Traveling historic Norris Freeway

By Mike Steely The highway runs from Rocky Top (Lake City) to Halls Crossroads and, among other landmarks, crosses TVA’s Norris Dam, the agency’s first hydro-electric producer. But Norris Freeway is more than just a road that did not exist before the 1930s and much more than just an access way to the dam. Bet […]

What do you collect?

By Mike Steely For more than 50 years my wife and I have been collecting things. As a reporter and an advertising representative we’ve moved around a lot, visited every state except Alaska, and we’ve collected mementos of places such as cups, photos, postcards and buttons. Not sewing buttons but buttons from places, events, slogans […]

Have you seen that thingamajig?

By Mike Steely We’ve been doing a lot of home repairing and upgrading while cocooning during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve ventured out to get groceries and to buy items like paint, tile, etc. During these days some hardware stores have shown a big profit from fixer-uppers like us. While shopping for home items recently I […]

Local Wreaths Across America needs your donations

By Mike Steely We’re fortunate in Knox County to have three veteran cemeteries. On Saturday, December 19, all three hallowed burial grounds should be totally decorated with wreaths from the local “Wreaths Across America” but there’s a problem. Donations to purchase the wreaths is lagging behind. Chris Albrecht, Wreath Program Ambassador, is urgently asking for […]

Interested in strange places in East Tennessee?

By Mike Steely I was going through my photo files recently and ran across several photos of unusual places in our region. With the COVID-19 pandemic clustering many families inside except for needed food shopping I thought I’d share some of the places with you You can easily drive to most of the strange places […]

Pondering Appalachian words

Pondering Appalachian words

By Mike Steely Appalachia is a curious place to many people with its own language of sorts. Being somewhat isolated from the rest of the nation mostly because of topography the region’s dialect developed somewhat unchanged among the Scotch-Irish settlers. You don’t have to travel very far out of Knoxville to hear words that “harking […]

Let’s go hiking at Norris Dam, Part Two

By Mike Steely Norris Dam, the first project of the Tennessee Valley Administration, has a large number of trails and walking paths not only inside the large state park but also along its perimeters. The paths and trails offer a wide variety of difficulties, from Wheelchair Accessible to very hard. If you’re headed to the […]

Let’s go hiking at Norris Dam, part one

By Mike Steely Norris Dam State Park may be a favorite of Knox County residents as it’s nearby—only a short drive up Norris Freeway—and has lots of interesting things to do. The park offers unique places to visit, camping at two sites, rental cabins, the historic first TVA dam in history, a visitor center, museum, […]

Plenty to see at Rock Island

By Mike Steely If you’ve never been to Rock Island State Park, you’ve missed a very different park that has just about everything you’d expect plus some very special sites. Rock Island is located between Cookeville and McMinnville in the mountains along the Caney Fork and Collins Rivers. It’s best reached west of Knoxville off […]