A ‘Staycation’ at Blount Mansion

By Mike Steely We’ve had a weird winter and it seems it is ice and snow every other week with very little sun and warmth in between. It’s a good time to take a day away from the house and get downtown to visit some of the city’s by-gone days. There are lots of things […]

A Day Away: Arlington Mansion

By Mike Steely If you’ve ever been to the Arlington National Cemetery, located just across the river from our nation’s capital, I’ll bet you didn’t know the history of the large white mansion on top of the hill. It overlooks downtown Washington and is almost surrounded by graves of our nation’s military veterans. If you […]

A Day Away: Visiting Kefauver

By Mike Steely At first you might think that Madisonville, Tn. is just your typical little county seat. With it’s historic courthouse in the center of town, surrounded by shops and attorney offices, it might be any other small southern town. But it isn’t.   People have lived in Madisonville for hundreds of years. Some […]

A Day Away: Old theatre reveals keep-sakes

By Mike Steely Last week’s huge Ninth Annual Advertising Auction at Fountain City Auction inspired me to go dig out some old promotional buttons or pins I found years ago in an abandoned theater. The place is long gone now, but back 30 years or so the building was still there and was used as […]

Niota, where one vote counts

By Mike Steely Niota, Tennessee, is one of those places that isn’t on an interstate, although it’s just a few miles east of I-75 between Sweetwater and Athens. It’s one of those places with one stop light and the old downtown is actually almost empty and a couple blocks off the main road. Niota is […]

Being Lincolns

By Mike Steely steelym@knoxfocus.com A suggestion from his grandson prompted Thomas Wright to become Abraham Lincoln. Or at least take on the Lincoln character. And now the Oak Ridge man, who is a facility supervisor for an engineering and construction company, portrays Mr. Lincoln at special events, in schools, and just about anywhere he’s asked. […]

A Day Away: Savannah is a time trip

By Mike Steely A day away drive from Knoxville, granted it’s an 8 or 9 hour drive, gets you to Savannah, Georgia. It’s a trip worth the drive. It’s rare to see a southern city that survived the Civil War, yet there is Savannah in all its glory. Savannah was one of American’s first “planned” […]

A Day Away: Tennessee’s Second Governor

By Mike Steely How does history treat you when you are second at something? Poor Archibald Roane, Tennessee’s second governor, might be able to tell you. Who can follow up John Sevier? Roane could, but he only with one term. Sevier had been elected and reelected and could not run for a 4th term when […]

A Day Away: Pikeville, Tennessee: Rest in Pieces

By Mike Steely John Murrell died a young man but in his brief lifetime he had ventured across Tennessee and Kentucky and raised a lot of fear, murdered a few folks, stolen from many others, and left his stamp on our history and legends. Murrell was born about 1806, some say in Virginia and some […]

A Day Away: Knoxville’s Presidential Streets

By Mike Steely Seems Jimmy Carter can’t get much respect, doesn’t it? Although the peanut farmer and nuclear scientist from Georgia is one of the presidents of our nation to get a street named for him in our fair city, the street is only a couple of blocks long and, with the construction there, the […]

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