By Ralphine Major
His answer was always the same: “Harbison’s Crossroads,” our father would answer when anyone asked where we lived. I thought it sounded quaint. Corryton, it seemed, would be a better answer. For years, there was a four-way stop in the rural community where Emory Road crosses Tazewell Pike. Today, motorists are met with a red light, turn lanes, and even a section of highway marked for bicycle riders.
Two-lane Tazewell Pike takes travelers through the gap on the way to the crossroads. Even for those who call Harbison’s home, it can still be a lengthy drive from Knoxville. For first-time visitors, the scenic route with ridges in the distance must seem really long. I often wondered what the teachers thought who came to our school all the way from Knoxville. After all, Gibbs is a short distance on past the crossroads. Years later, one educator told me he thought he was driving to the end of the earth!
For many years, hayfields and homes could be seen all the way to Harbison’s Crossroads. Today, businesses are on every corner of the crossroads—stores, restaurants, gas stations, and a bank. The rural community certainly looks more commercial with the boost in businesses. I sometimes wonder what our father would think of the way the area has changed. I often think of him whenever anyone asks me where I am from. I say, “Harbison’s Crossroads.” I think it sounds quaint.