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


Anonymous said...

Your site is beautiful and I will share the URL with our Board of Directors and everyone else!

The cat is really a she. Her formal name is Hug A Bug but we usually just call her Huggy. She showed up on our doorstep a couple of years ago half starved. We started feeding her and a week later she brought us her four wild kittens. Unfortunately, we couldn't find homes for the kittens so they had to go to the local animal shelter. After a trip to the vet, she won't be bringing us any more kittens. She is the old courthouse welcoming committee and greets all visitors.

Darleen Trent
Assistant Archivist & Museum Director

Jaya said...

That's a good looking cat!