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- This time on "Tennessee Crossroads," we visit an old-time, fun-time drugstore in Cross Plains, then go to an East Nashville home of real-deal pizza. We'll hit the ice with players from a women's hockey league, and visit the Falcon Rest mansion in McMinnville. Well, that's where we're heading this time. I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome to my house, and this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." There are day trips, and then there are exceptional day trips. If you're up for the latter, then maybe you oughta head to Cross Plains and a place called Thomas Drugs. Now, the pharmacy has been modernized, but the rest of the place? Well, frozen in time, just like the old-time soda fountain dishing up frozen treats for everybody. It's a timeless jewel on the main street of Cross Plains, Tennessee, a building built in 1915, now on the Register of Historic Places. It was a general store before the Thomas family owned and operated it from the 1930s to the mid-'70s. That's when Dan Green, fresh out of pharmacy school, came and bought it. - I wanted to go back to a small town. I had an opportunity to go with the hospital chains, but I decided I wanted to go back to a small town. I grew up in a small town. I just enjoyed the small-town flavor, and I wanted to find a place that I could work and I enjoy. - [Joe] Debbie Green was living 500 miles from here when, back in the '80s, she came to visit her sister, and met her future husband. - She did have us for dinner and I met Dan, and he invited me for a cherry Coke the next day, and I decided to sleep in and I didn't come for the Coke. And he called me later, he said, "So, are you coming for a cherry Coke?" And I said, "Well, I'll see you next time." So maybe that cinched it. Maybe he said, "Well, she's the first one I've invited for a cherry Coke that didn't come." So anyway, he was an eligible bachelor, and he's just a wonderful guy. And so, after I met him the second time, you know, 500 miles wasn't so far. - [Joe] Although it was indeed true love, it didn't hurt that Debbie was also a registered nurse. - I do flu shots. I can make you a milkshake or I can give you a flu shot. - [Joe] The soda fountain is a treasure in itself, not only for its authentic look and feel. They do things the old-fashioned way as well. - We don't use shake base in our milkshakes. We use real ice cream. We make 'em to order. If you want peanut butter, coffee, and chocolate in one milkshake, we can throw it all in there for you. - [Joe] Banana splits are a soda fountain favorite, too, complete with all the traditional toppings. And where else are you gonna find a real fountain-style ice cream soda? - I had a lady that comes here, and she still comes, she drives from Nashville, and she'll get two at a time, she will drink two at a time, because she can not get them anywhere else. - [Joe] For lunch, you can get salads and sandwiches, including this tower of a cheeseburger, or even one of their grilled peanut butter sandwiches. To wash it down, there's another Thomas Drugs favorite, salted lemonade. - [Debbie] It's fresh-squeezed lemon. We put simple syrup in it with some carbonated water, a little salt, and it's really a lemonade with a little zest to it. - Thank you. And that's how you make the famous Thomas Drugs salted lemonade. But if you're on a super-tight budget, there's always the hobo float, toothpick and a glass of water. - [Dan] The fountain is attracting people from all over the world or all over the country come and have lunch with us and have ice cream treats, and it's a great thing. It's a great draw. - [Debbie] And I tell my new employees when I hire them and you can ask any of 'em, I always tell them the best part of working here is the customers, because we have the customers that are looking for this, and this is Americana. They come in and their and their grandchildren wanna come here. And that's a real compliment, when you get the kids, say, if you give 'em a choice of several places and they wanna come to Thomas Drugs. Because the kids like to sit here at the bar and see how it's all done. - [Joe] After enjoying a fountain treat, you'll wanna browse the store's showcases. Many of them are as old as the building itself. - Some of the showcases that we have here came from Nashville Showcase Company in 1915. It was very, very fortunate that the fellow that was here, Burgess Thomas, he was kind of a maverick and he didn't paint everything. And there was a period of time in the 1950s that everything had to be sterile, painted white, all the shelves had to be painted white. But he said, "No, I'm not gonna do that," and thank goodness he did not do that. - [Joe] Those showcases are filled with all kinds of old and new items for sale, everything from custom sweatshirts to vintage toy reproductions that visitors get a bang out of. In the back is the part that pays the bills, the pharmacy, which serves the health needs of the entire community. - We call it when two worlds meet. We got the high-tech, we've got the computers and all the internet and Wi-Fi, and then we have the 1930s or '50s soda fountain. - [Joe] The Davises have provided part-time work for countless high school and college students from the surrounding area. Hannah Davis practically grew up here, working at the soda fountain before earning a degree in pharmacy. So if you need a prescription filled, or your tummy filled, you can do both at Thomas Drugs, a timeless store full of warm, friendly nostalgia. - We've made friends all over the world. It's just incredible. And they're very kind to us. - Did you know Americans consume about 100 acres of pizza every day? Well, no matter how you slice it, pizza is up there on the favorite food list of a lot of people. Recently, Danielle Allen went to an East Nashville restaurant with a no-nonsense owner who insists everything's PizzeReal. - Mmm! This is really good pizza! Is this Chicago pizza? New York? No, it's- - Boston. I'm from Boston. - [Danielle] Okay, while Boston isn't exactly known for its pizza, Bostonian turned Nashvillian Paul Koumanelis is. As the owner of PizzeReal, he's been dishing up East Coast-style pizzas to East Nashville patrons for 14 years. What was once an old house built from the bricks of three burned-down churches is now a family-operated business that has become an important part of the community. - Paul has been in this neighborhood for a long time, and I love that he's part of this community. So we like coming here, we meet friends that we've come here with for years and years, and have this wonderful pizza and mezethakia and all these other good things that he offers. So, yeah, it's just a great place that feels kinda like part of the neighborhood. - [Danielle] Paul moved to Tennessee from Beantown nearly 20 years ago, and like many people who come to Nashville, the road that led him here was paved with musical intentions. - I'm a bit of a songwriter, came to Nashville to do that, but figured, "Hey, I gotta eat." So I thought maybe we could open up a nice little restaurant and cook some stuff, I was pretty good with pizza, and so I thought, "Hey, I'll just do that and feed my family, and in the meantime, see what I can do with my songs." - [Danielle] Paul still composes music, and celebrates those roots by occasionally hosting live events. But you can always find art of another kind all over the walls. - [Paul] Well, these, yeah, the artwork on the wall, it was basically born of my need to fill the place up with some color. And artists need, especially local artists, need to get their works displayed. So they hang them and they put a price tag on if they want to sell them, and if they sell, then they get the money. - [Danielle] But when it's all said and done, the pizza always takes center stage. - Wow! - Enjoy. - Beautiful, thank you, Paul! - [Danielle] Paul says his pizza style stands out from the crowd. His secret? Well, it all starts with the dough. - Well, I feel like you need to have the right dough blend, I feel like you need to age stuff the right way, and when you don't age your dough properly, then it's gonna taste doughy. So you need to do all those things. You need to let things relax, and you need to, I always went for hand tossing. I mean, you start it out with a rolling pin, but then your hand toss it, and then you let it rise. And then that's what you need to do. - [Danielle] Once you make the perfect dough, then you move to the toppings, which usually involves a lot of cheese, especially with the most popular item on the menu. - [Paul] Well, my most popular one at this point, aside from a cheese and a pepperoni type of basic pizzas, which sell pretty well also, but my most popular specialty pizza is the spinaci, which I came up with with a friend of mine who was a famous child star, and we came up with it together, it ended up being real good and it sells real well too. People really like it. - [Danielle] Just like other items on the menu, the spinaci is never made from frozen ingredients, and it's always made from scratch. - [Paul] What I do is I chop my own garlic and I put that on as a base in with my sauce and some spices, and then I layer it with some freshly chopped basil, and then I top that with a layer of mozzarella cheese, and then I top that with a good, thick layer, probably triple, spinach, which has been tossed in pepper-infused olive oil, and 100% olive oil, in fact, and then I top that with another layer of mozzarella, then I do pepperoni, and then I do mushrooms, and it goes in the oven. And when it comes out, it's yummy. - [Danielle] Of course, no pizza is complete without a fabulous tomato sauce. The sauce at PizzeReal has a signature taste, and it's all thanks to what Paul learned when he was young. - My bread recipes and such, actually, those were handed, all those loaves were handed down for generations. It was a generation of Italian people that taught me how to do my pizza dough. And as far as my sauce as well, I paid attention to what they were doing rather than what everybody else was doing, and so that's why my sauce is, I believe, far and above what you get out of a commercialized can, which is what most people use. - [Danielle] Customers seem to agree. In fact, some make quite the drive to partake of their favorite pizza. - I used to live in East Nashville, moved a couple years ago to Franklin, so it's about a 30-, 45-minute drive, but this is still my favorite. I came here last week for my birthday, so we definitely make the drive for the pizza. - [Danielle] And if you haven't had the pleasure of eating at PizzeReal, there's one thing that you need to know. - That you're gonna get the best pizza you can get anywhere, period, in Nashville or anywhere else. - Thanks, Danielle, sure looks good. No doubt a lot of Tennesseeans are anxious for the Predators to get back on the ice. But our next story poses the question, "Is hockey just a game for men?" Well, the answer is a resounding no, according to Gretchen Bates, who once suited up with the Nashville Women's Hockey League, - It started back in 1999, and the women were all just playing in the men's teams, and they were like, "We'd really like to have a league of our own." - [Gretchen] As a native Canadian, Teresa Spychalski loves the ice. It's easy to see why she's one of the founding members of the Nashville Women's Ice Hockey League. What wasn't easy was getting the league off the ground. - I would go to the public skate sessions, I would just go and I'd be skating around and looking to see, "Hey, she can skate." And if she's got hockey skates, that was a bonus. So then we would totally recruit, maybe, "Hey, you know, we've got a women's league." And even nowadays people don't know about it, and this was back before social media. We had open houses where we just let everybody come and we would outfit them from head to toe with equipment, get them out there, some people had never, ever skated, and we would just give them the opportunity. And we had many that stuck with it after that, and became really good players. - [Gretchen] For those unfamiliar with women's hockey, there's just one rule that separates it from the men's game. - [Teresa] There is no contact in women's hockey. There's no checking. Everything else is the same. The same goal is to get the puck in the net. - [Gretchen] From what I saw, I'm not so sure about no contact, but at least there's no fighting, right? - No. - Eh, once in a while, once in a while, but nothing that ever draws blood, - [Camerawoman] So we can have a fight now. - Please, can we have a fight? Let's stage it! - Even though ours is "non-contact," you're still getting bumped around and you're pushing for that space on the ice. There are those tiny little battles going on everywhere. So it's a rough game. It's not ballet. - [Gretchen] Nope. And it's not figure skating, even though some have done that. - I've always skated, but I was wearing the white figure skates. But I was a little bit more Tonya Harding than Nancy Kerrigan, so maybe hockey suits me better. - [Gretchen] That's Rhonda. She's a dentist. - [Player] Get it! Look around, look around! - [Gretchen] Oh! - [Player] That's it, that's it! - [Gretchen] She's really very nice. Anyway, assaulting the competition not withstanding, the women's league welcomes everyone 15 and up. - Anyone can play, yes. We will teach them how to skate, we'll teach them how to puck handle, we'll teach them how to shoot. If they have the interest and the time, they can come out and skate with us. - [Gretchen] It's true. You don't even have to know how to skate. Just ask Penny Brink. Literally, I'd never put skates on in my life until I went to some Preds games and watched a few games, and was like, "Oh, I think I wanna do that. Never played a team sport before, might as well do that." Here I am 20 years later, still playing. - [Gretchen] Not wanting to be left out of the fun, the ladies helped me suit up. All right. I bet you guys spend just as much time getting dressed and undressed as actually on the ice. My Michigan family would be proud. - Oh, there you go! - I'm feeling good. It's go time. Woo! While several of the players have been with the league since the beginning, there are also recent arrivals. - I actually went to an Admirals game and I was like, "Wow, this is so cool." And I grew up in a football family, so I hadn't had much hockey exposure, And then I got into it when I was 17, I'm 21 now, and I just fell in love with it. - [Gretchen] Phoebe and Rachel are relatively new to the league, but they already feel right at home. - [Rachel] It's really welcoming and encouraging, whether you play in a men's league or a women's league. I play in both leagues. It's a great environment. Everybody is really fun. It's a great hobby. - I've never left feeling anything other than super encouraged and supported, and then the hockey family makes it very easy. "Come on, try this." "Here's some gear." "You need chin pads? I have extras." "This is how you lift a puck." "This is how you skate backwards." It's very accommodating to people who maybe don't know what they're doing, and whatever team you end up on typically will just take you in and get you going. It's really cool. - [Gretchen] In addition to building new friendships, these women are also building muscle. - It is a good workout. You skate for usually about an hour, like we will tonight, and if you're trying really hard, it's a really good workout. If you're putting all your effort into it, yes. - Hockey gets your heart really, really pumping, you put on a really good sweat, and it just feels empowering to be out there. And I love the smell of the ice. - When you're out there, you just kinda put all the stress that's going on, whether it's in your home life or at work, that you can just kinda set that to the side for a while and just have a little bit of fun. And the camraderie that we have with all the women in our league. One of our gals who played with us years ago is now having a baby, so we feel like we raised her, and she's now 34 years old. So just a really neat culture of women that we get to get out with every week. - When you're on the ice, you can't think about anything else, or you're gonna get hit, you're gonna make the wrong play. So you have to focus on what you're doing. And my job is stressful, I try to be a good wife, good mother, but when you're playing hockey, you just get to be a hockey player. And that's pretty awesome. - Thanks, Gretchen. You've heard of the Biltmore mansion up in North Carolina, famous for its modern conveniences. Well, modern for the time, that is. But our state is home to a mansion that's been called the Biltmore of Tennessee. Ed Jones takes us for a visit to the Falcon Rest Manor and Gardens in McMinnville. - This is the story of a mansion built ahead of its time, and the couple that saved it from destruction. Falcon Rest has been called the Biltmore of Tennessee due to its modern conveniences that were nearly unheard of when it was built in 1896. That's when a wealthy businessman named Clay Faulkner decided to build a home across the creek from his textile mill. Now, he made a promise to his wife, "I'm gonna build the best home in the region," a promise he made good on. And when the promise was delivered, it was state-of-the-art. - It had central heat and air, electric lights, pressurized running water, indoor bathroom, had refrigeration, and so that's what makes this place so unique to Tennessee history. - [Ed] That's the owner of the Falcon Rest, George McGlothin, who, in another day and time, would have made a great carnival barker. - You wanna go down there and take a picture of this middle window, and if you see a little lady with a high-necked dress and her hair in a bun, that is Darthula Sanders, the mother-in-law. She lived here. She died here. You can't get rid of that woman. - [Ed] George's wife, Charlien, nearly got rid of him for buying the once-dilapidated mansion. - I tell people, I bought this home Easter week, 1989, without my wife ever having seen it. - He came home and he told me we had bought a mansion, and I said, "What does it look like?" and he said, "Bad." - [George] And I brought her here on Easter Sunday- - [Charlien] And had me standing right here. So it literally looked like a bomb had hit it. And I said- - "You put a mortgage on my house for this?" - I thought it would take us 30 years just to restore the mansion. - Because it looked, as she said, like a bomb hit it. - Of course, we're still here 30 years later, but we've done a whole lot more than that. - [Ed] That is an understatement. When the "Crossroads" team first visited Falcon Rest, the mansion was a bed-and-breakfast, and George and Charlien had just reached an important milestone. - And by the way, we just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and we might make it, what, to 26? - I think so. We're still married here. - [Ed] Now, having reached their golden anniversary, the McGlothins are not only celebrating a successful marriage, but many improvements around the property as well. - Well, we started with the mansion, and then we went to the carriage house and we spent a couple of years restoring there. And then I think the next thing was, we did the courtyard here, and then we started with the gardens. And now a lot of these things that were put in originally are growing up and just really stunning. - [Ed] In case you haven't noticed, George is a gifted showman. And if I look any older, please don't tell me, I'd rather not know. Follow me, let's go! - [Ed] Often entertaining visitors with theatrical productions in the carriage house. - And we also have a tea room where people can come and have lunch here every day. You don't have to have reservations. And so they can tour and they can eat and they can shop. We also have Falcon Manor. Falcon Rest is the tour mansion, and Falcon Manor is the accommodations side. The mansion is only used for tours. - [Ed] Of course, most visitors do come to tour the mansion and step back in time to America's Gilded Age, like these fine folks from the Senior Activity Center in Smyrna. - We thought we'd come because we love to visit old homes, and it's one of the most interesting houses that we've visited because of all of the history and how much work they have actually put in to refurbishing the house. - [Charlien] You enter into the downstairs foyer with the original staircase there, gorgeous staircase, and solid as a rock because of the way the mansion is built. The parlor is graced with a beautiful spindle frieze all the way across the width of the room. The lavender room was Daisy's room. She was their middle daughter and she was a gifted artist. She was 16 when they moved in. Across the hallway, the blue room has got a fabulous half tester bed in it that is probably the finest we had ever seen. - [Ed] All the rooms and furnishings at Falcon Rest are exquisite, but many visitors are most impressed by a secret room with a strange name. - [George] It's called the Slopey Room. - There's a secret door that people think is the closet. What they find there is the Slopey Room. The grandchildren said they would play in this attic when they came to visit. It was an unfinished attic then. It's the big surprise when people get here. Some people say it's their favorite place in the house. We hope that doesn't hurt Mrs. Faulkner's feelings. - [Ed] I'm sure the Faulkners are just thankful that the McGlothins returned their beloved Falcon Rest to its former glory, and now share its beauty and history. - I hope that they'll take away that history is fun, and that it's about people, what made 'em unique, and strange, and odd. That's the stories that people remember. And so we hope that they'll take the fun part of Falcon Rest with them. - It's just been an adventure. There's always a new challenge and something more to make beautiful. And we get to see it through the eyes of the people who visit and who appreciate it, and enjoy it all over again. - My, how time flies. Ours is just about up, but of course, I wanna remind you of our website, tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook, of course, and please, join me right here again next week. Be lookin' for you.
July 09, 2020
Season 34 | Episode 02
This week on Tennessee Crossroads, travel back in time to Thomas Drugs on the main street of Cross Plains. Discover an East Nashville restaurant that offers East Coast style pizzas. Hit the ice with the Nashville Women's Ice Hockey League. And tour a majestic Victorian mansion known as the "Tennessee's Biltmore." Brought to you by Nashville Public Television.