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: 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 ...
Tomatoes: A Long-Avoided Appreciation
Published 07/24/2013 at 11:18 a.m.
I did not like to eat tomatoes. When they weren’t fresh, which was most of the time, they were slimy and tasteless. When they were fresh, they were so bitter they almost stung. But as a middle-aged adult, I’ve come ...
Two Spirits: A Couple of Good Reasons Not to Dread Old Age
Published 07/24/2013 at 10:44 a.m.
Some people tell me they don’t want to live long, because, oh, old age is so terrible, a time of pain, incapacity, and loss. It turns out that way for a lot of people. Nancy seemed to enjoy making old ...
Will UT's Greenwood Mural Go Into Hiding Again? Its Fate Remains Unclear
Published 07/24/2013 at 10:28 a.m.
The smell of adhesives and solvents in the University of Tennessee University Center’s ballroom marks the beginning of the next chapter in the strangest art story in Knoxville history.
A Study In Stucco: The Old City’s Modern Birthplace May Be Leaving Us
Published 07/17/2013 at 3:55 p.m.
Preservationists are having a hard time finding practical reasons to oppose the latest downtown demolition, the stucco one-story building on Central Street, near the train tracks. It’s been vacant for years and is obviously falling apart. This unassuming little building ...
Showing 'Em What We've Got: What Will 'Antiques Roadshow' Find in Knoxville This Week?
Published 07/10/2013 at 10:46 a.m.
For antique collectors, certainly, and in fact for art collectors, historians, and curators of various sorts, Antiques Roadshow is maybe just this side of the Olympics, a huge event that may be in your hometown only once in a lifetime.
City Takes Control of the McClung Warehouses
Updated 07/09/2013 at 6:17 p.m.
After years of frustrations, the city has finally taken control of the long-embattled McClung Warehouses at 517-25 W. Jackson Ave., buying them for $1.45 million. In a hastily convened conference Tuesday evening, Mayor Madeline Rogero announced the city will be ...
A Peculiar Fourth: Some Picture From Knoxville's Most Anxious July
Published 07/03/2013 at 10:25 a.m. 1 Comment
“There’s No Danger,” went a column directed at patrons of Knoxville businesses.
710 and 712 Walnut St.: Dog Ugly, or Spirited Survivors?
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m.
Knox Heritage believes these two 1920s brick buildings may be eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places because of what they are and where they are; they’re among the last remnants of a famously residential block.
St. John’s Creative History—and the Urban-Church Paradox
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m. 2 Comments
Churches occupy a unique place in the prospects of any downtown. They’re often among the most beautiful buildings in a city, and that’s certainly true of Knoxville, and in particular of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral downtown.
The Walnut Street Dilemma: Property Rights vs. Historic Preservation
Published 06/26/2013 at 3 p.m. 4 Comments
Despite a monumental effort by local preservationists and developers to address the needs of St. John’s Cathedral downtown, the church is hell-bent on demolishing two 1920s buildings to improve access to its parking lot. The disagreement has spurred misunderstandings, demonstrations ...
The Ghost Mural: Is the Strange Image on a Warehouse on West Jackson the Work of Peter Max?
Published 06/26/2013 at 11:13 a.m. 2 Comments
It might seem far-fetched that Peter Max would have a mural on an old warehouse in Knoxville, Tenn. But then again, maybe not. He was once, if briefly, a neighbor.
Pryor Brown: Can a Parking Garage Be Historic?
Published 06/18/2013 at 4:42 p.m.
Only one historic building has been demolished downtown in this century. Three more proposed demolitions of intact pre-war buildings have come to the fore in the last few days. Up this week, before the Downtown Design Review Board, is the ...
Local Music Review: Hudson K
Published 06/12/2013 at 11:42 a.m.
Hudson K’s new album, Ouroboros and the Black Dove, marks a new turn for Knoxville’s most unusual duo. (Why, they don’t even have a guitar!)
Joe Evans at the Last Chance: One or Two Pieces in the Puzzle of an Obscure Blues Duo
Published 06/12/2013 at 10:51 a.m.
In 1991, Document Records released a 20-side compilation of the 1927 and 1931 recordings of an unusual country-blues group called The Two Poor Boys. Their real names were Joe Evans and Arthur McClain.
No One Ever Reaches There: To Some Desperate Escapees 150 Years Ago, Knoxville Was Oz
Published 06/05/2013 at 12:57 p.m.
Just when you think you’ve heard all the interesting Civil War stories concerning Knoxville, here comes another.
"Draw!" The Smoky Mountain Shootist Society Brings an Entirely Different Sort of Re-Enactment to East Tennessee
Published 05/29/2013 at 1:44 p.m. 1 Comment
Once a month, a large group of armed men, and quite a few armed women, converge on a hilly area near Oak Ridge and start blasting away. They’re not survivalists (as far as we know), but rather a new sort ...
Deconstructing Ben Atchley Street: Hatter Road, and the Origins of Homberg Drive
Updated 06/04/2013 at 4:21 p.m.
Bearden’s Ben Atchley Street controversy presented me with a learning curve. I’ve been tarrying in that quarter, shopping or dining, at least a couple times a month since Lyndon Johnson was president. But even after that long acquaintance, I wasn’t ...
Turning the Corner: Is Knoxville Finally Learning How to Try?
Published 05/22/2013 at 3:23 p.m. 8 Comments
In the city I grew up in, the motto was “That’ll do.” Anybody who tried to achieve something that stood out for its quality or individuality, whether it was a building or a plate of food, was just putting on ...
Knoxville: The Unexpected Outdoors Wonderland
Published 05/15/2013 at 4 p.m.
For decades, Knoxville hailed itself as the Gateway to the Smokies. Not many cities identify themselves by wonders that are an hour’s drive away, but the practice offers obvious advantages. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t cause traffic or parking tie-ups ...
Internationally Renowned Saxophonist Greg Tardy Finds His Way Into Knoxville's Jazz Community
Published 05/15/2013 at 11:40 a.m.
He’s maybe not as familiar by sight as some of Knoxville's other jazz players, but judging by the crowds he draws around the world, and the prominent discs that have featured his saxophone, Greg Tardy is one of the most ...