In the 1940s, Pigeon Forge was a sedate farming community – little more than a thoroughfare for tourists traveling to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. On May 15, 1946, Douglas and Ruth Ferguson opened the Pigeon Forge Pottery and unwittingly became a catalyst in the town's transformation from a pastoral village into a popular vacation destination.
We visit the Track in Pigeon Forge about once a year. When our children were babies, we did not think the day would come for us to join the crowd hovering around Light #3, waiting for their rides. But what do you know? We were wrong. That day came faster than we thought. As soon as our kids could sit in the little train and take a ride, we made our first Track visit.
We lost a vital journalistic outlet Wednesday, when the Knoxville News Sentinel announced it was laying off the staff of Metro Pulse, the 23-year-old alternative weekly newspaper.
Most college football fans know that Georgia's Heisman Trophy-caliber running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely as an investigation about his signing autographs for pay continues. As his team faced an important SEC East Division game with Missouri in Columbia this past Saturday, many people declared the Georgia Bulldogs were in a heap of trouble. Sports fans know by now that Georgia won handily, 34-0.
Representing Pleasant View School in Sevierville, sixth grade student Robert Earl McMahan won the Southern Appalachian Spelling Bee sponsored by the Knoxville News Sentinel and went on to compete in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
If you seek handmade pottery and jewelry, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is the place for you. Also if you seek handmade dolls, knives, leather goods, quilts, baskets, clothes, rugs, and glassware. Among other things.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, October is National Eat Better, Eat Together Month. I’ve written before about the number of special months we have, covering just about every known subject. October itself has several designations, including such health-related observances as Breast Cancer Awareness, Dental Hygiene, Domestic Violence Awareness, Eye Injury Prevention and Health Literacy. All of these, and others, hold special places in many hearts and minds. Different observances imprint different people in various ways for various reasons.
On Nov. 29, 1838, David Crockett McMahan received a 4,000-acre land grant located nine miles southeast of Sevierville. A section of the property included in the grant was called Richardson's Cove, the farm originally deeded to William Richardson. Descendants of David McMahan still own parts of the land grant. In 2009, 322 acres of the original farm, now owned by brothers Jack D. McMahan and Thomas W. "Tommy" McMahan were designated a Tennessee Century Farm.
On my first visit to Gatlinburg, I was impressed with the fall decorations. My friends and I took turns sitting on hay bales in front of hotels, surrounded by pumpkins and corn stalks. I am pretty sure it was the end of August, but Gatlinburg was already decorated for fall. We loved it. If you ever wonder whether tourists notice street decor and curb appeal, wonder no more. They do. It's those of us locals who see this year in and year out and may have become numb to it.
If I could point to any one thing that is causing more and more people to think they should understand everything that anyone else says or does, I guess it would be the 24-hour news cycle available on television, radio, Internet and other accessible transmittal venues. Most all of us are aware of how things are inspected, discussed and, yes, cussed, immediately after they occur. A recent serious example is the Ferguson, Mo., episode.
I took down the Milwaukee Brewers schedule.
On page 219 of "A Strategy For Winning" I write, "I may not hit a home run every time I speak, but I'll tell you this: I will never strike out. It may be a triple; it may be a double. Every now and then it may be a single, but I guarantee I am not going to completely strike out as a speaker. My self-esteem, my attitude, my creativity, my visualization and my desire and discipline to prepare properly are not going to allow me to strike out."
Sevier County group Locust Ridge has been nominated for a GMA Dove Award, a top honor in Christian music. In the nomination, singer and guitarist Russell Allen sees an opening.
In 1799, a group of about 75 Sevier County citizens residing on the north side of the French Broad River petitioned the Tennessee General Assembly to allow the section of Sevier County to join Jefferson County.
Being a tourist teaches us so much about how we should behave when we come home to our tourist destination, especially if we are employed in the hospitality business.
I used to be what some might call a music snob. But, really, it's just that I know what I like, and I know what I don't like, and I tend keep things snug in their respective circles without second thought.
Although blind the last 19 years as editor and publisher of the Sevier County Record-Republican, Herbert O. Eckel saturated himself so thoroughly with current events through personal contacts, telephone conversations, a hired reader and Knoxville radio, that he was more aware of world and local events than journalists with good eyesight.
How does Sammy Shelor characterize the sound of his bluegrass group, Lonesome River Band? “I’ve always described it as traditional bluegrass music with a rock ’n’ roll downbeat,” said the Southwest Virginia-based banjo player.
It’s a good thing the people who send spam don’t profile us, and that what gets flooded into our email accounts doesn’t represent how we actually spend out money or our time.
Perhaps not many theme park fans muse on their visits this way: “Often the formative journeys that we take require a sense of what the ancient Greeks called kairos, which means the right time, the opportune moment which must be taken advantage of for something special to happen.”
Most readers are probably aware that Truett Cathy, founder and chairman emeritus of the highly successful Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, died this past Monday at age 93. What began in 1946 as one tiny restaurant named Dwarf Grill (later renamed Dwarf House) in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville, Ga., has grown to more than 1,800 restaurants in 40 states and Washington, D.C. Chick-fil-A has established an unparalleled record of 47 consecutive years of annual sales increases. The family-owned business reached $5 billion in sales in 2013.
In 1924, the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association tried and failed to get the Southern Appalachian Park Committee, a group studying the possibility of establishing a national park, to meet in Knoxville. The committee finally agreed to listen to the Knoxville contingent if they would meet with them in Asheville, N.C., their headquarters while exploring the Grandfather Mountain area.
The other week, we finally made it to the Bush's Beans museum, also known as Duke's Museum. Well, at least that's what Duke, the company's famous golden retriever, would like us to call it. And yes, he is still busy trying to sell the secret family recipe.
The year Jean and I married and I graduated from Murray State University, we moved to an apartment on Poplar Avenue in Memphis near Crump Stadium and fairly close to Humes High School, where I had accepted a faculty position. We were also close to a recently built coral pink facility named St. Jude Children's Hospital, later renamed St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Is Martha Whaley, 104, Sevier County’s most senior citizen?