Cumberland Gap Iron Furnace often overlooked

By Mike Steely Almost everyone in our nation knows of the Cumberland Gap pass, made famous by Daniel Boone, and many in our region visit the national park there. Cumberland Gap is also the name of a small Tennessee town that is surrounded on all sides by the park there. You can drive down into […]

The last days of East Towne Mall

  By Mike Steely I took my wife and grandson to East Towne Mall recently, just after the owners announced it was closing at the end of January. Belk, the only big-box store left there, had announced it is closing this month and that store was packed with shoppers taking advantage of 85% off most […]

You can’t get there from here, II

By Mike Steely If you love to get out and go driving, especially while there is still some autumn foliage, there are a few places in our region that you can go… but can’t get anywhere beyond there. Until the Foothills Parkway segment was completed from Townsend to Wears Valley that park highway was a […]

Visiting Jellico, Tennessee’s ‘First’ Town

Visiting Jellico, Tennessee’s ‘First’ Town

By Mike Steely The little town of Jellico is, in a way, the “first” town in Tennessee. That’s true in a way if you’re headed south on I-75 from the northern states. The town, which is my birth place, straddles the Kentucky border and was once the “Beer Drinking Capital of Kentucky” before neighboring Whitley […]

Do you say ‘You all’ or ‘Y’all’?

By Mike Steely I was driving back from shopping recently and saw an Allstate billboard that said “Round here it’s Y’Allstate.” That got me to thinking about how our accents have changed over the years. While we may be used to the local accents you don’t have to travel far outside Knox County to encounter […]

Knoxville’s Tom Black and ‘Tom’s Potato Chips’

By Mike Steely Cherokee Mills sits at the corner of Sutherland Avenue and South Concord next to the city’s Safety City. The old Mills building, now the home of many companies, was built in 1917 and operated as a textile mill until 1956. Recently Magnolia Cherokee Mills LP bought the 184,000 square foot building for […]

Cas Walker subject of new book, presentation

By Mike Steely Those of you too young or too new to our area may probably wonder what’s all the hubbub about that old man, Cas Walker? For those of us from this area old enough to remember black and white television and 45 rpm records, the old man  was an icon on local television […]

Visiting the forts in our area is historic fun

By Mike Steely We are so privileged in East Tennessee and Knox County to have so many historic sites surrounding us, especially the number of early forts. Within an easy day’s drive are fortifications built long before statehood and fort sites built during the Civil War. In Knoxville there’s Fort Dickerson, overlooking the city just […]

Surprising ‘Survivor’ contestant brings back memories

By Mike Steely If you are a fan, like I am, of the TV reality show “Survivor” you may want to tune in on Wednesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. to catch the new season of the popular series begin. I’m been a fan for many years. Often my sister, a long time California resident, […]

Those I-81 attractions, Part Two

By Mike Steely Interstate 81 begins where I-40 turns right and heads toward Asheville. The left lane becomes I-81 and runs all the way to the Canadian border. Our section of the highway shoots northeast through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Along the southern part of the beautiful highway are several attractions worth taking the […]

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