A Day in Monroe County

By Mike Steely Monroe County is known for many things. There’s Estes Kefauver’s home and grave, Fort Loudoun, Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Tellico Blockhouse, Lake Tellico and Hiwassee College.  There’s also Bald River Falls, the Cherohala Skyway drive, Coker Creek, Tellico Plains, Sweetwater’s Duck Pond and antique stores, and the nearby Sweetwater Valley Farms with its […]


By Mike Steely steelym@knoxfocus.com Why are Knox County and East Tennessee so “Sevier?” The region can boast  Sevier neighborhoods, Sevierville Highway, the Sevier Homestead, Sevier County, various Sevier Avenues and Streets, Sevier Heights, and Sevier Fuels, just to name a few. You’d think the person that these Sevier places are named for must have signed […]

A Day Away: The Real ‘Walton’s Mountain’

By Mike Steely If you are a fan of The Waltons you may know that Ralph Waite, who played the father in the beloved series, died this past February at the age of 85. Before his long career in acting, Ralph Waite was a WWII Marine veteran, got a Master’s Degree from Yale, and was […]

Our Neighborhoods: Washington Pike

By Mike Steely steelym@knoxfocus.com Two routes are main arteries to the North Knox County region: one a main highway and one a local byway with a connection to history. One is Rutledge Pike, which shoots off of Magnolia and runs as Highway 11W through upper East Tennessee all the way to Bristol. The other, Washington […]

A Day Away: Watching Fireflies

By Mike Steely If you are lucky enough to get tickets to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s June  Synchronous Fireflies event you may find several surprises. Like most things in the Great Smoky Mountains the waiting lines are long, the expectations high, but the price is right. If you can get tickets! My wife […]

TVA Camping is a surprise

By Mike Steely Let’s take a mini-vacation locally this year. Take a long weekend or a week’s vacation, get the kids excited, and let’s go camping. There are so many commercial and public campgrounds in our area from which to choose, not even counting the Smokey Mountains. There are Tennessee State Parks here and there […]

A Day Away: Those Drive-In Theaters

By Mike Steely I don’t know about you, but when I was a teen and had the use of the family car I often went to a drive-in theater, either with a bunch of other teens or with a date. Taking a date was my preference but it was seldom that a date would opt […]

A Day Away: Warm Springs, Georgia

By Mike Steely It’s not what you would expect. The complex is large, the museum extensive, and the grounds well kept, but the house is much smaller than even I imagined it would be. I’m talking about the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia, the retreat of our longest serving president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. […]

A Day Away: The Great Locomotive Chase

By Mike Steely Civilian James Andrews was born in what is now West Virginia. He became a merchant in Kentucky and was recruited by the Union Army. He operated along the Tennessee-Kentucky border as an agent, trader, and intelligence spy. It was 1862 and the Union and Confederate forces were battling it out in Chattanooga, […]

Soldier names at Cumberland Gap

By Mike Steely If Knoxville was the goal to capturing East Tennessee during the Civil War, then the Cumberland Gap was the doorway. The historic pass was occupied four times, twice by each side. While no major battle took place, there were many skirmishes around the area with the aim to take or protect the […]