Last Friday I went to the GSM Sustainable Tourism Townhall which the DT covered here (link...)

State Route 321 will be protected from the Loudon County line to the Park

Dr. Van West, Director, Center for Historic Preservation, MTSU did a wonderful job of defining what things can be. From a new cenus of Blount County Century Farms to using those items in our local history that might not be of um, great delight to all.

Below, in five separate posts you will find questions that were presented at the Townhall. Since you most likely could not be there, now is your chance to answer each and every one of these. Please, take the time to answer these and perhaps we can get word to Nashville about what the rest of us want. After all, there were very few people in that meeting who were not wearing suits.


What are our best heritage and natural assets to tell a 'special story' that would be of interest to a visitor?

One thing not mentioned at

One thing not mentioned at the meeting was our artists. This area has a very important and highly talented group of artists and fine craftsmen/women.

The problem is that those artists have a really hard time making the rent on buildings that are easy for tourists to get to. Their ( our ) work is homegrown yet those stores that sell cheap imports vastly out number the shops who sell local art for economic reasons.

Fine Arts Blount

I think it is really neat that FAB has located in our old library. (Known as the old Red Cross building for newbies.) They've got some beautiful stuff on display even on their website.

I'll throw out a couple nominees

You know, we actually have a gifted community historian. She should be consulted. Betty Boone Best (There was also Inez Burns, but she passed away. We could consult the book she worked on.)

Here are 2 of my nominees, although there's plenty to love and want to share about this place. Warning: all your wishes for warm fuzzies will go out the window because SOMEONE will have a problem with it.

I always loved that Alcoa (as in the Aluminum Co. of America) was one of the few places early in the 20th century that didn't discriminate on their wages. As I understand it, blacks and whites were paid the same [at least that's the story I heard]. Are there some old timers who could verify this?

Also, Maryville College had black students early in the history but was later forced to segregate. There has to be an interesting story there, although I'm ashamed to say I don't know it.

I guess I want to think we were progressive even back in the day (sorry to say there was a time when things like that would have been considered "progressive").

Here's the type of tourism these things could inspire more of: (link...)

This is deviating from topic a little, but while I'm on the subject of history... Some old timers say that the partisan choices of old Blount County families date back to the Civil War. Many of us locals have never chosen a party: We were born Republican or we were born Democrat and that was that. At least that's the way it was in my family.

Warning: all your wishes for

Warning: all your wishes for warm fuzzies will go out the window because SOMEONE will have a problem with it.

This was the very thing Dr. West was trying to make clear. Just because it is a black sheep does not mean it should be over looked.

Some folks love big pretty things, others of us like the real and the rustic. Like my favorite, the Henry Farm.

Oh yeah!!!

I LOVE the Henry Farm. (link...) I don't know why I didn't think of that one first. And it is tied not only to Blount County history, but American history. And it is down there close to Sam Houston's mom's grave (Brickmill) and I think one of his boyhood homes (Salem Road).

It was received by the Henry family as a Revolutionary War Land Grant and continuously inhabited by the same family ever since. They've done their best to keep it up, and there have been some challenges to the historic quality of the farm in recent years. There's a nasty metal building industrial-style park between it and Hwy. 411S now in full view and the Sports Complex would have really made matters worse. [You should have known I'd get back to Judge Young before too long, Randy! ;-) ]

Here's the whole list of National Register of Historic Places: (link...)

Timeline of our history

Here is a timeline of Blount County History by Inez Burns to get your creative juices flowing: (link...)

great link

Here I thought Ish creek was called that because the F sort of fell off of FISH creek.

Our best heritage is the

Our best heritage is the strong fortitude of the people who settled here. Why they settled in these remote places and their stories of survival. Our natural assets are of course the Smokey Mountains.


How can we tell that story in an entertaining way?

Walking tours

Connor Prairie outside of Indy has the most amazing walking tour related to the Underground Railroad. Blount County, thanks in large part to our Quaker heritage has this same unique story to tell. CP's version (link...) but we could do the same without the vast acreage CP has.

Same goes with grave yard tours. Yeah, I said, not everything will appeal to everyone but I have been to all these places and they are simply amazing. And each has a walking or guided tour several times a year that takes something that seems familiar and turns it into a very unique experience whether you are simply a tourist or a resident.

Hornitos, CA All Soul's Day, night walking tour of St. Catherine's Church

Marion, Ohio and the turning grave marker (link...)

Jacksonville, OR and and, oh, I just love Jacksonville, OR.


What steps can we take to maintain and cherish that heritage?




What role does our landscape play in telling our stories?

These are all great

These are all great questions to think about and give, um, thoughtful answers to (good luck!).

Can you clarify what they mean by "landscape"? Political, cultural, demographic, geographic, scenery, shrubs and trees...?

Things that impact our

Things that impact our visitors. Farms, trees, metal buildings, the lady that cleans the hotel room, the guy at the gas station check out who can't recommend a good place to eat.

So, all of that (that I

So, all of that. Got it.

Five and the kicker

How can a landscape become a sustainable foundation for economic growth and community identity?

Ok friends, as best as I can read my own handwriting, these are the questions as presented at the Townhall.

What does this have to do

What does this have to do with Judge Young and the corrupt machine? You are just changing the subject. Did someone get to you, too? Have you gone to work for the Daily Times as their blog apologist?


and now you know....

For the record- I have been trying to blog this since I walked out of that Townhall meeting on Friday. Events of the weekend have really pushed this back but now I am ready to roll.

And I just spewed enough sweet tea on my keyboard that DB should consider it payback....

Town hall forum followup

go to (link...) to find more information on the sustainable tourism town hall forums and followup. the next round of forums have been scheduled for Feb. 25-26 - the schedule is available at this site. Also, you can register for the Great Smoky Mountains Sustainable Tourism Summit on this same webpage - very reasonable registration fee for national and local experts on this topic.

Hemlock Seedlings

Why don't we gate, at least our end of the Park, give garden spades and Hemlock seedlings to the Tourists. And let them keep the shovel as they leave the Park, as long as they bring back a bag of Trail Garbage?

viva Evo Morales

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