The Santorum Vote: Primary as Postlude
Published 03/14/2012 at 12:27 p.m. 1 Comment
I watched the returns carefully, just because I’m curious about historical resonance. Since the Civil War, East Tennessee has voted differently from the rest of the state. Even within Tennessee’s newfound red-state status are echoes of old divisions.
Cornerstone Foundation Study on Knoxville’s Potential Raises Interesting Proposals
Published 03/14/2012 at 11:43 a.m.
“Greater Knoxville: Community Research 2012” is the latest attempt by the Cornerstone Foundation, one of Knoxville’s major philanthropic organizations, to make some sense of this perpetually puzzling place. Since the 1990s, Cornerstone has conducted careful studies of metropolitan Knoxville’s wants ...
No Destination Attractions? Knoxville?
Published 03/07/2012 at 11:21 a.m. 8 Comments
Everyone’s list of what makes our hometown interesting is different. But when I heard that some folks’ lists of Knoxville’s assets have nothing much on them, I wondered if maybe they’d be interested in borrowing mine.
Some Late-Winter Desk Clearing
Published 02/29/2012 at 2:36 p.m.
Jack Neely fills us in on a London crime scene, Knoxville Gray, our almost-superlative statue, and a chronic building-naming dilemma.
Tennessee's Red-State Blues
Published 02/29/2012 at 12:24 p.m. 2 Comments
While we weren’t looking, Tennessee does seem to have become dyed in the wool as a “red state,” a state that votes Republican in presidential races every four years. For most of its history, Tennessee was never subjected to the ...
PBS Music Series 'Music Voyager' Will Land in East Tennessee in April
Published 02/29/2012 at 8:48 a.m.
East Tennessee PBS confirms that public television’s national Music Voyager travel series episodes about Tennessee, which is apparently already running in some parts of the country, will air here on Thursdays in April at 8:30 p.m.
The Lamentable Tragedy at the Washington’s Birthday Zouave Ball
Published 02/22/2012 at 12:18 p.m.
If the Zouave Grand Military Ball at Spiro’s Hall wasn’t the social event of the season, it was the liveliest thing afoot on the evening of Washington’s Birthday.
PBS Show About Knoxville Music Will Play Here... Eventually
Published 02/22/2012 at 11:06 a.m.
A PBS show partly about Knoxville music may air in several national markets weeks before we get to see it here.
Published 02/15/2012 at 12:07 p.m. 2 Comments
For years, I told people I’d been inside a Walmart only once in my life, offering my vivid memory of that huge place with the friendly greeters and an unbelievable amount of well-organized stuff. It was on Chapman Highway, on ...
The Carousel: Maybe America's Oldest Theater With a Stage in the Middle
Published 02/08/2012 at 3:41 p.m.
Last year, the University of Tennessee chose not to level Clarence Brown Theatre, as planned. Still in the UT bulldozer’s long-range sights is the Carousel Theatre, which sits separately, like Clarence Brown’s big garden shed.
Local Color: Knoxville's North Central Neighborhood
Published 02/01/2012 at 2:26 p.m.
Central Street is Knoxville’s defining axis. All addresses in the county from here to Farragut are numbered from it. Few blocks suggest its role as the spine of a metropolitan county of more than 400,000 people. It seems altogether too ...
Is Knoxville the Birthplace of the First Rock ’n’ Roll Star?
Published 02/01/2012 at 11:13 a.m. 2 Comments
Knoxville is the birthplace of Atlantic Records' first big star, who was one of the founders of rock ’n’ roll. Granville McGhee’s name is not as recognizable as that of Chuck Berry or Bo Diddley or Howlin’ Wolf—but as Stick ...
Edwin “Rocky” Wynder, 1928-2012
Published 02/01/2012 at 10:38 a.m.
Rocky Wynder’s long career linked the era of tent vaudeville and black speakeasies to a time of upscale-restaurant jazz nights in a reborn downtown. He began his career before rock ’n’ roll, and dabbled with R&B, but always favored jazz, ...
Possum Without the O
Published 01/25/2012 at 12:08 p.m. 2 Comments
I’ve been enjoying Bill Landry’s book, Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures. It chronicles the back story of the long-running WBIR series of anecdotal stories about backwoods crafts, sports, cuisine. I have only one complaint about the book. Landry spells possum ...
Gloria in Excelsis
Published 01/18/2012 at 12:41 p.m. 6 Comments
Folks have been asking me what I think of Gloria Ray, and especially whether she earns her annual compensation, which is slightly larger than that of the president of the United States.
The Stories Behind a Couple of Recent Demolitions in Bearden
Published 01/11/2012 at 11:28 a.m. 2 Comments
You can’t help but notice that the Bearden area has gotten a little flatter in recent months. Near Kroger and Starbucks, an old motel building vanished. Its name, Biltmore Court, has an odd connection to some painted words barely visible ...
University Commons vs. Cumberland Corridor
Published 01/11/2012 at 10:54 a.m.
The announcement that a major development involving the Florida-based Publix grocery chain and international retail Godzilla Walmart would be lumbering toward central Knoxville was startling news in itself. But this 211,000-square-foot development is proposed for the foot of Cumberland Avenue, ...
A Sense of Moment
Published 01/04/2012 at 12:19 p.m. 2 Comments
In history, no city’s judged just by how amused and trendy and well-fed its citizens are. If people of the future are at all interested in learning about the Knoxville of 2012, well, it probably won’t be for the tonnage ...
Eerie, Dark, and Uplifting: Hudson K at Home
Published 01/04/2012 at 12:18 p.m.
Hudson K may intimidate the weak. It’s not just that Christina Horn is an especially talented vocalist, pianist, and songwriter. Standing at her keyboards, she wields her ice-blonde persona like a stiletto, as if maybe she’d kill you if doing ...
Meet the New Boss: Mayor Madeline Rogero
Published 01/04/2012 at 12:03 p.m. 6 Comments
Knoxville is starting the new year with a new mayor, so we thought we’d ask Madeline Rogero what she has planned for the first year of her administration. Jack Neely chats with her about south-side development, city-county consolidation, and—shhhh!—Agenda 21.
Mayor Rogero's To-Do List
Published 01/04/2012 at 11:59 a.m.
Here are Mayor Rogero’s off-the-cuff thoughts on some perennial questions facing Knoxville.
Predictions for Knoxville's 2012
Published 01/04/2012 at 11:43 a.m.
For our first issue of the year, we asked a random sampling of Knoxville personalities a timely question: Do you have any predictions for Knoxville in 2012?
2011: An Ode
Published 12/28/2011 at noon
Everything sounds better if you rhyme it.
Christmas in the City, 1911
Published 12/21/2011 at 11:59 a.m.
Christmas’ days of bloody mayhem, of drunken riots and fiery explosions and destructive pranks, were mostly behind it. The Knoxville Christmas was settling down a little. Since the closing of the saloons four years ago, Christmas had become almost eerily ...
Published 12/14/2011 at 4:37 p.m. 1 Comment
Eulogies are easier to write when they’re about people you’ve met only once or twice. A limited perspective focuses the mind, challenges you to find out what you can discern from that glimpse. With someone you’ve seen and talked to ...
The Cross Mountain Mine Disaster
Published 12/07/2011 at 11:28 a.m.
Chances are only a few Knoxvillians were even awake the next morning when 92 miners reported for work before dawn to begin working with picks and mules at the Knoxville Iron Company’s Cross Mountain Mine, about 30 miles northwest of ...
Knox County’s Other University: Johnson University
Updated 12/08/2011 at 5:41 p.m. 4 Comments
Maybe you’ve never heard of Johnson University. Until early this year, it went by the name Johnson Bible College. Even by that name, it’s a mystery to most Knoxvillians, though it’s been right here for the last 118 years. It’s ...
Johnson University's Campus Allure
Published 12/07/2011 at 10:33 a.m.
Some sort of faith-based education is available in every part of the country, but something makes Johnson University distinctive: Its campus.
How Johnson Bible College Became a University
Published 12/07/2011 at 10:30 a.m.
Johnson University exists in a border territory between old mainline churches, which require ministers to acquire graduate degrees from seminaries, and some modern evangelical churches that don’t require much formal education at all.
On Lectures in Bars, Campaign Spending, and Phil and Jim
Published 11/30/2011 at 1:25 p.m. 1 Comment
The capacity crowd that turned out for the TEDx lecture night at the Square Room a couple of weeks ago was a small revelation to me. The idea that people would buy tickets to hear ideas is not a new ...
The Fractured Legacy of a Kingston Pike Novelist
Published 11/23/2011 at 11:57 a.m. 1 Comment
My first free morning after hearing about the angel’s broken arm, I strolled to the northern end of Gay Street, and Old Gray Cemetery. It’s a gorgeous place in the morning sun, its many oaks in full color.
Knoxville's First TEDx Event Attracts Eclectic Speakers
Published 11/23/2011 at 10:45 a.m.
The list of things that have never happened in Knoxville isn’t long, but last Wednesday evening’s event at the Square Room may have been one: in a nightclub setting, more than four hours of lectures on a liberal variety of ...
How Lakeshore Helped Create Bearden
Published 11/16/2011 at 3:53 p.m. 3 Comments
Some cynics suspect the mostly upscale Bearden area has been quietly trying to shake off its mental-hospital stigma for years, and is finally succeeding. But we should remember that the institution about to close has long been central to the ...
Just How Ugly Are Those Two Buildings on Walnut?
Published 11/09/2011 at 11:40 a.m. 3 Comments
Next Wednesday, the Downtown Design Review Board will be considering St. John’s Episcopal’s proposal to demolish two old brick buildings on Walnut Street, across from the library. At the initial hearing, last month, a church leader cited the expense of ...
The Revenge of Jim Dykes, Newspaperman
Published 11/09/2011 at 10:54 a.m. 4 Comments
Jim Dykes was, 20-plus year ago, the most read, most quoted, most feared newspaper columnist in East Tennessee. His column was called “Without a Paddle,” a name perfect for a Dykes effort in part because of the implied obscenity. Dykes ...
Phil Pollard, 1967-2011
Published 11/02/2011 at 2:45 p.m. 4 Comments
The fact that Phil Pollard was mortal might have seemed impossible, a week ago: Few people ever seemed quite so spontaneously, joyfully, arrogantly, irrevocably alive as Phil.
How Others See Knoxville
Published 10/26/2011 at 12:01 p.m. 6 Comments
You may get the impression that Knoxville is the stealth drone of cities, off the American radar. Hardly any city of its age and metropolitan size is so little recognized by name abroad.
Restored Minvilla Housing Wins National Award
Published 10/19/2011 at 1:42 p.m.
Locally, Minvilla Manor has long been an object of contempt, resentment, and ridicule—the city condemned the residential eyesore, long known as the Fifth Avenue Motel, in 2002, and it hasn’t been long since folks were saying it should just be ...
The Case for Saving Two Downtown Buildings
Published 10/18/2011 at 7:03 p.m. 6 Comments
It was a little startling when a demolition application came in for a couple of nice early 1920s brick buildings on Walnut Street, across from the library. It’s not a famous block, maybe, but it’s one of the last little ...
The Imaginative Pottery of C.A. Haun, Saboteur
Published 10/12/2011 at 11:29 a.m.
When I heard there was a pottery exhibit at the History Center, I wasn’t tempted away from my daily routines. But attorney Charles Fels, who’s been doing some research into one of the Civil War’s most dramatic episodes, told me ...
Knoxville Gets a CSPAN Close-Up
Published 10/12/2011 at 10:26 a.m.
A CSPAN crew was in town last week, shooting segments on East Tennessee history and literature.
The Prodigal Cane
Published 10/05/2011 at 12:11 p.m.
William Johnson was fonder of Andrew Johnson than most white people were, and had interesting memories of the White House. When President Roosevelt visited Knoxville and paraded down Gay Street in 1936, the old man hoped for a chance to ...
David Dewhirst Ramps Up Downtown Projects
Published 10/05/2011 at 10:59 a.m.
You wouldn’t think that this would necessarily be the best time to be investing in lots of real estate, but downtown developer David Dewhirst hasn’t slowed his pace with the recession. With plans to redevelop the White Lily Flour factory, ...
Same Place, Different City: Comparing Two Knoxvilles
Published 09/28/2011 at 4:46 p.m.
With the help of latter-day Knoxville photographer David Luttrell, and photographs borrowed from the Library of Congress, we thought we’d have a look at two Knoxvilles: the city 100 years ago, and the city today.
The Too-Logical Result of Our Property-Rights Totems
Published 09/28/2011 at 10:39 a.m. 6 Comments
Until last month, I’d assumed the worst-case scenario for Admiral David Glasgow Farragut’s embattled birthplace would be that the large stone marker would be off-limits to anyone but the few affluent property owners who bought property there. Now the marker’s ...
Johnny Carson Sidekick Doc Severinsen Shows Up at Knoxville Concerts
Published 09/28/2011 at 9:54 a.m. 1 Comment
Since early this year, attendees to Knoxville Symphony Orchestra events have been doing double- and triple-takes in the Tennessee Theatre when one particularly distinguished-looking gray-haired gentleman walks by in the lobby, often alone.
Broken-Arm Notes, Part 3
Published 09/21/2011 at 11:33 a.m. 1 Comment
What does it mean, when a major institution of healing qualifies as “all Vol”? Should we take care with what sort of signifying apparel we wear to the ER? Do they ever hire personnel who attended enemy colleges? Does that ...
Broken-Arm Notes, Part 2
Published 09/14/2011 at 11:55 a.m. 2 Comments
After a week of convalescence, the aftermath of a smashed forearm I have less and less interest in thinking about, I have learned a lot about myself, especially discovering the inner self who’s a connoisseur of crap TV.
Why I’m Learning To Type With My Left Hand
Published 09/07/2011 at 11:39 a.m. 6 Comments
Last Thursday morning, I took a couple of slurps of coffee and set out to ride my bicycle to work. There was nothing in the least remarkable about that. It was maybe the 2,700th time I’ve started a morning that ...
End-Of-Summer Notes: Marie Wilson, Don Paine, Gideon Fryer
Published 08/31/2011 at 3:18 p.m. 1 Comment
I hate to get things wrong, and I especially hate reporting that living people are dead. It’s worse when in fact they’re active citizens, and not even feeling poorly.