Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cresent Bend

Knoxville, Tennessee. So far all the places that I have photographed that are included on this site are based on a list form the East Tennessee Historical Society. When I plan to go to a site, I tend to look it up on the Internet and try to get a feel for it or look for something that jars my creativity. Crescent Bend, also known as the Armstrong-Lockett House has proved to be a bit difficult.

Their web site is non-existent and it is hard to say who is running the show (I admit, I have not called the site). It is beautiful and famous, though, known for its Italian terrace gardens.

So, on a cold day dappled with warm sunlight, I traipsed over to the site. Maintenance was being done to it, so that proved to be a challenge. Also, there are so many fabulous pictures of the house and the gardens, I did not want to take the stereotypical image.

Currently, there is probably more "me" than "Crescent Bend" to the pictures and I feel like there is more to the site then I know...

Perhaps in another time and place I shall revisit it.

    • Latitude: 35.959598
    • Longitude: -83.944473
    • 2728 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee 37919
    • Drury P. Armstrong had Crescent Bend constructed in 1834. He was a merchant, a farmer, and a political figure. (1)
    • It is called Crescent Bend because of its location on the bend of the Tennessee River. (2)
    • The house is one of three houses constructed by the Armstrong family on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. (3)
    • It is also called the Armstrong-Lockett House in memory of its first and last owners who resided there. (1)
    • Twenty-nine years after it housed its first family, in 1863, Confederate General Joseph B. Kershaw used the house as his headquarters. This was during the Civil War siege of Knoxville. (1)
    • This is a traditional brick farmhouse and was the centerpiece of a 600-acre farm. (3)
  • CURRENT USAGE: Historic Site and Gardens

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sam Houston Historic Schoolhouse

Maryville, Tennessee. Sometimes I get these inklings that turn into grand photographic romances. Like an actress falling love with a co-lead, I inevitably crush on certain subjects. John Wilkes Booth was one such example, which lead to my Sic Semper Tyrannus series. It was not so much the legend or the man, but the history, the adventure, the idealism, and the destruction that overwhelmed my imagination.

Then there is Sam Houston. If you are not a Houston aficionado or from Tennessee, Texas may first come to mind. However, his formative years and young political adult life originated in Tennessee. I think I lumped this fellow in with the likes of Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone, but I was sorely wrong. Houston, it seems had quite the life. It included bouts of alcoholism, divorce, mystery, treachery, and somehow, through it all, the ability to rise to the top and over come.

So, is Houston my next arcane romance? I am a bit undecided. Intrigued, yes.

I am slowly plowing through The Raven, the 1920s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography and following his footsteps.

Maryville and the schoolhouse is the first imprint of his that I have set my camera upon.

    • Latitude: 35.796722
    • Longitude: -83.883533
    • 3650 Old Sam Houston School Road, Maryville, TN 37804
    • The schoolhouse was built in 1794 and Henry McCulloch was the first teacher. (1)
    • Sam Houston started his school here rather than taking up the family business of farming.(1)
    • He did this in 1812, when he was 19 years old to pay off either a $100 (2) or a $300 (3) debt. The debt was paid off within one semester. (2)
    • A child could attend this school for $8 per semester term when it was in Houston's hands. (1) He was paid one third of this in money, a third in corn and the other third in calico fabric. (2)
    • In 1813, he was done being a school master. He joined the military. (3)
    • This structure has also served as a church and a tenant house. (1)
    • The schoolhouse is constructed from hewn poplar logs with a seven-foot ceiling. The desks convert from the window apertures and the seats are also made from hewn lumber. (1)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Children's Museum of Oak Ridge

Oak Ridge, Tennessee. For the past three years I have had a grand romance, a romance that still makes my heart feel warm when I think about it. It is a romance with the Secret City. This World War II historic town is ever engaging and always interesting. I look for any chance to go there.

This past winter (alright, cold spring) found me exploring what is now the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge. As I climbed guiltily on the colorful playground equipment (fabulous stuff), I hoped no one would mind my quick moment of relieving childhood. I was totally happy and about to come down one of the funky slides when I noticed that a road crew working on the road just in front of me had stopped their noisy tasks and all eyes were upon me. Drat. Sheepishly, I slide down and walked away.

I have to admit I was a little unenthused with the facade of the building until I remembered that it was indeed a historic site. I looked a little closer. This was an original school during the Secret City years. It now manages to retain the style of that time period and yet is inviting as a children's museum.

As I walked the length of the building, at the end I discovered a very catchy outdoor exhibit featuring a model train rail road track and a Norfolk Southern caboose. (Though you can see this anytime, please be check with the museum to see when it is available for actual entry and exploration).

    • Latitude: 36.031956
    • Longitude: -84.267197
    • 461 West Outer Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
    • Built in the 1940s, what is now the Oak Ridge Children's Museum was then the Highland View elementary School. It was the fifth school built in the Secret City. (1)
    • It became the Children's Museum in Oak Ridge in January 1974. (2)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Old Roane County Courthouse

Kingston, Tennessee. Suddenly as I drove into the town proper of Kingston everything began to take on familiar hues. Instinctively I knew exactly where I was and where I was going. For a late afternoon, the parking lot to the Old Roane County Courthouse seemed fairly deserted, and yet the doors were open and in-taking and expelling the hot air of the day.

Inadvertently, I had not put two and two together. In planning my small journey, I had not realized that I was returning to a previous site I had already photographed. Yes, the Kingston Courthouse and the Roane County Courthouse are one and the same. Finding humor in this, I figured there must have been a reason for my return trip and pulled out my camera to re-investigate this site.

It was much the same, but lurking in the shadows of the portico, something moved. My heartbeat faster and I squinted to see what it was. For a few moments, I wondered if I should worry about my security and had I told anyone I was coming out here today?

Then two little green eyes appeared out of the gloom and erased any sense of doom I had felt. I had been scrutinized, it seemed, and found acceptable for I was greeted by a very friendly host. This beautiful (and healthy, I must say) cat did his best to lure me into the confines of the building. Ever so tempting, I knew daylight would be fleeting, and another site beckoned me (one of which I still have not found, but that is another story for another time).

Only the picture of the cat was taken during this second photographic session. The other images were from my first attempt.

    • Latitude: 35.870083
    • Longitude: -84.501479
    • 119 Court Street, Kingston, TN 37763
    • The Old Roane County Courthouse has been a site of strained emotion. The land on which the structure stands was owned by the Cherokee, and became a sore spot in the history of American settlement. The Cherokee signed an early treaty to allow these lands to become the capitol of Tennessee. For one day, Monday, September 21, 1807, indeed the first meeting of the General Assembly was held here. When the meeting adjourned, it was stated that the next meeting, the following Wednesday, would be held in Knoxville. (2)
    • During the Civil War, the structure served as a hospital for both the confederate and the union sides. Graffiti can be found on the walls written by soldiers who were hospitalized there. (1)
    • Until 1974, this was the site of the active Roane County courthouse, which then moved across the street to a new facility. At that time the older structure was deeded to the Roane County Heritage Commission.(1)
    • This combined Greek Revivalist and Federal Style antebellum courthouse features no nails. It is comprised of bricks, native lumber and was made by slaves between 1854 and 1855. The architect was Augustus Fisher and was designed by Fredrick B. Guenther (1)
  • CURRENT USAGE: Museum, Library and home of the Roane County Heritage Commission

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Oliver Springs Southern Railway Depot

Oliver Springs, Tennessee. My head buzzed with pressure from an on-coming change in the weather. When I had set out earlier in the day to photograph the Oliver Springs Southern Railway Depot, now the Oliver Springs Library and Museum, the sky was clear (as clear as a hot day summer day in Tennessee can be). Now rain threatened. As I hurried on ignoring the pain in my head, I found the depot rather easily (not so for a few other historic sites in East Tennessee).

Barely had I begun to investigate this piece of railroad history when indeed a summer shower began. I waited in my car. The rain grew harder. So balancing an umbrella and the camera, I slogged ahead.

As I traveled beyond the parking lot side of building, the other side was brimming with the color red. The contrast of this vibrant color lit up the rather bleak looking day it had become. There was a Southern Railway Caboose and a very well maintained historic firetruck. Also, a separate little ticket booth also stood its ground.

    • Latitude: 0.001895
    • Longitude: 0.002961
    • 610 Walker Ave., Oliver Springs, TN 37840
    • Moved from original site
    • Imagine being wealthy in the late 1800s. You hear about about the miraculous health benefits of mineral springs. You choose a little holiday at a luxury hotel and you get there by train, leaving from Knoxville, Tennessee. Such patronage is how the town of Oliver Springs gained a bit of affluence in the world and why the Oliver Springs Southern Railway Depot came into being. But it truly prospered from nearby coal production.
    • The last passenger train pulled through the depot in 1968.
    • In 1983 Southern Railway planned to demolish the structure. The town rallied for saving this historic remnant and eventually struck a deal with Southern Railway, provided it would be removed from the site and relocated elsewhere. In 1986, the citizens of Oliver Springs were able to have the building moved across the street.
    • This depot is a small-frame style, one story structure. It features gabbles and overhangs. Its original pressed metal shingle roof has been replaced with asphalt shingles.
  • CURRENT USAGE: Oliver Springs Library, Museum operated by the Oliver Springs Historical Society