- [Joe] This time on "Tennessee Crossroads", we explore an Antebellum treasure, Two Rivers Mansion. Then, we'll meet a high profile Nashville artist, Audrey Deal-McEver, and we'll soar through the air. Tennessee's oldest zip line attraction. Hi, everyone. I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome again to "Tennessee Crossroads". Glad to have you with us. Our first story also happens to be the debut of our latest "Crossroads" producer. It's my pleasure to welcome WKRN News 2 anchor Alex Denis to the show. And she picked a great story to begin with. Tennessee has more than its share of Antebellum mansions, but few can compete with the ornate beauty of Two Rivers Mansion, as Alex is about to show you. - [Alex] Tucked at the end of a dramatic tree-lined driveway, it's a sight to behold. The mansion, built in 1859, is one of the earliest ornate Italianate houses built in middle Tennessee. Its well-preserved grandeur, a glimpse of the past. - [Laura C.] And when you're at the front gates looking down in here, I mean, it's just so majestic to see this big, beautiful house this appears. You know, you can see the carriages and the ladies in the big dresses, and this has a magical feel to it. - [Alex] For decades, Laura Carrillo, community coordinator for Metro Parks, has advocated for Two Rivers Mansion. The home sits on 14 acres and spreads its ornate detail both inside and out, across more than 10,000 square feet. - [Laura C.] It actually gets us it's name from where we sit in this property. A half mile to the east is the Stones River, a half mile to the west is the Cumberland River, so that gives you two rivers. - [Alex] To fully appreciate this incredible build, you must start where it began, here. The first dwelling, which has stood strong for more than 215 years. Step inside, and you are transported back to 1802, where pieces from that era fill the rooms. Original pine floor stretch wall to wall, the cozy home with two bedrooms and an attic that runs the entire length of the house served as an investment for a man looking to create a homestead in 1819. Instead, it would become his legacy. - William Harding died fairly young. He didn't even live long enough to see his only child born. - [Alex] The child, William Willie Elizabeth Harding, grew, and so did the family's property, into an 1100 acre estate. - [Laura C.] And I actually gave this back to Ms. Willie as an endowment for marriage. - [Alex] her young husband, David H. McGavock. - [Laura C.] Now, this was not an arranged marriage. This was just two people that fell in love. She had the land and the house, and he had the knowledge. They were the perfect union when I got married in 1850. - [Alex] The newlyweds wasted no time building Two Rivers Mansion for $8,000, and no detail was spared. The ceilings are more than 14 feet tall on both the first and second floors, accented by original medallions. Floor to ceiling windows allow light to pour in, highlighted by ruby red glass, a sign of wealth. The thick walls are filled with sawdust to help with insulation. - [Laura C.] It's just layers and layers of detail. - [Alex] A send upstairs, and room after room is outfitted with period furniture. Fine art enhances the walls, some original to the home. - [Laura C.] This is probably my favorite piece in the house. This is a love message. This was painted by C.A. Lenore in about 1880. It's in its original frame. - [Alex] Two Rivers took eight years to build, and the family expanded with it. Their names forever marked in masonry alongside those who helped. - [Laura C.] I really believe that that's the child of Henry Harding. Henry Harding was one of the slaves, and they put her little feet into the mortar of the bricks, which were all made here on the property. - [Alex] Still fully intact, the mansion tells an incredible story of love, struggle, and redemption, a storied past preserved by Mary Louise Bransford McGavock, the last of the McGavock family until her death in 1965. - [Laura C.] You know, they weren't all this famous, but they left behind this era and this house that's just magnificent. - [Alex] Even today, Two Rivers Mansion reflects the taste, textures, and colors of the post-war era, and remains a centerpiece for gatherings both public and private. - [Laura C.] I love giving tours to the locals 'cause you start talking about the other families, the other houses, the street names, and you just see them kind of like, "Oh, okay! That's why!' You know? "And that's who they are!" You know? And it just gives its national history! - Well, thanks Alex, and congratulations on your first story with "Tennessee Crossroads". A good one, at that. Well, this is it. The final week of our Keep "Crossroads" Traveling Campaign. I'm joined by Will Pedigo who is gonna take us through an update of where we stand. - That's right, Joe. We set a goal of 350 contributions at any amount to keep "Crossroads" traveling throughout 2021. Reaching that goal means we'll keep "Tennessee Crossroads" on the air during Nashville public television's March pledge drive. Right now, we have heard from 299 viewers who've made the leap to becoming supporters. - Hey, that's great. I think we can make that 350 goal this week. - Absolutely! Any contribution at any amount will help us reach our goal. - Wanna thank all of you that have called or clicked on with your support. And now, we wanna hear from you! We still have time to make our goal. Any contribution that comes in by the end of the day, Sunday, February 7th, will count! I know we can get there with your support, and all we need is for 51 of our viewing family to call the number on your screen now or pledge online at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate. - That's really exciting. You know, we're deeply proud that "Tennessee Crossroads" remains one of the most watched locally produced programs in the entire PBS system. If you're a loyal viewer and enjoy having "Crossroads" take you on some of the best experiences you can have in the state, join in the "Crossroads" family with your financial support, and we have some great ways to say thanks when you make a pledge. Hats, shirts, a "Tennessee Crossroads" pint glass. Call the number on your screen or pledge online anytime at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate. Whatever's most convenient for you! And Joe, why don't you give us all the gifts that we have to offer folks who contribute to Keep "Crossroads" Traveling in 2021 and beyond? - All right, Will. Let's do it. - [Announcer] You can help keep "Crossroads" traveling with a financial gift that's just right for you. Donate at any amount, and you'll receive a "Tennessee Crossroads" official traveler sticker. at $60 a year or $5 a month, we'll thank you with a "Tennessee Crossroads" baseball cap. At the $72 level or $6 a month, you can show your support and keep "Crossroads" traveling with this polyester blend short-sleeve t-shirt! Another way we have of saying thanks for an $84 annual gift or $7 a month is this 16 ounce glass tumbler with a Crossroads logo! You can put that pint glass to good use at MBTs "Tennessee Crossroads" Brews & Bites on Thursday, February 11th, at 7:00 PM. You'll enjoy a three-course dinner at home paired with a curated selection of craft beer, all for a contribution of $50 for one ticket, or $75 for two tickets. For more great pairings, you can choose both the "Tennessee Crossroads" t-shirt and the pint glass for an annual gift of $144. That's $12 a month. Or you don't have to choose at all! You can have all three of our "Tennessee Crossroads" thank you gifts at the $204 level over $17 a month. - These gifts are our way of saying thanks to you for watching and making "Tennessee Crossroads" what it is today with your story ideas, your willingness to join Joe and the "Tennessee Crossroads" crew on new adventures each week. Your contribution to the station makes it all happen here at Nashville Public Television. And that includes making "Tennessee Crossroads" available to viewers in a variety of ways online! - And we have something really special planned for the end of the campaign. You see, on Thursday, February 11th, we'll be raising those "Crossroads" pint glasses to celebrate everything you love about Nashville Public Television. Join us at 7:00 PM for a special "Crossroads" Brews & Bites event that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home! We only have a few tickets left, but that's another reason to pitch in with your support. - You know, that's right. It's gonna be a ton of fun, and thanks to all of you who have already planned to join Joe and the folks at the Nashville Brewing Company for an evening of food and fun. On Thursday, February 11th, Butcher Town Hall will be creating a three course dinner that you can enjoy at home! Each course is paired with a craft beer selection, and folks at the Nashville Brewing Company will be guiding you through the tasting event, hosted by Joe! For those of you that would like to join in, we'd be honored to send you a ticket as our way of saying thanks for your gift of $50, or we'll send you two tickets for a contribution of $75. Either way, you'll be enjoying a great night of food and drink, and you'll be helping us meet our goal of 350 contributions to Nashville Public Television as we keep "Crossroads" traveling in 2021. - It's gonna be a great time, and hopefully, together, we can celebrate reaching our Keep "Crossroads" Traveling goal of having 350 contributions, and kick off another great year of "Tennessee Crossroads" on the air, here at NPT. Check out the details at TennesseeCrossroads.org/donate. - You know, Joe, during this Keep "Crossroads" Traveling campaign, we've been highlighting some of the new members of the "Tennessee Crossroads" crew that joined us last year. I noticed, this show, you introduced the newest member, Alex Denis, with her story, featuring Two Rivers Mansion. - That's right, Will. We are truly excited to have Alex Denis join "Tennessee Crossroads". She brings a ton of experience from her background at news, and I took a moment to ask her what drew her to share stories with us, and here's what she had to say. - I love working in the news business, but let's face it. It is fast paced. So telling stories with "Crossroads" really allows me to sit with people, get to know their stories, and share with you the personal one-on-one experience that you can't get anywhere else. What I love about "Crossroads" is it's not always news you need to know, but stories you wish you knew. We highlight the best people and places in our community that make us so incredibly unique and special. - That's really exciting. I can't wait to see what Alex brings to the show in 2021. You know, one of the things that I love about "Tennessee Crossroads" is how involved the viewers are, from sharing story ideas, to going out and visiting some of the places featured on the show. - That's true. Time and time again, after we air a story, we'll get emails from folks featured that say they saw a huge jump in visitors after their story ran on "Crossroads". Will, I always feel good that we're able to recognize their hard work through the stories we share, but it's also a sign of how much our viewers value the show, which is something I'm proud of. - No doubt! I mean, "Tennessee Crossroads" has become a trusted guide for new places to explore and people to meet! - Definitely. I love that we get to help local businesses and artists tell their story. You know, we choose places on the show that are family-run or that contribute to the culture and community of our state, but I will tell you the success of the show is because of our viewers! You are the ones that make the difference. That makes this show what it is. Whether it's your story ideas, your loyal viewership, or the fact that folks really use the show to find a great place to visit! - So keep those ideas coming, and I hope you'll take this opportunity to support the show another way with a contribution that is comfortable for you. We have lots of fun ways to say thanks. Call the number on your screen or go online to TennesseeCrossroads.org/donate, and pick up some tickets to join us on that Thursday, February 11th event while you still can! - All right, Joe. For the last time in this Keep "Crossroads" Traveling campaign, where are we heading next? - Well, you know, Will, it's the dream of every aspiring artists to someday make a living just by making art! It's often an illusive dream, but one that Audrey Deal-McEver achieved all thanks to talent, hard work, and nonstop learning. Well, here's a profile of the Nashville artist who's reaching success and notoriety in the world of ceramic pottery. Every morning, Audrey Deal-McEver walks to work, a short walk to a studio behind her home in Nashville. After earning a degree at Ohio University and further studies in Germany, she returned home, determined to make ceramic pottery a full-time endeavor. And she did it. - [Audrey] There's no end of things to explore, so I have a hunch I'm gonna keep doing this a long time, and never really feel like I've fully mastered it. - [Joe] Audrey's specialty is functional pottery. Her work incorporate the beauty of nature into pieces that are meant to be used! - [Audrey] That's how I make most of my living, right now, is selling mugs, bowls, plates, things that people can use in their kitchens, and that's one thing I love about pottery, is it's such an easy way for people to become interested in arts. Anyone can connect to a handmade mug, and it's such an intimate art form, too! It's one of the only things that you put your mouth on that is considered an art object, and I think that's really personal and beautiful. It all starts with clay, which is a natural material that comes from the Earth, and I love that, again, with my interest in nature. It is a natural material, and if you work on the potter's wheel, like I do, you prepare the clay by wedging it, which is kind of like kneading bread dough. - [Joe] Then comes the most familiar step, throwing that hunk of clay on the potter's wheel. Of course, this is where it starts to come to life. - [Audrey] Clay, as it dries, develops different properties, so the nice thing is there are things you can do when it's wet that work better than when it starts to dry, and there are things that you can only do when it starts to dry, as well. - [Joe] After throwing several pieces, she'll let them dry overnight. Then other skills come into play, like her detailed carving work. - [Audrey] At that point, it kinda feels like chocolate, if the viewers at home wanna imagine what that might feel like. I always want to reach through the TV and feel things. I'm a tactile person. But then, after that step, when you've done everything you want to the actual form, it has to be fired. - [Joe] This is called the initial bisque firing, about 1800 degrees for 12 hours. By the way, Audrey's proud that her shop, including the electric kiln, is completely sustainable. - [Audrey] I'm a zero-waste production, meaning I recycle all my scrap clay and I recycle all my scrap glaze, and I've also bought enough solar panels to offset all my power use, including my kiln, which is a lot. - [Joe] After firing, each pottery piece is ready for some color and shine. - [Audrey] The piece, after it's gone through the bisque kiln, is very porous, and it has not reached its final maturity, so it's still fragile, but you can handle it. So, that's the point where you apply glaze, which, the main ingredient in glaze is glass. That's what makes it functional, and, in many cases, shiny. Not all glazes are shiny, but that's why clay does look like it has a glass coating. Oftentimes, it actually is. And then the pieces get fired one more time. For me, they go up over 2,100 degrees, and they come out, and you have fully functional pieces that can even go in the dishwasher, the microwave, and the oven. - [Joe] By the way, part of her passion for pottery involves sharing. You see, teaching this ancient art form has been a part of Audrey's life since college. I've been really fortunate to be able to work in my field entirely my whole adult life, but teaching's been such a great way to work through new ideas with new people. It's amazing how much you learn from your students as a teacher, because every time you watch a group of people work through a technical issue or a new idea, it's like crowdsourcing knowledge, which is pretty neat. - [Joe] Audrey says she produces about a thousand pieces a year. That's a lot considering all the intricate workmanship, but that's the way it goes when you're a pro. And while the income is gratifying, according to Audrey, the artist, the real payoff is feedback from many happy repeat customers. - [Audrey] It's very humbling, as an artist, I think. Again, that's why I like making functional forms. It's just such a personal way to make pieces that really become parts of people's daily rituals! If I can make someone slow down and enjoy that morning cup of coffee just a little bit more, because it's in a very intentional handmade vessel, mission accomplished. - [Joe] Imagine speeding along a steel cable held by a harness and a pulley through acres of forest and across tree tops. Gravity does most of the work. Laura Faber takes us for a ride with the help of the oldest zip line company in the state of Tennessee. - [Laura F.] It sounds like a type of motor speedway, and, if you look at the right place at the right time, about 85 feet up, you might glimpse a flash of something flying through the trees. This is zip lining, a form of transportation 2000 years old, a pulley suspended on a cable that's designed to propel someone by gravity from place to place. - There you go. Run it up, run it up! Nicely done. - [Laura F.] Brian Davis, general manager of AdventureWorks, says its early uses had nothing to do with fun, but practicality. - [Brian] It really started off with scientists, kinda in the jungles, trying to figure out how to steady the tree tops really well, and the easiest way to do that was to string up tables between the trees and ride, you know, old pulleys from platform to platform. I think it really kinda intrigued a lot of people, and say, "Well, if they can do this from a scientific research area, why not do it for fun?" Woo! - [Laura F.] Of course, you don't just hook yourself to a cable and go, - I'll get that one for ya. - [Laura F.] there is an in-depth orientation every one must go through. - First thing's first, we do not attach more than one trolley on the line at any given time. - [Laura F.] The Russo and Brasil families from Paducah, and the Zellers from Murphysboro are ready to learn about safety, equipment, and how to take off and land. Helmets, harnesses, and a healthy dose of bravery required. - Take a big step off. - [Brian] We teach 'em how to use the gear, we're monitoring it the entire time. There's two of our staff members with all our guests the entire experience, and then, yeah. We're doing our safety checks every morning, we're following all the protocols and procedures set forth by the Association for Challenge Course Technologies, we're following the ANSI standards, all the state standards, as well. - Grab a helmet, and go ahead and place it on your head. If you need any assistance, give us a holler. - [Laura F.] AdventureWorks is the oldest zip lining company in Tennessee, operating at two locations. One in Kingston Springs, and here at Fontanel, the former home of country legend Barbara Mandrell. - What we have been doing with the former Fontanel, and then the new property, is just providing a really great experience. It's eight different zip lines. We are roughly about 20 to 30 acres of forest in the backside, where the mansion is. And it's a progressive style tour, so the first line, very low, very slow, not very intimidating, to get everybody used to how things work and to really kinda break down some of those initial fears and phobias that people have. - [Laura F.] But every safety precaution is taken. - All right. Double check. - [Laura F.] The activity is physical. Davis say anyone from about eight years old and 45 pounds up to 250 and in moderate to good health can do this. After training, the zip line starts slow and short, but the payoff is a thousand foot long zip line at which you're traveling at about 35 miles an hour. And then, of course, Brit's here to catch you at the end. Today, most zip lining tours are recreational, but AdventureWorks also offers custom designed corporate team-building, too. Physical challenges with a mental twist. - [Brian] Back in 1987, when Anthony Curtis founded the company, it was purely team development. It was challenge course work on how to build better people, how to build stronger teams. - [Laura F.] Activities with names like Nitro Crossing and Quantum Leap. Clients leave empowered. The skills they learn translate on the job. Davis says some companies come back year after year, and often use it as an annual retreat. - [Brian] The reviews are super positive about just how fast we can break through barriers with their teams and get people to understand each other a lot better and different work styles a lot better so that when they meet real challenges, they're very, very well-equipped for it. - [Laura F.] But the empowerment and the bonding even happen when it's just for fun, too. - Like, the longest one that was really fun. You feel like you're just flying. - Well, I screamed because it was like, the first fast one. I didn't know what to expect, really. - I love the length and the speed, and the family atmosphere as well. A great time. - [Attendee] You know, I think I actually love just the whole atmosphere of being outside, and the fun of it. - [Laura F.] A perfect way to enjoy Tennessee from the tree tops. - [Brian] To see new people every day still having that little spark, that little imagination, that little aha moment, and they just walk away on cloud nine. That's truly one of the most inspirational things that I see in my job. Woo! - Well, it's time to wind up another "Tennessee Crossroads". That is, after a few requests. First, visit our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org, follow us on Facebook, join us next week, and keep "Crossroads" traveling.
February 04, 2021
Season 34 | Episode 25
On this episode of Tennessee Crossroads, Alex Denis tours Two-Rivers Mansion in Nashville. Joe Elmore profiles successful ceramic potter, Audrey Deal-McEver. And Laura Faber glides through the treetops with Adventureworks Zip Lining Tours. Presented by Nashville Public Television.