Back Around: On a Saturday Afternoon, a Symphony of Old Resonances
Published 07/16/2014 at 11:31 a.m. 1 Comment
I thought about how heartened my grandmother would have been to know that hip kids are playing the ukulele again. It was all the rage when she was that age.
The Shed Helps Raise Money for Maryville's Sam Houston Statue
Published 07/16/2014 at 10:47 a.m.
This is a little more than something for trivia night: The fourth-largest city in America is named for a juvenile delinquent who did time in the Maryville jail for public drunkenness.
A Minor Sacrifice? Ramsey House Opts to Sell Part of its Side Yard
Published 07/09/2014 at 11 a.m.
I suspect Ramsey’s problem is that most people just don’t notice it. Though not remote, it’s kind of out of the way. Developing this land just for the house, if not as an interpretive center, as a park with gardens ...
Something Doing Every Minute: The Glorious Fourth, and the Tea Party of the Future
Published 07/02/2014 at 11:34 a.m.
Ask anybody, and they’ll tell you things were pretty slow and simple in the old days. It’s a majority opinion, so it must be true.
Vance Thompson’s Five Plus Six Breaks New Ground Between the Bebop Combo and the Swing Orchestra
Published 07/02/2014 at 10:25 a.m.
Vance Thompson is finding ways to get a handle on a form of music that, more than any other, resists handles.
An Afternoon in the Library: In Which Our Correspondent Has Difficulty Finding a Place to Sit Down With a Book
Published 06/25/2014 at 10:54 a.m. 3 Comments
The other day, I’d pulled out an interesting book about the Grand Ole Opry, trying to figure out something about its operation in the ’30s, and, for once, felt too dignified to sit on the floor.
The Everything Store: A Farewell to J’s Mega Mart
Published 06/18/2014 at 10:24 a.m.
There was a scare almost six years ago, and a couple of extended closings since, but this time it seems real: J’s Mega Mart is going out of business.
The Singing Mural: Marion Greenwood's Long-Concealed Masterwork in a Rare Public Display
Published 06/11/2014 at 10:55 a.m.
What’s going on this month and next at UT’s Downtown Gallery is an event without any precedent that I know of.
Too Much Flapper, Part 2: A Lost Film, and a Summer Mystery from 1928
Published 06/04/2014 at 11 a.m.
Pinkie Lee Koehn, 12-year-old aspiring actress, was missing. She’d vanished the weekend before the debut of a silent comedy, “Too Much Flapper,” a Knoxville-based film in which she’d played a small role.
Everybody Says They Want to Save the Christenberry House—But It's More Complicated Than That
Published 06/04/2014 at 10:38 a.m.
The Christenberry house at 3222 Kingston Pike is another development controversy concerning a plausibly historic old house and a probably lucrative development deal. But it’s different in several regards, upending some of the usual developer-vs.-community paradigms.
Too Much Flapper: A Lost Film and a Summer Mystery From 1928
Published 05/28/2014 at 2 p.m.
A stranger with a small mustache showed up in town with some camera equipment, touting his Hollywood connections. James Baret had shot movies of combat in the World War, and later worked with Famous Players as a cameraman and sometime ...
The Centaur of Volos
Published 05/21/2014 at 2:34 p.m.
“The Centaur Excavations at Volos” has been perplexing visitors to the main lobby at the University of Tennessee’s Hodges Library for 20 years this month.
Too Big to Save? So Long to a Whole Constellation of Historic Buildings
Published 05/14/2014 at 11:57 a.m. 1 Comment
The year 2014 is handy proof that preservationists don’t try to save everything.
Clarence Brown on World's Fair Park? Some Thoughts on One of 2014's Dilemmas
Published 05/07/2014 at 11:12 a.m. 4 Comments
I may be in a minority in that I haven’t yet developed a strong opinion about the prospect. I’m writing because I’ve found it frustrating to listen to the arguments.
The City County Container: Does it Matter That We Make Our Decisions in the Dullest Part of Town?
Published 04/30/2014 at 11:01 a.m.
In criticizing a private proposal for a county-owned downtown property, a certain influential county official recently remarked, before witnesses, that “the only businesses downtown are bail bondsmen and check-cashing services.” It wasn’t ever true, of course.
Bicyclists, Pedestrians, Motorists: Can it Ever Work?
Published 04/30/2014 at 10:09 a.m. 3 Comments
Non-motorized transportation hasn’t been this popular in downtown Knoxville since before World War II. That’s probably a good thing, but it’s also the reason for escalating friction. Motorists say bicyclists are arrogant and dangerous. Bicyclists say motorists are arrogant and ...
Knoxville's Streets: They Weren’t Always Made for Cars
Published 04/30/2014 at 10:06 a.m.
The ongoing disputes between bicyclists and car drivers opens up kind of a sticky subject, and that’s history. “These streets were made for cars,” motorists who don’t ride bicycles like to say. That assumption comes with some asterisks.
The Smiley of Smiley and the Love Dawg Turning 50
Published 04/23/2014 at 10:52 a.m.
The singer/guitarist plays crypto-Appalachian jug-band music that would not be improved with an actual jug.
Senator Kefauver's Office: Maybe it Doesn't Fit UT's Winning New Image
Updated 04/24/2014 at 9:49 a.m. 1 Comment
Maybe a shrine to a legislator who’s been dead for half a century was hard to fit into UT’s long-term mission. Still, it was interesting, for the 40-odd years it was there.
Spring Cleaning: A Few Odds and Ends, Especially About Bearden
Published 04/16/2014 at 11:08 a.m.
The removal of that fire escape was the end of an era. As a kid I was always fascinated with fire escapes, and remember learning how to lower the bottom flight.
Inside Knoxville's Sustainability Efforts
Published 04/16/2014 at 11:05 a.m.
In our annual Earth Day special, we take note of the City of Knoxville’s growing reputation for sustainability programs and policies—and ask what they all mean. Do they make a difference for the area? And what new initiatives are next? ...
Knoxville: Medium-Sized City (or Metro Area?) of Sprawl
Published 04/09/2014 at 2:21 p.m.
The latest city ranking that’s unbecoming to Knoxville, Smart Growth America’s “Measuring Sprawl” study, is at least interesting.
The Undertree: When Did Knoxville Start Rooting for the Dogwood?
Published 04/09/2014 at 11:30 a.m.
I’ve been asking around, and there are still some older folks who can remember when Knoxville was not famous for its dogwoods.
Rhythm N' Blooms Reveals the Potential of Jackson Avenue
Published 04/09/2014 at 9:54 a.m.
This year’s festival will likely be remembered for demonstrating the potential of a pretty remarkable street that we’ve overlooked for decades.
Somewhere Between Hip-Hop and Ballet, Companhia Urbana de Dança Offers a Rare Experience
Published 04/09/2014 at 9:32 a.m.
The multicultural Brazilian troupe is made up of young dancers from the slums of Rio de Janeiro, under the direction of a classically trained ballet choreographer named Sonia Destri Lie. It’s not something most American cities expect to see every ...
Shopgirl's Evidence: A Lost Movie Turns Up, With a Lost Story
Published 04/02/2014 at 10:35 a.m.
Somehow I’d never heard that one of his daughters was an actress who had a Hollywood career, albeit brief.
The Necessary: Things Downtown Needs: A Pharmacy, a Grocery—And One Public Toilet
Published 03/26/2014 at 10:27 a.m. 1 Comment
Revival has presented downtown Knoxville with a better array of bladder-filling options than anywhere I’ve ever visited, with the possible exception of New Orleans. But with that fact comes a delicate irony. Downtown still lacks public facilities.
Crossing the Tracks: An Effort to Reconnect Old Kingston Pike with Itself May Be Just Too Sensible
Published 03/19/2014 at 11:09 a.m.
Old Kingston Pike appears to end at Staub Street, where I once took piano lessons. Then the old road dissolves into what looks like a driveway along the northeastern corner of Cherokee Country Club’s golf course, but on Google Maps, ...
Rikki Hall: An Original Mind
Updated 03/13/2014 at 11:13 a.m. 7 Comments
A year ago, Metro Pulse columnist Rikki Hall was diagnosed with a particularly vicious form of brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme. After surgery and treatment at Duke University last year, he seemed to be getting better. But this year his health ...
Our Impending Architectural Crisis: It Doesn't Have to be Gruesome, as Likely as That Seems
Published 03/12/2014 at 12:26 p.m. 1 Comment
Occasionally a new building gets announced. But most of the new buildings heralded on the front page of the newspaper don’t actually get built.
Hidden Treasure? Maybe Not, but Old Market Square Buildings Yield Interesting Stuff
Published 03/05/2014 at 11:01 a.m. 1 Comment
Paul found the penny when he removed concrete from an old I-beam. It was just sitting on top, an old Indian-head penny, worn and pitted, but you can still make out the date.
Full Speed Ahead? After Decades as a Non-Hotel, the Farragut May be a Hotel Again
Published 02/26/2014 at 10:52 a.m.
Monday night, two friendly middle-aged Californians spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the East Tennessee History Center about the building diagonally across the street. The old Farragut Hotel has been a stubborn exception to downtown’s revival, emptied of the offices ...
Local Color: Fountain City
Published 02/19/2014 at 4 p.m.
In the sixth edition of our ongoing series of neighborhood photo essays, Shawn Poynter explores the colorful environs of Fountain City while Jack Neely provides a short history of this part of Knoxville that likes to set itself apart.
Snow Days and Consolidation: Why a Narrower Scope is Sometimes Better
Published 02/19/2014 at 11:10 a.m.
The recent snows brought up a perspective on an old issue that may never die, though many think it should.
A Hard Lesson: The Saga of the McClung Warehouses Comes to a Close. But What Did These Buildings Mean to Knoxville?
Published 02/12/2014 at 3 p.m. 4 Comments
The McClung Warehouses were long a conspicuous symbol of Knoxville’s booming industrial era. More recently, the buildings were a symbol of something different, the potential crown on downtown’s preservation-fueled revival. But after two horrific fires, there will be no trace ...
Safe Keeping: Downtown's Only Jeweler Keeps Its Biggest Rarity on the Floor
Published 02/12/2014 at 10:46 a.m.
Reporters don’t do a lot of jewelry shopping, even this time of year. I probably don’t need to go into why that’s the case. It’s not because of our fabled difficulty in maintaining romantic relationships. At least it’s not just ...
The Long Walk: One More Visit with the Bishop of Fort Sanders
Published 02/05/2014 at 10:17 a.m.
Professor Gideon Fryer’s black beret suggests an affinity for guerrilla campaigns. He emerges from his apartment in Fort Sanders on the last day there’s ice on the sidewalks. He pokes the ice with a long, stout, bamboo staff.
'Million Dollar Quartet' Writer Takes in Show at Tennessee Theatre
Published 01/29/2014 at 10:32 a.m.
We caught up with them at the Downtown Grill and Brewery, where he and his wife were enjoying a post-show pizza.
Published 01/29/2014 at 10:30 a.m.
We Shall Overcome,” in its final form, was the product of several evolutions over several years, and multiple contributors. On the credits to “We Shall Overcome,” Pete Seeger and Guy Carawan’s names are listed alongside each other, along with those ...
Two '50s Icons: Memories of Dugout Doug's and the Everlys, and an Idea to Preserve the Carousel Theatre
Published 01/29/2014 at 10:04 a.m.
I heard from a few folks concerning the Everly Brothers eulogy and the not-forgotten Cumberland Avenue record store known as the Campus Record Shop, aka Dugout Doug’s, where the Everlys first encountered Bo Diddley’s rock ’n’ roll.
Piggy and His Pals: An Afternoon's Investigation Into a Winter Mystery at Union Ave Books
Published 01/23/2014 at 10:08 a.m. 1 Comment
It was on the stationery of Dr. John Quincy Adams West, a well-known local intestinal specialist who had studied in Europe. The address on the letterhead was 712 Walnut St., where Dr. West practiced for years.
The Southern Vortex: Weather, Food, and More Reasons to Question Our Identity
Published 01/15/2014 at 10:37 a.m.
There are times, like last Monday night, when I was laying a fire because it was 2 degrees outside and the power was out, that can strain your lifelong faith that the North and the South are different places, with ...
The Everlys at Dugout Doug's: Don, Phil, and the Importance of Cumberland Avenue
Published 01/08/2014 at 10:47 a.m.
Yes, they were here for just two years. But some two years make all the difference.
Second Rate Is Still Pretty Good. What Do You Think This Is, Chattanooga?
Published 01/02/2014 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 a.m. 3 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.
It was a new era, both exciting and confounding, when automobiles were clattering down streets previously reserved for horses, bicycles, and pedestrians.
Sounds Great: The Lakeshore Park Master Plan Offers Little to Object to, but Awaits Funding
Published 12/18/2013 at 10:43 a.m. 1 Comment
Monday evening at Deane Hill Recreation Center, the city rolled out a blue-sky master plan for Lakeshore Park. Considering it’s almost 200 acres at the high-profile corner of Lyons View and Northshore, there was a good deal of interest, even ...
Some Timely Shopping Suggestions: Is It Last-Minute Yet? I Don't Think So.
Published 12/11/2013 at 11:15 a.m.
Books are still the easiest gifts to wrap, and the most interesting to unwrap.
The World's Fair Park Working Group Meets Again with More Ideas for the South Lawn
Published 12/11/2013 at 11:03 a.m. 1 Comment
Not really a problem, and a popular place for a few festivals and Frisbee-chasing dogs, the South Lawn (located right between the constantly building university and the rapidly reviving downtown) has been envied by several planners of Big Projects since ...
Circle Modern Dance's Annual Holiday Showcase Leans Toward the Unforgettable
Published 12/11/2013 at 10:57 a.m.
Circle Modern Dance rarely needs publicity for its annual Modern Dance Primitive Light show. Most Decembers, they pack the Laurel Theater for the multiple evenings of Knoxville’s most-anticipated modern-dance event, which is always very different from the year before, and ...