Currently Browsing: Tennessee

America’s hometown fill-up

My dad was a mechanic. Everybody knew him, and most everybody brought him their vehicles for tune-ups, oil changes and major repairs. His shop was also a filling station, gas station, whatever it was you called them.

Old Russellville Pike

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Hometown

Before there was US11E, Russellville had a Main Street. It’s a block north of the highway, which ate up a street once called Chestnut. My family’s stores were down there, the old library/community meeting space, homes, and past the hill that rises up to the north with the other streets of the town (somebody please […]

‘Lying in our County of Green on Fall Creek’

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Hometown

Fall Creek cuts under the railroad and flows across the edge of a flat bottomed field until it disappears under a road I’ve known by more names than I can remember. Now it’s called Warrensburg Road, but I never knew it by that name as a kid running over the bubbling, hot tar surface, trying to avoid stepping on snakes stuck in the asphalt and squished flat by the daily passage of cars and trucks on their way to and from the highway.

On top of old Smoky

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series US441

Not covered with snow on this New Year’s Day, but still quite beautiful. I finally got my chance to retrace US441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was winter, and it was a holiday – but traffic was relatively light, and boy was it a great ride.

The road home

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Hometown

This is the road I lived on for nearly all of my childhood. It’s now called Warrensburg Road, presumably because it ran between Russellville and Warrensburg, a town I never knew existed until the road was named for it. That’s been fairly recently. It was called either Three Springs Road or Fall Creek Road back in the day.

Family vacation

Back before Interstate 40 followed the Pigeon River over the mountains, our annual or sometimes semi-annual trip to the beach started with a trip over a narrow, winding road over Viking Mountain in Greene County. Still known as the Asheville Highway, it is State Route 70 in Tennessee (not to be confused with US70, which crosses the mountains near the French Broad conjoined with US25E) and changes to State Route 208 in North Carolina.

Stage 2

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Hometown

When new roads are built, the old ones need names. In the case of numbered highways, the name often becomes “Old Highway Such-and-Such.” But if it’s prior to the use of numbered roads, and, say, maybe the new road is being built because the old one just isn’t working for automobiles, the old one gets a name like “Stagecoach Road,” because that’s what ran on it.

All the world’s a stage

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Hometown

In the beginning, there were animal trails, and the aboriginal peoples followed those and made their own. Then the white folk came in and drove out the original inhabitants, but kept to their trails, which eventually became roads. This used to be the main road between Greeneville and points west. You can tell because it’s called Old Stage Road.

Childhood memories

Before Morris Boulevard or even First North, an aunt and uncle and a couple cousins lived in a small house there on 11E/Main Street just east of downtown on Thompson Creek. It was a favorite stop. I played many a game of baseball there on the oblong diamond the cousins and I created in the side yard, and it was always the stop on Christmas Eve.

The Cumberland Gap

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Cumberland Gap

Here’s a look at one of the oldest roads in Tennessee and Kentucky — the one that goes through Cumberland Gap. Yes, that Cumberland Gap. The one Daniel Boone used. The Wilderness Road. Of course this is from 35 miles away, but the deep cut in the mountains is pretty clear.