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602 S. Gay Street
Knoxville, TN 37902
I read with pleasure George Brock Scott’s letter [“Don’t Dismiss the Old City,” April 14, 2011] about Matt Edens’ fine article about the recent history of downtown [“Fables of the Reconstruction,” March 24, 2011]. George’s shop, Old City Mercantile, was a vital anchor in the Old City during its heyday. I would always begin my Christmas shopping there, because OCM would have the most wonderful Christmas tree ornaments, as well as marvelous old-fashioned delights like real music boxes. It put me in the proper mood for the rest of my shopping and got the season off to a festive start. I still miss that shop terribly—that and the old Logos Bookstore on Cumberland Avenue. So hearing from Mr. Scott is a pleasure.
One of our principal problems is our tendency to talk about the Old City as if it were a separate place. The broad swath of Summit Hill Drive doesn’t help. It’s just about as much of a barrier as Henley Street can be between downtown and the Fort. Both need traffic calming. The Old City is part of downtown and should always be thought of in that way. If we can include it in all of our thinking about downtown, it will become part of the whole picture and should find its place in the fabric of living, working, and playing there.
I do and shall miss Matt’s column; I’ve often opened Metro Pulse at the back first, looking for his article before I read anything else. His job may be done, but his contribution to the renewal of our historic city core lives on.