Knoxville, Tennessee

Day 234

     The rains came, heavy rains, with lighting, thunder and tornados. The lightning caused 8 new fires, but the rains put out most of the 40 fires already burning. Eight tornados hit the area, but not us. Actually, we slept through it. 

     With the rains ending, we still could not leave the area, so we will spend another night here on the farm. With the weather clearing, we went to Knoxville, Tennessee.

     The first white men setting foot in this area was in 1540 by an expedition led by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.

     Evidently, Tennessee is divided into 3 regions: West Tennessee, Middle Tennessee, and East Tennessee. No mention was made of this when were in West and Middle Tennessee.

     East Tennessee is the region between the Cumberland Mountains and the Smokey Mountains. Because of this geographic separation, they consider themselves separate from the rest of the State. We went to the East Tennessee Museum where we learned this area was originally part of North Carolina. 

     In 1784, North Carolina gave up this area to the Federal Government, but quickly repealed that act. The inhabitants of the area, led my Brigadier General John Sevier (who was the commander of the militia and Over Mountain Men that beat the British at the Battle of King’s Mountain), resentful of being governed by a body so far away, took advantage of this lapse to form the State of Franklin with Sevier as it’s Governor. They governed themselves in this capacity for 4 years, when political fighting in Washington terminated the State, which had applied for Statehood, and set up a separate territory called “Territory South of the River Ohio”.

     When Tennessee became a State in 1796, John Sevier was the first governor and Knoxville the capital. The state was named for the Cherokee town of Tanasi. 

     The museum had some interesting artifacts, for example, a carpet bag from the reconstruction era, day-234-knoxville-tn-9022_fotor

     and Davy Crockett’s rifle, Betsy,

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     Actually, Davy Crockett had 4 rifles, all named Betsy. This one was his first, which he bought when he was 17. He had it only 3 years when he traded it for a horse to court a girl. It turns out Davy was not too successful in love, he should have kept the rifle. 

     Not to far from here is the town of Dayton. You might recognize this town from the movie “Inherit the Wind” about the Scopes “Monkey Trial”. Did you know the trial was a publicity stunt by the town of Dayton? The ACLU was looking for a test case to challenge Tennessee’s new law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools. Dayton volunteered to have the trial and chose John Scopes to be the defendant. John was a physical education teacher that sometimes substituted as a science teacher. Top orators Clarance Darrow, for the defense, and William Jennings Bryan, for the prosecution, agreed to argue the case. Clarance Darrow actually ask the Jury to convict his client, as the ACLU wanted to appeal the case to the Tennessee Supreme Court to draw attention to the issue. Scopes was found guilty and the penalty was a $100 fine. This fine was paid by H.L. Mencken who was covering the story for the Baltimore Sun. The verdict was reversed, but the case was terminated, the point of the trial having been made, and Dayton now a tourist attraction. 

     What do the code names K-25, S-50, Y-12, and X-10 signify? Those were the names of the secret buildings in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the Manhattan project enriched uranium to fuel the atomic bomb. 

     Knoxville was the host to the World’s Fair in 1982. We visited the Sunsphere viewing tower.

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     We then had dinner at the Sunsphere restaurant. 

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4 thoughts on “Knoxville, Tennessee

  1. It is funny how when a city has a Worlds Fair that they build a tower. Have been to the one’s in San Antonio, TX and Seattle, WA. That one in Knoxville is lit up pretty cool.

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