(More or less) True stories from an old journalist

By Mike Steely I’ve covered thousands of stories in my many years as a reporter. Some I never wrote about because the facts were too unbelievable. I’d like to share a few with you.   The Bootlegger Winked at Me I got a call one afternoon that a raid on a local bootlegger was going […]

Pittman Center is a surprise

By Mike Steely Outside of the rush and crowds of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville there’s a small community that is a breath of fresh air. Pittman Center is a surprise and an almost hidden overnight stay for a growing number of overnight renters and campers. My wife and I discovered the hidden gem while […]

Storybook Trails in state parks worth a trip

By Mike Steely My wife and I were pleasantly surprised to find a “Storybook Trail” at the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park recently and last week we drove to Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg and discovered another one in that park. There are now 17 Tennessee State Parks with Storybook Trails sponsored by the […]

Forgotten Forts in our region

By Mike Steely Our region has seen a multitude of military forts built here and there, from early settlement through the Civil War. Some have been restored, like Fort Southwest Point in Kingston and Fort Loudoun near Vonore, but some have been all but forgotten. Within an easy drive from Knoxville you can see the […]

President Andrew Johnson in the news again

By Mike Steely The name of Andrew Johnson has popped up in local and national news recently. Locally it’s the historic Andrew Johnson Building which was recently sold to BNA Associates for $6 million. That controversial sale finally concluded after years of negotiation and now leads to the Knox County School Administration offices being moved […]

Ever visit a waterfall inside a city?

By Mike Steely Ever visit a beautiful waterfall located inside a city? Noccalula Falls Park is in Gadsden, Alabama, just a few minutes off Interstate 59 and about an hour and a half south of Chattanooga. The city park’s 250 acres features a 90-foot waterfall, an aboriginal fort, an abandoned dam, a pioneer homestead, carvings […]

Readers respond to ‘What do you collect?’

By Mike Steely In a recent story in The Focus I mentioned that my wife and I collect political and promotional buttons and cups from places we’ve visited, and other things like postcards and business cards. The article drew some response when it appeared. Kathy Turpin wrote, “I read your column in The Focus. Related […]

Surprises await at David Crockett Birthplace State Park

Surprises await at David Crockett Birthplace State Park

By Mike Steely Sometimes when you visit a place you’ve been before you can still find some real surprises. When my wife and I decided to take a day away from our home in Knoxville and make a safe drive to David Crockett Birthplace State Park, just east of Greeneville, we knew the place must […]