. Turner, a businessman from Nashville. His pet calf, Beautena, appeared during commercials at the Grand Ole Opry. In 1980, his son, Lester Turner Sr., bought the building. The store closed down in September 1999. The building, however, is still owned by the Turner family trust. It was for rent in 2000, but it stayed vacant until 2013.
In 2013, Tom Morales, a restaurateur and owner of TomKats, a catering company for movie sets, as well as several other businesspeople, including country music singer Alan Jackson, leased the building from the Turner family trust through MJM Real Estate Partners LLC to turn it into a restaurant/bar and country music venue. Known as Acme Feed & Seed, it opened in 2014.
Friday, April 15, 2022
"Secession is a Constitutional an(d) Inalienable Right.
We fought for that right."
Peter Turney (September 22, 1827 – October 19, 1903) was an American politician, soldier, and jurist, who served as Governor of Tennessee from 1893 to 1897. He was also a justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1870 to 1893, and served as the court's Chief Justice from 1886 to 1893. During the Civil War, Turney was colonel of the First Tennessee Regiment, one of the first Tennessee units to join the Confederate Army. As governor, Turney ended the state's controversial convict lease system and enacted other prison reform measures. His second term was marred by the 1894 gubernatorial election, which he won only after the state's Democratic-controlled legislature threw out thousands of votes for his opponent, Henry Clay Evans.
Governor Turney is buried at the Winchester City Cemetery. As a Confederate Colonel, he has a Confederate tombstone as well. There is a confederate memorial in the background with the flags. The obelisk appears to be others in the Turney family.
A few years ago, an associate challenged me to find all of the Tennessee Governor's burial sites. This is #14 in my quest, so I am finally taking it seriously. My list: SWT) William Blount 1) John Sevier 3) Willie Blount 5) William Carroll 9) James K Polk 13) William Trousdale 14) William B. Campbell 15) Andrew Johnson 17) William G. Brownlow 22) Alvin Hawkins 23) William B Bate 25) John P. Buchanan 26) Peter Turney 35) Austin Peay 36) Henry Horton 44) Ray Blanton.
See all of them here.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Sequoyah Caverns closed for good on Labor Day, 2013. If you need to read about that, look here:
The way of getting to Sequoyah Caverns is to travel along highway US11 around Valley Head, AL and then turning at a big billboard which points the way. After travelling a few hundred feet down a county road, you see this barn which reaffirms you are on your way.
The Painting of Sequoyah seen here is similar to other renderings seen at the tourist attraction.
The other side of this barn is for people leaving Sequoyah Country, and gives you the options for which way to go on US11: www.flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville/7942607164/
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Chapman highway is the old route many vacationers have taken to get to the Smoky Mountains. It follows highway US 441 from east of the Tennessee River in downtown Knoxville into Sevierville.
For the purpose of this video, we start at the I-40 exit for US 441, cross the river in downtown Knoxville, follow the highway through the suburbs and into the country. Once in Sevierville, we follow the two right turns and head part of the way to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Along the way, we see lots of kudzu, old motels, and billboards for attractions, old and new.
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
(Commentary from 2015)
2015 marks 100 years since the formation of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. As they celebrate the Centennial, they have hosted several celebrations around the state. These included a travelling roadshow museum and placing some time capsules. On July 1st, they will unveil a new Zero Mile Marker at Bicentennial Mall.
TDOT has also placed several signs commemorating the First State Road in Tennessee. With the goal to connect opposite corners of the state, the Memphis-to-Bristol Highway was born. Then, when highway numbering became common, the highway was known as State Route 1.
These days, you generally haven't seen signs for SR1. Most segments of this important road became federal highways. For instance, in LaVergne, where this sign was placed in May 2015, SR1 is also US70S and US41. Until these signs were unveiled, most modern travelers wouldn't know it was SR1, unless their map or GPS labelled it that way.
As a side note, these signs mark what is currently State Route 1. Vast segments of the original Memphis-to-Bristol Highway have been replaced by more modern highway segments that can carry more traffic at faster speeds. There is a part of me as a highway historian that wishes they would have notated all of the original two lane curvy segments, but if you tried to drive the whole thing, it might take a whole week. For example, here in LaVergne, Murfreesboro Road is the modern highway. The original segment is the Old Nashville Highway. Even still, I am thrilled that these signs are going up statewide.
Monday, April 11, 2022
The Columbia House Hotel
Pleasant Nelson, Prop.
Beverly Hilliard, Mgr.
This is one of seven small murals around the Nelson House Hotel a block north of the Columbia, TN town square. They have been painted by local mural artist Bonnie Callewaert. Three of them are visible in a parking lot next to the historic hotel and the other four are behind the building. Other than Aesthetics, I can't find any info on why or when on these.
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Big Spring Union Church, also known as Big Springs Primitive Baptist Church, is a historic church in Springdale, Claiborne County, Tennessee.
The church was built circa 1795 or 1796, and was known at first as Big Spring Meetinghouse. A Baptist church was organized at the site in 1800. During the Civil War, it served as a hospital for both Confederate and Union Army troops.
It is one of the oldest church buildings in Tennessee that is still in active use as a church. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The church is on Lone Mountain Road, off Tennessee State Route 32.
Saturday, April 9, 2022
Friday, April 8, 2022
This description was written by the Rutherford County Historical Society and taken from this page:
There was once a thriving community of mostly African-Americans located on and near the present day Stones River National Battlefield; the community was known as ‘Cemetery’. Merchants, churches, ball fields, even a school named ‘Cemetery School’ served this community.
The community once known as ‘Cemetery’ was settled shortly after the end of the Civil War, becoming home to the recently freed African Americans. More than thirty families called Cemetery home at Cemetery’s height between the 1870’s and 1932, the year the Stones River National Battlefield was created.
Former slave Sanders Malone fought for the United States as a part of the USCT – the United States Colored Troops. Mr. Malone purchased land just after the War north of the present day Stones River National Battlefield.
Edith Ann Clark Moore, only three generations away from slavery, grew up in the home across from Stones River Methodist Church. Mell Malone, Edith Ann’s grandfather, purchased the land around the turn of the century built the home.
Mell Malone, with no construction nor engineering experience, built the home in 1918 of materials from his land using self-taught engineering. Two of the three arches remain today as a testament to Mr. Malone’s engineering skills.
Granddaughter Edith Ann Clark Moore beams with pride when sharing, “He used trees off his land to build this house. He used stones from his land to build this house. He even made his own cement to build this house.”
Thursday, April 7, 2022
The Hotel Chisca was built in downtown Memphis in 1913. 100 years later when I took this photo in 2013, I believe the historic Hotel Chisca was vacant. We had a ghost painted sign and an empty scaffolding sign. Since then, it has been redeveloped into the Stay Alfred at Chisca. Since then, the sign has been repainted. When I look at Google Street View from 2018, the scaffolding said LYFE Kitchen, but it appears that restaurant is now out of business.
From 1949-56, the hotel was the home of the radio program "Red, Hot and Blue" on WHBQ. This was notable as Dewey Phillips was the first to broadcast an Elvis record on July 7, 1954. Later, Elvis's first radio interview was conducted here.
When the hotel closed in 1971, it was acquired to be the headquarters of the Church of God in Christ denomination. They abandoned the building in the late 1990s.
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
This Confederate Monument is located on the Murfreesboro town square in front of the Rutherford County Courthouse. The text of the monument reads:
In Commemoration of the valor of Confederate Soldiers who fell in the great Battle of Murfreesboro, Dec. 31, 1862, and January 2, 1863, and in minor engagements in this vicinity, this monument is erected.
Additionally, in May of 2011, the Sons of Confederate Veterans placed a Sesquicentennial Marker in front of the memorial.
Tuesday, April 5, 2022
Text of the nearby historic marker:
Hasten Poe, a veteran of the War of 1812, moved from Virginia and built a log structure on this (nearby) site in 1818. The area became known as Poe’s Cross Roads, later Daisy and in 1969 Soddy Daisy. The structure was used as a tavern and inn. On October 25, 1819, Hamilton County was formed from the southern section of Rhea County. The tavern served as Hamilton County’s first courthouse and county seat.
For more info see this article:
The replica was built in 2011. The park is located along Dayton Pike (Old US27)
Monday, April 4, 2022
This is part 3 in a SeeMidTN.com series of scenic drives around Chattanooga.
There are 3 versions of this video:
Extended with Commentary: https://youtu.be/Q5MfwUZshSY
Previous Scenic Drives around Chattanooga:
1) W Road - https://youtu.be/UoEMb9CCmCs
2) US127 down Signal Mountain - https://youtu.be/ezIBtEmIudE
This highway was completed in the early 1920s and was the most difficult stretch of the early North-South cross-county road, the Dixie Highway. Yet, it also became one of the most scenic stretches of the entire route.
In the commentary, I discuss how the road got its name, why it was difficult to build the road, how the Dixie Highway was rerouted and points of interest along the route.
Here is my playlist of all SeeMidTN.com presents videos:
Sunday, April 3, 2022
Beesley Primitive Baptist Church is a historic church near the Blackman community of Murfreesboro, TN. It was built in 1913 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
The building was built to replace an older building which was destroyed by a tornado in 1913. The first building here was built in 1805 and Mr. Beesley was the preacher. There is a cemetery to the left of the building. I found some graves over 150 years old.
For more information, read the NRHP listing here: npgallery.nps.gov/AssetDetail/c9b3f7e4-4377-4493-a8db-37a...