Second Rate Is Still Pretty Good. What Do You Think This Is, Chattanooga?
Published 1/2/2014 at 11:10 a.m. 1 comment
A new year, and to hell with the old one. Was it just bad luck, that year of ’13? It was the worst year for historic preservation in my reporting career, and it somehow packed a few fresh disappointments about ...
The Win: The Untold Story of 2013 Seems, Too Often, to be One of Gamesmanship
Published 12/26/2013 at 10:00 a.m. 2 comments
I’ve been reporting for about 30 years, but have never gotten as many off-the-record comments as I have in 2013. >I’ve gotten them mostly about historical-preservation issues. It was, hands down, this century’s worst year for tearing down historic buildings. ...
The Merry Xmas Store: Funmakers, Yodelers, Racy Wheels, and the Double-Brained Japanese Calligrapher of Christmas in Knoxville, 1913
Published 12/18/2013 at 11:13 a.m. 0 comments
It was a new era, both exciting and confounding, when automobiles were clattering down streets previously reserved for horses, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Some Timely Shopping Suggestions: Is It Last-Minute Yet? I Don't Think So.
Published 12/11/2013 at 11:15 a.m. 0 comments
Books are still the easiest gifts to wrap, and the most interesting to unwrap.
Two Southern Champions: A Late Appreciation of Don Paine and John Egerton
Published 12/4/2013 at 11:05 a.m. 0 comments
Knoxville will miss Don Paine. Until his death last month at age 74, he was one of the most energetic and interesting lawyers in town, and a much-beloved teacher at UT Law School.
Fort Higley, aka High Ground Park: Some Thanksgiving-Week Gratitude for a Lumpy Place in the Woods
Published 11/27/2013 at 2:17 p.m. 0 comments
So for people interested in the Civil War, thank goodness for some peculiar lumpy places in the southern woods.
Old Hospitals as Shrines: Some Reflections on Baptist Hospital, and Ida Cox
Published 11/20/2013 at 11:18 a.m. 0 comments
There are some ironies about what we preserve. Birthplaces are considered significant. Tourists can still enter the house where Shakespeare was born, 450 years ago. The houses that witnessed the first squeals of a few dozen presidents are preserved for ...
Glamorous Pajamas and Bonbons: "Lost Starlet" Helen Mundy Pops up in an Obscure James Agee Story
Published 11/13/2013 at 11:26 a.m. 1 comment
It has to do with the grand old Knoxville High School building on Fifth Avenue, which is much in the news lately. It also has to do with a rediscovered silent movie heralded this fall with a special showing at ...
Fort Sanders Hospital Deal Means to Tear Down Some More Victorian Houses
Updated 11/6/2013 at 1:04 p.m. 8 comments
There’s been no announcement, but I’m learning from multiple sources that Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is seeking to demolish four historic structures near the intersection of 18th Street and Highland Avenue.
The Verbiage of Death: Is "Died" Passing Away?
Published 10/30/2013 at 10:17 a.m. 0 comments
There’s one respect in which we’re far more overtly religious than any of our ancestors were. You can see it on the obituary pages.
The Man in Black: Jack Wiedemann, WATE's Well-Connected Early Operations Manager, is Still Watching
Published 10/23/2013 at 10:12 a.m. 2 comments
On a hillside in near-West Knoxville, just beyond a sign that spells, in oriental letters, SHANGRI-LA, is the unusual home of one of Knoxville’s most recognizable early television personalities, Mr. Jack Wiedemann.
Architectural Density: New Suburbanism is Undermining Downtown
Updated 10/22/2013 at 1:59 p.m. 1 comment
Shown in this relief, most of them make dense, interesting patterns. But compared to the others, downtown Knoxville looks scattered, like something disintegrating.
Fair Warning: Knoxville's Had at Least Two Major Expositions, One Famous One and One Influential One
Published 10/9/2013 at 10:23 a.m. 0 comments
At issue are daunting struggles to preserve the few remainders of New York’s 1964 World’s Fair, but it mentions a few other expositions as examples.
Don't Say That! Does "Values Education" Have Any Actual Value?
Published 10/2/2013 at 11:59 a.m. 0 comments
Republicans and Democrats both get pretty exercised over “values” education, what teachers are allowed to say, how things are phrased in textbooks, whether some groups are allowed to meet and when.
Sense and Sesquisensibility: Some Random Notes About 2013, as it Pertains to 1863
Published 9/25/2013 at 10:31 a.m. 0 comments
In case you’ve forgotten, it’s still the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Here it is, two months before the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Knoxville, and I’m just not feeling the spirit yet.