Comments by TomB

Written on Reading the Future of Locally Owned Bookstores :

Reading the article on my iPod Touch makes me feel guilty in someway of contributing to the loss of printed media. On the other hand people are social creatures and pixels on a screen will never replace the need for local and personal interaction.

Written on What’s Killing Our Bees?:

Hopefully native pollinators like bumblebees, moths, flies, and butterflies can take over the job. I too have noticed far fewer honey bees than in years past but quite a few bumblebees this summer.

Your comment about clovers reminds me that thanks to the quest for a perfect lawn clovers have just about disappeared from most subdivisions thanks to huge amounts of herbicide. Perhaps we are killing off their food sources at a high rate as a result.

Written on Summer’s Lease:

Whoever says UT has one of America's ugliest campus has not visited many other universities.

To pick on just a couple of others Arizona State is a sun-baked collection of monotone, Brutalist, concrete buildings interrupted by busy streets, while the University of Illinois is completely flat and mostly devoid of trees.

Why did the students who nominated their own school as one of the ugliest even enroll at UT if they thought it was so ugly?

Written on The Last Train to Knoxville:

Plus Knoxville had an extensive network of streetcars until they were replaced by buses in 1947.

It's surprising that the only Amtrak service in the whole state of TN is through Memphis, missing both Nashville and Knoxville.

Due to abandonments of sections of the former Tennessee Central it will be hard to reconstruct a through east-west service across the state.

Written on Cowan Rodgers and the End of an Era:

Sad ending to the story...I imagine Cadillac sales suffered during the Great Depression. Perhaps that weighed on him as well.

GM and Chrysler both went overboard in forcing franchises to shut down during their bankruptcy reorganizations. They made it that much tougher to buy and get service for their cars versus the Hyundai and other brands that by contrast are growing their ranks of dealers.

Written on Of Skeet Tallent, a Gold Sun Revelation, and UT Conference Center’s Tenuous Facelift:

I remember shopping at Miller's on Henley as a UT student back in the early 1980s. Didn't it have a sculpture of a globe on the east side with a small reflecting pond?

Written on Driving Tennessee's 'White Lightnin’ Trail'—is it the Real Thunder Road?:

Sounds like a fun trip. As the driver of a 1964 Studebaker I can relate to the fickleness of old cars.

When I hear a song with "Thunder Road" in it I think of the Bruce Springsteen song, not one by Robert Mitchum.

Written on So Long, Hector Qirko:

I will have to pull out my copy of the "Rock Wars" LP (from a 1980 radio contest) and play the Balboa tracks. There's a picture of the band on the back.

Written on A Fair to Remember: Knoxville’s National Conservation Exposition of 1913:

Good, well-researched article. I was familiar with the Appalachian Exposition (and its fancy AE logo) but not this later one at the same location.

The idea around a major Knoxville event focused on conservation would resurface with planning in the late 1970s for the Energy Exposition during the midst of the Carter-era energy shortages in the US. It was later renamed the more appealing Worlds Fair by its opening in 1982 and energy conservation was downplayed.

Written on Football Obsession Squeezes Fall Festivals:

What about out of town and even out of state alumni contributions to UT? When they go down I imagine that the cuts in staff that result certainly would be a blow to the Knoxville economy.

If the Vols don't do well on the field then alumni are probably not willing to donate as much so it is all interconnected.

Written on Is UT's Rock Really an Icon?:

Like you Jack I graduated in the early 1980s and do not recall anyone ever talking about "the Rock." It was just sort of there, in the background, much like a tree or sidewalk on campus.

An overlooked but iconic image of the UT campus is the footbridge that spans Cumberland across from Strong Hall with "The University of Tennessee" set into its concrete sides. For two years I walked this bridge from Clement Hall to class and other parts of campus. Various banners related to sports, protests, or clubs were hung from it.

The newer footbridge farther east which spans The Hill and the other side of Cumberland has the potential to become an icon also, especially when looking east towards the bridge as it frames downtown Knoxville in the distance.

Another iconic view was the lit-up orange letters atop Neyland Stadium at night, facing the Tennessee River, as viewed from the balcony of the Communications Building.

Volunteer Landing is certainly unique among major colleges and universities around the US.

Written on Why Newspapers Need to Survive:

It makes me wonder how journalism schools in universities across the country are preparing their students for a future...where there are no jobs?

Written on The Concrete Arch:

Who designed the ornate Clinch Avenue viaduct over Second Creek and the former L&N tracks?

Written on UT’s Impending Implosion:

The answer could be to increase the percentage of out-of-state students since they pay full fare without state subsidies.

The entrance requirements for out-of-state students in terms of ACT scores and GPA are much higher than for in-state students. UT should make the entrance requirements the same and slowly boost the total of out-of-state students by percentage to raise more revenue.

The University of Iowa currently has a student body that is some 40% out-of-state students paying full fare.

Written on A Summer Place:

Summer Place is also shown in the 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of
Knoxville (for sale at the East Tennessee History Museum) as being between
Spruce and Oxford and east of Locust.

My favorite street names though are Peed Alley or Possumtrot Alley, both just
blocks away from Summer Place according to the same set of Sanborn maps.