Following Knoxville’s unsung hero, Horace Maynard

By Mike Steely If you’ve walked in Knoxville’s Old Gray Cemetery you may have noticed a concrete bench just as you enter. The elaborate bench is part of the grave of Horace Maynard, a historic figure often overlooked in our history. Despite being the son of an abolitionist father, Maynard owned four slaves as an […]

Taking the Sunbright Loop

By Mike Steely Would you like to take a drive to someplace you’ve probably never been? Small towns in East Tennessee are often overlooked and there are several that are worth a drive. Sunbright in Morgan County is one of those places. The small town was originally called “Pine Top” and later it was known […]

Driving the Foothills Parkway to Wears Valley

By Mike Steely If you’d like to take the family on a day trip to see views of the Smoky Mountains you haven’t seen before you should consider driving the extension of the Foothills Parkway that opened last fall. Plan to take your time as the speed limit is 35 miles per hour but the […]

Finding Davy Crockett’s family

By Mike Steely Most of us know about Davy Crockett, the Tennessean born in Limestone east of Greeneville, soldier in the Indian Wars, and volunteer in the battle for Texas independence. We know he died at the Alamo and there have been movies and television series about his real and fictional life. But most of […]

Ripley’s Aquarium is more than sharks and stingrays

By Mike Steely Did I tell you we collect cups? Yep, souvenir cups from hundreds of places my wife and I have visited around the country. Cups from state and national parks, cups from commercial attractions, and cups from places like the Coke Museum in Atlanta, Macy’s in New York City, and even from Walnut […]

Touring Historic Powell Valley

By Mike Steely Powell Valley is located just south of Cumberland Mountain stretching from Wise County, Va., all the way into Eastern Tennessee along the Powell River. The name “Powell” comes from long-hunter Ambrose Powell, a member of Dr. Thomas Walker’s exploration of our region. His name was found carved into a tree. The extension […]

Chuck Swan area worth a visit

By Mike Steely You may know it as Sharps Chapel or simply the peninsula, but that huge swatch of state forest just north of Maynardville is actually the Chuck Swan Wildlife Management Area. While it is mostly abandoned now, at one time many families lived, worshiped and died there. Evidence of that prior settlement dot […]

Closing chaos

By Joe Rector Knox County Schools opened the doors once again on Thursday, February 21. For three days, students and teachers received an unofficial vacation as custodial staffs slaved away in efforts to scrub away the flu that had afflicted scores of folks. Without a doubt, many parents were incensed that schools closed. They were […]

You can’t get there from here

  By Mike Steely We’re fortunate that our area has several original structures built by early settlers. We’ve got places like the Nicholas Gibbs homestead, Blount Mansion, the Swan Pond home of the Ramsey family,  and many more. Within the Knoxville area there are also some still standing or restored small cabins of settlers worth […]

The old Pan Am gas station

By Mike Steely Are you old enough to remember those gas stations that would not only come out and fill your car’s fuel tank but also wipe your windshield or check your tires? Things have changed but there are some of those “ghost” filling stations left. A day’s drive in our area can bring you […]

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