- This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we visit a new Tennessee State Museum exhibit that explores our state's role in women's right to vote. Then travel to Columbia and a restaurant with a menu you have to see to believe. We'll drop in on a rustic furniture builder in Nashville, and finally discover a version of guitar heaven down in Chattanooga. Hi everyone, I'm Joe Elmore. That's what's in store for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. 100 years ago Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making women's right to vote legal in the entire country. Well, Laura Faber takes us to a special exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum where we discover the decision came down to a letter from a state lawmaker's mother. - [Laura] For centuries, Tennessee women have fought for change in their communities and expressed their political views, inspiring stories of famous women and everyday women, too. One of the best stories of all is being told in the Tennessee State Museum: the story of Tennessee's role in women securing the right to vote. - The exhibits tend to be based around great stories, and this one you just don't get a much better story. - [Laura] The exhibit is called Ratified: Tennessee Women and the Right to Vote. Miranda Fraley Rhodes, Assistant Chief Curator for the Tennessee State Museum says her team wanted the exhibit to coincide with the centennial celebration of the historic ratification of the 19th Amendment. It gave women the right to vote, sit on juries, and run for office across the country. Using historic suffrage clips, as well as clips from WNPT's documentary called By One Vote, the museum displays artifacts that explore the women's suffrage movement, the experience of African American women, the organization of the anti-suffrage movement, and even the role of fashion. Daria Smith, graphic designer of exhibitions for the museum says a great deal of thought was put into how the exhibit was designed. Everything from the flow of how you move through its 8000 square feet, to the modern font on the graphics and text. - I think two key words that we wanted to use was presence and modernity. We really wanted this to be relatable to now. We didn't want it to feel like it was outdated because there's still a lot of women's rights activities that are going on to this day, voting rights that are going on to this day, so we really wanted to stay relevant. We wanted to inspire people to go out and vote because this is what a lot of women fought for. And it was also about presence and making the women big, making them feel like they were here with us, encouraging us to go out and do what we wanted to do, which is vote. - [Laura] So is that why the photos are so big? - [Daria] Yes, that's why they're larger than life. We really wanted them to come alive with color. And a lot of these old images are black and white, so we wanted to use pops of color to make sure that people were attracted to going to see them. And we have lots of cut out portraits, just to make sure that they are the focal point of what you see. - [Laura] You will see many things from the museum's permanent collection, like suffrage banners and costumes from that time. What is clear, how important women saw the right to vote a century ago. - [Miranda] The realities of women's lives 100 years ago, there were some significant differences. In the late 1800s when the suffrage movement started really getting going in the state, not only could women not vote, married women did not have rights to their own property, they did not have an equal share in their children, professions were closed to women. Women really faced a lot of legal disabilities. - [Laura] And though this was a time of racial segregation, Tennessee had some instances of interracial cooperation within suffrages. The exhibit reveals how women hoped voting rights would be a tool to improve their life. Some might be surprised to know that Tennessee was the deciding factor into whether the amendment would be passed. 100 years ago there was so much legal drama and maneuvering, and it was unclear whether lawmakers could even vote on it. The US Supreme Court got involved and the governor called a special session. 35 states had already ratified the 19th Amendment. Just one more state was needed for it to become law. Tennessee became the final battleground. The conflict was heated, the Tennessee House of Representatives deeply divided, and the crucial vote came down to Harry Burn from McMinn County. He changed his vote after reading a letter from his mother encouraging him to vote yes, and she wrote, "Don't forget to be a good boy". Burn voted for ratification. You know, of course the 19th Amendment gave some women the right to vote, not all women. That took a little bit longer and the exhibit clearly does not shy away from that. - [Miranda] Yes, we thought was really important. It's like the 19th Amendment is such a great step towards political rights for women, but it was just a beginning rather than an ultimate solution. It did not provide voting rights for Asian American women or Native American women, and African American women faced many barriers to voting, things like poll taxes, and in general discrimination and racial violence. - [Laura] It was a movement told by not one singular suffrage story, but several. - My favorite image of all time is the image of Willie Cooper. She is a substitute teacher and she's an African American woman and she's dressed in this really cool dress with a fancy, fancy hat, and it's, for me as an African American woman, it's really cool to see women represented not in slavery or as maids or sharecroppers or something, that she's in a position of some power. It might not be a lot, but it is a lot for her time, and she's super fancy and super dressed up and we have a lot of images like that throughout the exhibit and it's really inspiring as a minority. - One of my favorite things is a sampler. And this is a piece of needlework and it's in our first area of the exhibit. And that area really talks about how women were acting politically in Tennessee even before they had the right to vote. And the young woman who made this sampler, she has a political verse in there about a campaign between a Democratic candidate and a Whig candidate. And this is long before women had the right to vote, but it was very clear that she was paying attention to what was going on and that women really were engaged in public life. - [Laura] Curators of this exhibit hope it inspires people to vote and pay attention to our country. They hope it proves history is fun and because this state played such an important role in giving women the federal voting right, it's something Tennesseans today can be proud of. - Thanks Laura. When we go to a restaurant, most of us are lucky enough to take it for granted we can order anything on the menu. But we all have friends or family who have to be more careful because of food allergies. Well back before masks became a fashion craze, Miranda Cohen found a friendly little place in Columbia that serves delicious food, as well as peace of mind for everyone. - Behind you. - It's delicious. - [Miranda] When you think of great restaurants, the amazing food keeps you coming back, but it's often a catchy name that gets you in the door. - You know, we wanted something that was gonna portray freshness and sort of something different. - [Miranda] Chef Paul Jensen and his wife Chrissy tossed around lots of ideas to name their eclectic eatery in Columbia, Tennessee, and it seems they picked the perfect one. - One day I was at work and Chrissy texted me and said, what do you think of The Dotted Lime, and immediately fell in love with it. That kinda goes along the lines of signing on the dotted line, because it's a big commitment to jump ship from a steady job. Let me know when that bubble bread's up, too. - [Miranda] Paul Jensen is a fourth-generation chef. Classically trained, he was worked at some of the finest restaurants in the country, but he married a Tennessee girl and started a family. - [Paul] We have 13 children. We have four biological children and nine that we've adopted. - [Miranda] And The Dotted Lime quickly became a family affair with most of the Jensen children learning the tricks of the trade. - Sprinkle a little bit of the hot seasoning, but not enough to make it hot. Since we opened, Columbia has just fully embraced us and what we're doing and the type of food that we're trying to do. They've just fully embraced us. It's just amazing the support that we're getting from the community. - [Miranda] And the town's secret is getting out. Through their own struggles with food allergies, the Jensens wanted to open a restaurant that served up delicious foods that were safe for everyone to enjoy. - [Paul] We're 100% gluten-free, peanut and tree nut free, and we cater to a ton of other food allergies, so we're very well-versed in all kinds of food allergies, whether it's you have an anaphylactic reaction or a digestive reaction, we can make adjustments to our menu and not just me, but the entire crew is able to do that, because they've just paid attention over the past few years. - [Chrissy] It eliminates the concerns for that segment of the population that's just trying to take their kid out for lunch. And honestly, the peanut and tree nut people have been our most surprising most loyal fans. They're the ones that stand here and cry, and you just don't know what this means to me. - My daughter saw it and said mom, we should go there. - [Miranda] The Villan family found The Dotted Lime on social media. Because several members suffer with food allergies, they drove all the way from Kansas to try the savory and sweet dishes for themselves. - Everything here is safe for us, so it's been amazing. I almost started crying. I'm about to cry right now, just to feel normal and just to know that I can have anything and I just felt loved. It's just a great experience. - [Miranda] Chef Paul specializes in unique and upscale dishes like hearty and healthy burgers, tacos, barbecue, creative salads, and much more. The menu is always changing, according to what is fresh and in season. The Dotted Lime dishes out locally-sourced proteins and organic produce. But this five-star chef says he can't compete with the woman many know as the magical baking fairy. - [Paul] My wife and I, we have a little healthy competition. Every once in a while I'll put something on the menu that beats out her cinnamon rolls, but she does 140, 200 cinnamon rolls a day and far outsells anything else that I could put on the menu. - [Miranda] They are all of our normal frees, gluten-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, but they're also egg and diary free, which makes them vegan. And so I kinda laughing call them hypoallergenic cinnamon rolls. - And in case you needed even more to love about The Dotted Lime, if you look at their website, each menu item showcases a picture of an adorable dog, so you can order the Bernard, the Westie, or even the Lab with the chicken and waffles. Everything at The Dotted Lime is made in-house and made from scratch daily, because for the Jensens it is important to control every ingredient and cooking method. - We make all of our breads, pastries, everything. We make all the sauces, the marinates. So I mean, it's an amazing privilege that we've been given to care for people and their families through food. - I love to cook because of the personal connection with the people that are enjoying the food. I hope that we can continue to pour back into Murray County. I hope that the restaurant will continue to support the growth that we're seeing in the county. I hope that The Dotted Lime will be a recognized name for many years to come. - [Server] Thanks for coming in today. It's good to see you guys. - Nice job. Thanks a lot, Miranda. Have you ever seen a Redwood? You know, those enormous trees found on the West Coast? Well, what if I told you that you could have one of your very own? Or at least part of one. Susan Watson found a custom furniture designer in Nashville who can make that all a reality. - [Susan] These may not be the sounds you immediately associate with Music City, but for Kelly Maxwell, the sound coming from his workshop at Little Branch Farm is definitely music to his ears. - There's not a greater joy to me than taking a raw chunk and sanding it and just peeling back the layers to find the treasure that's inside. And that will be a nice piece of wood. We use wood that is harvested from dead standing trees or trees and logs that were left on the forest floor to create unique one-of-a-kind pieces, and that wood mostly commonly for us comes from the Pacific Northwest. The trees get big out there. You get really unique burls, like Big Leaf Maple burls that we have in the showroom, the Clara Walnut burls, the Buckeye burls, even the Redwood burls. The Redwoods, you know, pre-1960 were cut pretty heavily and a lot of those stumps and roots and logs were left on the forest floor and not used. - [Susan] Wood that was once left behind as trash is now sought after and prized as Kelly and his crew cut, and then patiently sand, and finally apply their unique natural hand-rubbed finish to create custom furniture that blends art and function. Kelly's furniture is formidable, but elegant at the same time, a definite conversation piece, and almost impossible to resist. It's rustic, but the finish is smooth as silk. - [Kelly] That's 100% technique because it's all in the sanding and the technique. I like organic, I like natural beauty. I don't like to stain the wood. I like to see the wood truly as it is. - [Susan] Although they look rather unsightly from the outside, burls are a tree's natural response to stress from an injury or viral or fungal infection. As the burls age, their colors and chaotic patterns create a distorted beauty, one that Kelly appreciates and highlights at Little Branch Farm. - This is a Big Leaf Maple burl out of northern California, Oregon area. This is a burl that grew on the outside of a tree. You know, burls can grow up on the tree as a nodule, or down in the ground. This one was actually growing around the tree. The tree was about 32 to 36 inches in diameter. You can see here the center of the tree and this burl just grew all the way around it. It is seven foot long! I believe it was probably a seven foot round, but to mill it they actually cut it down on the sides to get it inside the mill. So this burl is actually 62 inches wide by seven foot long. - It's amazing and beautiful. You might think that something so beautiful should be admired from afar, not subjected to something as messy as daily life, but that is precisely what Kelly designs for. - It's meant to be functional furniture. It is usable. It's finished to be durable, to hold up. If you buy a dining room table, it's meant to be used as a dining room table, not just to look at as a pretty art piece over here. Yes, it is art in the home, but there's functional art and that's what we create here. Wood is, in my opinion, the one component that warms a room. I don't care if you've got a colonial-style home or an ultra-modern home, contemporary, whatever that is. A natural piece of wood will warm that space and will fit. - [Susan] Because it's part of nature. - Part of nature. You're just bringing a piece of nature into the house, into your home, into your life where you can enjoy it every day. It's gonna be a hanging vanity. We'll actually flip it over, carve a sink into it, put the faucet down in it, Anthony black smith do me up a set of chains, be able to hang it up with mounting brackets. It'll be able to hang from the wall, just be suspended. It kinda looks Medieval. - [Susan] The spacious show room is filled with beautiful tables, headboards, vanities, and mantles. However for most clients, this is simply a point of inspiration. Most head on back to the workshop, where they can browse through the hundreds of slabs that are waiting to be turned into someone's special heirloom piece. - [Kelly] Sometimes they want to come in and literally just pick up a sander and feel like they have contributed a portion to it. And I take the time to educate them in the appropriate way to sand. - [Susan] Kelly understands the desire to be part of the process, to be part of revealing some hidden beauty in nature, and maybe a hidden talent in one's self. It was less than 20 years ago that he was working happily as a paramedic when his stepdaughter asked him to build some benches for her rustic wedding. With encouragement from friends and family, he took his work to a craft fair and sold it all. From that humble beginning, Kelly has built a name for himself with clients throughout the South and across the globe. He's grateful that he gets to do what he loves and humbled that what he's creating today will be bringing joy for many years to come. - [Kelly] It brings me a lot of joy knowing that any of my pieces could be passed on from one generation to the next, and I think that's great. - Thank you, Susan. One might think Nashville is the ideal site for a guitar museum, but when some New York-based curators were looking for a new home for their rare collection, Chattanooga got the call. The result is The Songbirds Guitar Museum, located just around the corner from the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo. - It had grown to a point where it was very, very large, and the owners started to feel like other people need to see this stuff, where we're not sharing our history. This is a great part of American history. - [Joe] David Davidson is CEO and curator of The Songbirds Guitar Collection, home to more than 300 classic American acoustic and electric instruments, most built between 1920 and 1970, a 50-year period of celebrated guitar creation. - You had a golden age of flattop building and mandolin building and bluegrass instrument building. You started there, and then it worked all the way up to Martin's hay day of building these pre-war instruments which are just so coveted now. You know, the Martin D45 and the Herringbone D28s, some of the most coveted acoustic flattop guitars. When you go from there to the invention of the solid body electric guitar and Leo Fender coming into the picture, and creating an instrument that took the guitarist from the back of an orchestra, plugged him into an amplifier, okay, put him in front of a microphone, and you created the rock star. - [Joe] You don't have to play a guitar to have a good time here. These instruments bring back musical memories that reflect special times of our lives. Plus, they're all the result of truly time-honored craftsmanship. - These guitars were made at a time when people cared about their jobs. They went to work, they were craftsman. They cared about detail and the quality and the workmanship shines through every instrument, all you have to do is strum it once and it comes right to you, you get it. - Of course you can't get the really rare guitars out and play them, but you can hear them thanks to this little gadget. In fact, how about a '61 Gibson Les Paul SG Custom? Coming right up. Les Paul's name is synonymous with Gibson electric guitars. This Sunburst Les Paul model made from 1958 through 1960 is considered the Holy Grail of Gibson electrics. - They fell out of popularity quickly because they were heavy, okay, and because Les Paul's rise to the top, he had kind of pinnacled by 1960, and there was somewhat of a decline in that style of music as rock and roll was really taking hold. And then in 1964, here's Keith Richards going on the Ed Sullivan show playing a Sunburst Les Paul, and before you know it every major guitar player needed to have one. - [Joe] The fabled Fender Stratocaster shares a similar story: a great electric solid body saved from extinction by an artist by the name of Jimi Hendrix. - Actually, 1967 is the second-lowest production year for Fender Stratocaster since their inception in 1954. They were literally getting ready to cancel it, but when Hendrix came over from England to the United States the Stratocaster caught fire, and then it became their most popular selling guitar for decades to come. - [Joe] This main exhibit room also features an almost complete collection of Fender custom color models, including a few prototypes. The next room you enter, along with a tour guide, is the ever-changing green room. And this particular display is called The World of Color. - This is probably the largest collection of custom colors available. It pretty much highlights all the colors that were available. Before 1960, all the custom colors were only available if you knew someone or if you maybe were a Fender endorsee, but starting in 1960, they offered 14 standard colors. And then beyond that, we have the vault, and the vault is incredible. It's roughly 75 guitars, it's always changing, but roughly 75 guitars that have unbelievable stories that have traveled with these guitars. Some belonged to famous people, some didn't. Some just had great stories of where they came from, bought from original owners. - [Joe] Matthew is showing visitors a 1969 solid rosewood Fender Stratocaster, one of only two ever made. - Of the two Stratocasters, and we don't know which one specifically because they didn't specify by serial number, but one of the two Strats was meant to be presented to Jimi Hendrix. - [Joe] The Songbirds collection is ever-changing and draws from a master compilation of more than 1700 instruments, each one a work of superior craftsmanship, each one a source of special stories, and for the visitor, a source of precious personal memories. - This entire place is fueled by nostalgia and nostalgia, we know, is the strongest human emotion. These are the types of memories we're trying to evoke in people, okay? It brings up conversation. It brings up a conversation of a more simpler time in our country. - Well with that, we gotta say goodbye, but not before reminding you of course, to join us on our website, tennesseecrossroads.org, follow us on Facebook, and of course, come back here next week. We'll see you then.
October 01, 2020
Season 34 | Episode 12
Tour the Ratified! exhibit at the State Museum. Dine at The Dotted Lime in Columbia. See the custom furniture at Littlebranch Farm. And marvel at the collection at Songbirds Guitar Museum in Chattanooga.