Hidden Treasure? Maybe Not, but Old Market Square Buildings Yield Interesting Stuff
Published 03/05/2014 at 11:01 a.m.
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. 2 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. 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.
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 ...
Two Southern Champions: A Late Appreciation of Don Paine and John Egerton
Published 12/04/2013 at 11:05 a.m.
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.
So for people interested in the Civil War, thank goodness for some peculiar lumpy places in the southern woods.
The Civil War Battle for Knoxville
Published 11/27/2013 at 1:50 p.m.
It was 150 years ago this weekend that Gen. James “Old Pete” Longstreet ordered a desperate charge up the hill toward the most formidable earthworks in East Tennessee. The men in gray who died here likely didn’t even know it ...
Swing Time: Tennessee Sheiks Mandolinist Don Cassell Talks About Django
Published 11/26/2013 at 3:38 p.m.
There’s something rich, but also delicate and sly, about the music of the Tennessee Sheiks, like a jive fox hot-footing it lightly across a cartoon henhouse. It’s string-band music, but not bluegrass or old-time. It’s mandolinist Don Cassell’s favorite kind ...
Old Hospitals as Shrines: Some Reflections on Baptist Hospital, and Ida Cox
Published 11/20/2013 at 11:18 a.m.
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 ...
April Verch Dares to Add Singing—and Dancing—to Her Old-Time Fiddling
Published 11/13/2013 at 11:49 a.m.
April Verch played fiddle from an early age, and impressed her elders. She was still a teenager when she won the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship, and soon afterwards won another national award, a Grand Masters competition, becoming the ...
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 ...
Plans for South Waterfront Park Unveiled
Published 11/06/2013 at 9 p.m.
Almost nine years ago, Mayor Bill Haslam announced the South Knoxville Waterfront Development project. Not much of it has come to pass. But the new Suttree Landing Park will encompass five acres of waterfront. Is this the first step in ...
Fort Sanders Hospital Deal Means to Tear Down Some More Victorian Houses
Updated 11/06/2013 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.
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 Dawn of Knoxville's TV Age
Updated 11/04/2013 at 4:24 p.m. 2 Comments
Sixty years ago, Knoxville braced itself for the sudden appearance of an entirely new medium: television. The debut experienced a few technical glitches, but TV was up and running in Knoxville—creating a new industry with unusual opportunities for those who ...
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.
Local Color: East Knoxville's Magnolia Avenue
Published 10/16/2013 at 4 p.m. 1 Comment
In this edition of our ongoing series of neighborhood photo essays, Shawn Poynter explores the Magnolia Avenue corridor. Meanwhile, Jack Neely provides a short history of this eclectic, and often less-traveled part of Knoxville.
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 10/09/2013 at 10:23 a.m.
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 10/02/2013 at 11:59 a.m.
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.
Scott and Bernadette West's Bold Scruffy City Hall Raises Another Controversy on Market Square
Published 10/02/2013 at 11:40 a.m. 3 Comments
Scott and Bernadette West’s latest project, Scruffy City Hall at 32 Market Square, is an extremely unusual nightclub. But what made it controversial in recent Historic Zoning Commission meetings was a change to the building’s facade to include a recessed ...
Arrowmont’s New Century
Published 09/25/2013 at 12:41 p.m.
When people call Gatlinburg a tourist trap, the asterisk, the most notable exception, has always been Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. It’s a nationally respected school with roots dating back to the 1930s, the birthplace of several national crafts ...
Sense and Sesquisensibility: Some Random Notes About 2013, as it Pertains to 1863
Published 09/25/2013 at 10:31 a.m.
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.
Catching Up With Scott Miller
Published 09/18/2013 at 3:38 p.m.
When we caught up with Scott Miller this week, he was driving his truck to his 200-acre farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
Two Professors: A Farewell to Two Teachers I Never Knew in Class
Published 09/18/2013 at 11:40 a.m.
He was a remarkable guy, and the house at 2215 Clinch Avenue reflected its longtime resident. Fiene’s collection of offbeat relics awed visitors, but what made it unique was the fact that one visitor he allowed into the house was ...
The Mystery of the Soundproof Chamber: A Substantial Answer to a Recent Riddle
Published 09/11/2013 at 10:46 a.m.
Back in February I described a mystery on an upper floor of the Tailor Lofts project.
Downtown Knoxville's Newest Neighborhood: Jackson Avenue
Published 09/04/2013 at 3 p.m. 1 Comment
Jackson Avenue was—until a few months ago—one of downtown’s least-visited streets. Now, suddenly, it’s a blossoming neighborhood that may soon qualify as “cool.” Bolstered by new residences and businesses, plus plans for more, this new offensive on the northern edge ...
Death to James White Parkway: Stopping it in South Knoxville is Just Half the Job
Published 09/04/2013 at 11:04 a.m. 7 Comments
If we’re not going to build JWP, though, can we please dismantle most of what was intended to lead to it?
Bearden, Again: An Amateur Anthropologist Looks at Anthropologie
Published 08/28/2013 at 1:29 p.m.
At one point it seemed to be happening. After a great effort, the new greenway went in along Sutherland Avenue. It was called, officially, the Bearden Village Greenway.
Notes on the Otherworldly: Of Cinematic Ghostbusters' Knoxville Visit, and the Chili Man Called Christ
Published 08/21/2013 at 11:28 a.m.
There’s a new movie out called The Conjuring. For a spooks flick, it’s gotten very good reviews.
St. John's vs. Downtown: Bad Gardening, or Punk Art? The Demolition of the Walnut Street Buildings
Published 08/14/2013 at 10:47 a.m. 6 Comments
n late June, when preservationists chose not to take their challenge all the way to City Council, the fate of the Walnut Street buildings became, entirely, the responsibility of their owner, St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral.
A Stroll Around Author David Madden’s Wonderfully Bizarre and Mysterious Hometown
Published 08/07/2013 at 11:23 a.m.
Though he’s one of Knoxville’s best-known living authors, David Madden hasn’t been a regular on our sidewalks in half a century. His 1974 novel, 'Bijou,' an explicit coming-of-age novel with the Gay Street landmark as its hub, is arguably one ...
King of the Wild Exurbs? Another Reconsideration of Davy Crockett's "Wild Frontier"
Published 08/07/2013 at 10:50 a.m.
But we keep debunking Parker’s portrayal, anyway, because it’s fun, I guess. Nowadays, people hear Crockett never wore a coonskin cap before they ever hear that he did
A Job Downtown: They're Much Cherished. How Come They're Getting Rarer?
Published 07/31/2013 at 10:44 a.m. 2 Comments
Back in the ’80s, I took a desk job at an office park in West Knoxville as the editor of a marketing weekly. I had a baby to take care of, and bills to pay, and couldn’t afford to be ...