Sunday, April 13, 2008

Coal Creek

Lake City, Tennessee. It was a Saturday and typical of this photo project, I drove right past my destination, the Lake City Coal Mine Museum. Finally, after stopping to ask directions (the local police were very helpful), I turned around and found myself at the town's community center. I went in one door and landed at a dead end. Hmmm. No museum. The screaming in my head began to get really loud. Oh, no. Not again, I thought. Why is this so hard? I am a museum person. I have a radar for finding them. Why is it so hard to locate them in Tennessee?

So, I took a breath and walked around to the front of the building. Oh, thank goodness. There it was, right where it was suppose to be. There was the sign, yet in front of the door, there was also a grill. Strange. But there seemed to be a few people inside, so in my companion and I went.

Basically, it is a one room museum. However, if you are thinking about visiting it, you may want to call in advance. It has the feel of a private collection that is in the process of needing to be cataloged and labeled. There is a proposal in the works, apparently, to create a much larger national coal mining museum.

After fifteen minutes or so, we wandered out and decided to go on the Motor Discovery Tour of the Coal Creek mine disasters. It is a fascinating history. That was challenging as well, as the tour really does not exist. It, like the museum, is holding its breath for signage and funding (sorely needed). So, we meandered and made a day of it, looking for the past, sometimes finding it, sometimes not.

    • Latitude: 36.222898
    • Longitude: -84.157441
    • 216 N. Main Street - Lake City, TN 37769
    • Coal Creek was the site for the Cold Creek Coal War of 1891 to 1892, where miners fought against the notion of coal companies using convict labor.
    • Location of the United States' third largest mining disaster - the 1902 Fraterviller Explosion.
    • Location of the 1911 Cross Mountain mine disaster.
    • Lake City Coal Miner's Museum
    • Bridges, churches and other structures along the Motor Discovery Tour.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Waverly Hills Sanatorium

Waverly Hills, Kentucky. Thousands of people have walked these corridors. Thousands of people died in these rooms. Hundreds of people walk in the darkened footsteps of the past, during the haunted hours, looking for the dead. I, too, awed by the history, the architecture and the decay, spent a cold, early spring night on the property. I listened. I looked. I communed with the past, and as certain subjects beckon me, entice me, obsess me, Waverly Hills Sanatorium caught my heart and pulled. Joining my fellow Forteans on this excursion, I soon tired of random clicks of the shutter into dark nothingness. The glare of electric strobes froze my interest even more. So after strolling on the fifth floor, I indulged my creative muse and photographed her as best I could, paying homage to my romance of what once was here.

    • Latitude: 38.130147
    • Longitude: -85.841728
    • 4400 Paralee Lane, Louisville, KY 40272
    • Waverly Hills was named such because of a small, one room school house that had been located on the property before the sanatorium was built. The school teacher there named her school that because of her love of Scott's Waverly novels. 1
    • The first tuberculous sanatorium on the property was a two-story structure that could hold between 40 and 50 patients. 1
    • The structure that still stands, was completed in 1926 and could hold around 400 patients. 1
    • Waverly Hill Sanatorium closed its doors as a tuberculous hospital in 1961. 1
    • In 1962, it became WoodHaven Medical Services, a geriatric home. 1
    • In 1980, the state closed WoodHaven. 1
    • The main hospital structure
    • The laundry (information center and gift shop)
    • The Body Chute
  • CURRENT USAGE: Private facility. Paranormal tours are available with reservations and for a fee.