- This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we explore a Goodlettsville thrift store full of peculiar treasures. Then meet the one and only Rocking Chairman of Spring Hill. We'll discover how an historic Clarksville building turned into a popular steakhouse, and explore the arresting history of a Lawrenceburg jail house. Hi everybody, welcome to Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, glad to have you. Are you into thrifting? Well, simply put, thrifting means shopping at thrift stores for everything from secondhand clothes to collectibles. It's good for the pocket book and the environment. Now, a lot of people say it's addictive. Well, we found a thrift shop in Goodlettsville that not only offers bargains, but also some rather bizarre discoveries. You'll find this place in an unassuming strip mall on Goodlettsville's Main Street. It's a store full of affordable retro and vintage goods and a bizarre sense of humor. All thanks to the affable owner, Shayne Parker, a self-described junk junky. - [Shayne] I've bought, sold and traded forever. I've got a really good network of people who kinda know what I'm looking for and they'll hit me up. Usually, if I've bought something from somebody, I'll get a call from somebody else that they know. People bring stuff into the store. And that being said, I hit up everything, yard sales, estate sales, junk yards. Try to travel some and get out of the Nashville area and hit up other stores and antique malls and flea markets. Anything you can think of really. - [Joe] Okay, I think it's past time we addressed that rather weird store name. - Truth in advertising. I thought it was gonna stick and a fun gimmick. My girlfriend actually talked me out of it at first and we opened under another name, because she was like, "You're gonna offend your customers." And luckily, I didn't listen to her and thought it was pretty clever myself. - Strange? Yes. Funky? For sure. Whether it's the quirky artwork you'll find adorning the walls of the place or hard to find vintage duds. This is pretty cool, an Army Air Corps jacket from World War II. Makes you wonder, where does Shayne get all of this stuff? - You die, we buy. - [Joe] Okay, but seriously, Shayne has an eye for the odd stuff and a passion for the hunt, whether it leads him to an estate sale or any other source of hidden treasures. - Don't get me wrong. I love the store. Love being here. This is the job. Going out and finding this stuff is why I do the job. Weirder the better. I love taxidermy oddities, old medical stuff, really love the kind of '80s and '90s stuff that I had as a kid. Now, you're starting to find out... You can actually find it in yard sales now kind of popping up, but I'll take a look at whatever. - [Joe] Now, this is Francis, a paper mache skeleton bust from the 1880s that allegedly brought bad luck to the previous owners. - He's supposedly cursed, but I've had him for a few years and we get along fine. - [Joe] Here's a one of a kind dental x-ray machine from the 1920s. - [Shayne] He was a really high end dentist in Chicago, had rich clientele, and didn't want the basic x-ray machine in his swanky office. So he had a carpenter come in to the company and built this around this dental x-ray unit. So it's a true one of kind piece. - [Joe] What's this? It's an early 20th century version of a slide projector, a luxury item in its time. - [Shayne] This is called a Bell-Opticon. It's the predecessor of the projector, a super, super simple device, just light bulb, two lenses, and it magnifies and projects these slides onto the wall. - [Joe] Now, here's an item that always evokes a few gasps and raised eyebrows. - It's a very well-made pet casket. A gentleman made it himself, did a great job on it. The details are crazy. And then his dog didn't fit in it. Unfortunately. - The dog was too big? The dog was too big for the casket. Yeah, I guess, you know, that he didn't measure twice and cut once kind of thing, I guess. So I ended up with a casket, and yeah, it was making people kind of uncomfortable thinking it was for a child, so we stuck the fake dog skeleton in it, hoping that maybe people know what it is. - [Joe] The store attracts a number of collectors of unusual collectibles, from action figure wrestlers to buttons with every imaginable message. Plus, believe it or not VHS cassettes. Remember them? - Some movies are made to be on VHS, but there's definitely... Again, it's that younger generation that had them as kids, you know? Cause you're buying the nostalgia. You're not buying the item. You're buying the memory thereof. So it's making a niche come back for sure. I don't think it will be a true, you know, it's not gonna be the vinyl revolution by no means, but there's definitely an uptake in it. - [Joe] Whatever shoppers are seeking these days, Shayne says more people than ever are visiting thrift stores for the savings and the adventure. - [Shayne] There's definitely an uptake. You see a younger crowd now that's looking for stuff that you didn't see before. Yeah, I think it's definitely, especially the Nashville area, thrifting and vintage is definitely a trendy thing - [Joe] Before leaving "Dead People's Things", I had to ask Shayne a lingering question. What makes an old item cool for a quirky store like this? - I've never been cool, Joe. I don't know. I just bought what I like, what I'm interested in. And every once in a while, I get lucky in the axis of what's cool and what I like kind of cross over. I don't know what I'm doing. - [Joe] You're having a good time. - Oh, I'm having a blast. I left a really good job to do this, work twice as hard for half the money and love every bit of it. - [Joe] When it comes to woodworking, well, some people are all thumbs. Some might even lose a thumb. But some people seem to be born with the ability. That's the case with the man in our next story. Ed Jones met the Spring Hill guy known as the "Rocking Chairman". - The idea is to look at the chair and have these hard lines and soft lines kind of pull your eye around the chair so that you get to enjoy the whole thing. And actually the chair, I think, if it's done well kind of invites you to sit - [Ed] If anything is more inviting than Charles Brock's rocking chairs, it's the retired school teacher turned craftsman himself. Chuck is one of those genuinely friendly, easygoing types that has never met a stranger, and that laid back temperament is perfectly suited for the labor he loves. - I got started while I was teaching school with some tools I'd borrowed from a neighbor, and I just saw, wow, I can do this. I can have a vision and I can build it. Building furniture made sense to me, and so I started in the late seventies and I started doing projects for others, building tables and chests and things like that and really pushing my skills. - [Ed] Chuck's skills would be pushed to new heights by a friend who asked him to build a rocking chair. - So I got into looking at rocking chairs and trying to come up with something that he would like. And kind of after two years, I got to a point where I had something. I called him up. He came over, looked at it, and he said, "I'll take two". That was an opportunity to move from kind of general woodworking projects into a specialty. And so all of a sudden, we're building rocking chairs and loving it. - [Ed] And that love shows in every line around every curve of these functional works of art. - I love them because I can make a rocker and have a friend or somebody sit in it, and when they sit down, I'd say 999 times out of a thousand, they're going to smile. They're gonna feel comfortable, and that's what you're after. This is some great curly walnut here. When you put some oil and wax on it, you see all of these lines, these curls, where the grain is reversing. - [Ed] At this point in the story, it would seem that Chuck had found what he was after, but realizing his gift for making rockers that make people happy would not be the final chapter. - I started getting close about 15 years ago to retirement, and a couple of things hit me. I had been a teacher, been a woodworker, and if we put those two things together, I can teach woodworking. We're just gonna let the spindles kind of run wild behind it, and I see you've got number seven here, so that's where that goes, and then number six. One of the great things about teaching, most of my students are my age. It might be 15 years less or even 15 years more, but they always wanted to be able to build this rocker and to help them find purpose like I have at a later age. and to help them find purpose like I have at a later age. Wow, what a great gift for them to switch from being a lawyer or a doctor to doing something that is different, growthful and engaging. - [Ed] The popularity of Chuck's classes inspired him to reach a larger audience through video with his own woodworking series and some pretty famous guests - It meant a lot to me. I started woodworking on a practical matter. I worked on a farm with my daddy and I learned, you know, saws and hammers. - One of the things I like about getting the students out here, they get to see why America is such a, you know... The woodworking heritage here. - Nick Offerman. - Nice to see you, Chuck. - Nice to see you. I tell you what. Last time I saw you, we were in New York City on a special show for woodworkers. What was that show? - Martha Stewart. - Yeah, Martha Stewart. The "Martha Stewart Show" thing was the only way I've ever won an argument with my wife. Now, this isn't going to be on here. - [Ed] Well, sorry Charlie, I couldn't resist. - I kept checking my phone. And she said, put that thing up. I'm so tired of you checking that phone. Nobody is going to call you of any importance this afternoon. About that time she had finished with that, the phone rang and the lady introduced herself as a segment producer for the "Martha Stewart Show". So I hung up and my wife said, "Well, who was that?" I said that was the "Martha Stewart Show". I'm going to be on there next week. So she's never complained. - [Ed] But fame hasn't changed Charles Brock one bit. He remains a humble craftsman content to share his incredible talent with others. The Lord had a better plan for me than I had for myself. And it's gotta be that because I went from the garage woodworker to teaching classes to being on the "Martha Stewart Show" to having my own show. So you can't really beat that, especially between the ages of 60 and 70 years old. All I have to sell really, besides a chair to sit in, are dreams that they can build it too, have a legacy. - Thanks, Ed. As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens. Ken Wilshire discovered how a Clarksville family is passionate about keeping the doors to an historic old building open, open as a fine yet casual dining experience. - Normally, the Cumberland River is such a peaceful, placid body of water as it winds its way through Middle Tennessee. But when it overflows its banks, its waters devastate communities, like the city of Clarksville in 2010. But flooding hasn't been the only disaster Clarksville has had to endure. This downtown area has been destroyed by fire and a major tornado, but it survived. And it's become one of the fastest growing cities in the state. It's been up to local businesses like Edward's Steakhouse to serve as a catalyst for others to invest in downtown and rebuild this vital segment of the city. Edward's family owners are Linda, Gary and John Shepherd. Linda says it took far more than a desire to own a restaurant when they made this commitment. - We started in 2009 at a time when things weren't really great money-wise all over the whole country. So we're constantly trying to get more people down here. You know, it's hard for mom and pop businesses to make it these days, so we've been very blessed. - [Ken] Actually, it was Linda's son, John, who founded Edward's. He worked here when the previous restaurant was closing. He says this historic old building was spared by the 1999 tornado. And he sure wasn't going to let it die vacant. - Most of the buildings downtown are anywhere from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, so you're really bringing the history of Clarksville back into it. I've been told by my grandfather and my father that this was a furniture store at one time, as you can see where they've taken the pegs out and refilled them in with mortar and brick. Just the feel of the old buildings is incredible by itself. - [Ken] In fact, there's a diverse mix of businesses, restaurants, theater, art and government downtown. They're all integral building blocks in this city's foundation for growth, and each one compliments the other, like the culinary creations you'll find on the menu at Edward's. - [Linda] We're one of very few restaurants that are considered casual fine dining, because we don't want people to feel like they have to dress up to come in here. - [John] We're known for our steaks. Our pastas are all homemade. It's a recipe that me and Justin came up with together. Our seasoning for the steaks is different than most places you'll ever see. It's something me and Justin sat down one day and actually put together. On our menu, you'll see anywhere from hand pattied burgers to salads, to homemade pastas, to rainbow trout, to lamb chops, to a steak dinner for two, which is sort of our signature dish, anywhere to the baby duet, which is named after my son Jet. So we've got a little variety of everything to appeal to people. - [Ken] But it requires more than a delicious fare, a dedicated family and staff and a quaint old building. I mean, you just have to have delightful desserts created by chef Justin. - [Linda] Justin makes his homemade creme brulee, which is to die for. It's so good. He makes homemade caramel pie. We have a chocolate molten cake. We have a bourbon pecan pie, which we've had since we opened. Gary picked that out and he loves pecan pie. You can taste a little bit of the bourbon in it, but it's very good. - I believe the homemade desserts sort of set us apart. You don't see as many people doing homemade desserts anymore. Even with our drinks, adding different little names to it, coming up with different cocktails. It sets us apart from other people. - You'll find Linda just about everywhere, greeting, seating and chatting with guests. - I like to try to get around to every table in here. I like it if I don't know their face, I wanna know why they're here, how they found out about us. And we try to make birthdays and anniversaries special. - [Ken] John's usually at the front door or serving or cooking or bartending. - [John] We try to keep it as a family atmosphere. Whether we've met you once in this restaurant, we've seen you a hundred times in this restaurant, you become part of our family. - [Ken] And Gary is behind the scenes. Well, so far behind, we couldn't get him on camera, but the restaurant's namesake is John's grandfather, Edward Shepherd, and he visits often. - [John] But it's named after him, and we thought it was very meaningful to have family names in it, such as you know, like with some of our drinks. Our Big Mama Sangria, Big Mama was my dad's grandmother. Papa's Old Fashioned, that was his dad. And like my mom mentioned, the steaks are named after all our grandparents, so we try to keep our family history and heritage involved in this restaurant. - [Ken] It seems there's just nothing more soothing to accompany a comfortable, cozy dining experience than piano music. Edward's piano bar features player piano music daily, and a couple of days are very special. - We have live piano on Friday and Saturday night, and of course, it's a piano bar. Friday night, Jackson Miller plays for me, and he's been playing since he was 15 here. He's 18 now. He does not read music. He just sits down and plays. Our advertisement says, "Come for the food, stay for the atmosphere." And that's what we want it to be. - [Ken] Whether it's fire, flood or tornado, Clarksville has clearly demonstrated it can weather adversity. Still, the city leadership is hoping folks like the Shepherds at Edward's will kindle a huge fire in the hearts of this community and receive a flood of support for preserving its heritage. And hopefully, investing in satisfying appetites will create a whirlwind of activity for the future. - Thanks, Ken. Lawrenceburg has a rich history stretching all the way back to 1540, when it's believed that Spanish Explorer Hernando de Soto set up winter camp there. Well, Gretchen Bates went in search of the city's past, and found more than she bargained for - David Crockett may be Lawrenceburg's most famous resident, but a lot has changed since the King of the Wild Frontier left town. You can explore that history if you don't mind going to jail. Hey, what about my phone call? I beat the rap for two reasons. The jailer turned out to be my high school history teacher, and the jail is no longer a jail. - Well, I've been a history teacher for 40 years, and I like history and they needed some help cleaning and fixing things up, so we got the whole jail kind of looking a little better and fixed up, and then they started giving us stuff to preserve and show people, and that's just become a big time job now, I guess. - That big time job is a labor of love for Curtis Peters, who's the president of the Lawrence County Historical Society, and he knows just about everything there is to know about this historic hoosegow. - The first jail was burned during the Civil War. So in 1893, they built this building, and it's been added on a time or two, but they used this as the jail for Lawrence County for 80 years. And in 1973, they were forced to build another jail. And the Historical Society got ahold of it and kind of renovated it and put it to use. - [Woman] You know, this little boy who's in the second grade that was here yesterday, and he said, "I don't ever wanna be in jail." And I said, "That's a good thing." - [Curtis] You know, when people come in, you never know what they're gonna want to do. Some of them like the whole full tour, you know, where you can tell them about everything here. Other ones like to look on their own and see all, read all, everything that's in the museum. The kids love the jail cells and they like to get in and some of them liked to be locked up. Some of them are afraid to go in. They don't wanna be locked up. So we'll shut the doors on a few of them every now and then and kind of give them the effect of being in the jail, you know, and they like getting in and crawling around on the bunks in that cell and look at it, so it's pretty neat. - So Mr. Peters, I understand someone escaped from this cell but told the sheriff he was going before he did. Can you tell me that story? - We had a gentleman who was in here one night and said, "Sheriff, tell your wife not to cook me any breakfast in the morning." He said, "I won't be here." And the sheriff just laughed at him and went on his way, and sure enough, the next morning when he came down, the prisoner that was in his cell, somebody had gotten him a saw blade, and he had managed to saw through the bars back here, the top bar bottom right here, pulled that one out and sawed the bottom one right here and bent it back and squeezed through there somehow. So I'm sure the prisoners back then were a little bit smaller. - [Gretchen] Smaller, and in some cases, thirstier. - There were lots of stills in this area at one time, especially probably during prohibition. And we actually have got three pictures in our cell where we got a lot of the law enforcement stuff displayed of three different sheriffs busting up steels in the County. So they were here, and they confiscated moonshine. They would store it in the cellar that that was dug underneath the jail. And every now and then, it would kind of disappear. Nobody knew where it went to, but you could probably figure that out. - A lot of people put their name. He served a whole 11 months and 29 days, from '70 to '71. - [Gretchen] If convicts just aren't your cup of tea, never fear. You'll find much more than bars and bad guys here. - We've got all kinds of Lawrence County history here from all the communities in the County. Of course, we have lots of photos on the wall, and every photo tells a story. We've got a huge military room with all of our Lawrenceburg veterans uniforms. We have several generals and admirals and then all of the the gentleman who actually did the fighting in the wars. We have a gentleman here. His name was John Gwynne, and he fought in World War I and World War II. And in World War I, he was a corporal, and he won the Silver Star Citation, and we have the actual certificate giving him the Silver Star Citation, signed by General John Black Jack Pershing, and his silver star with five battle stars on his service ribbon. So we're kind of a place for people to present stuff that their family has had in the history of Lawrence County. - [Bob] Most of it was catching dust. - [Gretchen] Historical Society member Bob Hayes understands the value of these priceless pieces of Lawrence County's past. - I think it's important that people get a sense of this town and what this town is about. There's a lot of interesting history in this county. We just love to have people come and learn about our county and learn about our heritage. It's very interesting. - [Gretchen] And that heritage wouldn't be complete without a tip of the coonskin cap to one David Crockett. ♪ Born on a mountain top in Tennessee ♪ - We do have downstairs four items that belong to Crockett. We have a key to his old distillery or storehouse. We also have an old plow point that he made while he was here. I have a couple of hand tools, an old froe he used for splitting shingles and then hand shears that he used for cutting grain. He was in Lawrence County from 1817 to 1822 and became one of the first five commissioners for Lawrence County. And he was given the task, him along with the other four, of deciding where Lawrenceburg would be. He got elected to the state legislature, and while he was gone to the state legislature, we had a huge flood, which washed away his meal, and so he decided to leave and go west cause he never did stay anywhere too long. ♪ Davy, Davy Crockett ♪ ♪ King of the Wild Frontier ♪ - [Gretchen] And the rest, as they say, is history, history confined in the old Lawrence County jail, where doing time is now a pleasure. - Thanks Gretchen, and thank you folks for joining us the past half hour. Before our farewell, I want to remind you to check in on our website from time to time, TennesseeCrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook, and by all means join us here next week. See you then. - Hi, I'm Joe Elmore. Here's what's on the next "Tennessee Crossroads". First, we'll visit "Lucky Pearl Designs" in Lebanon. Then feast on some Lynchburg style barbecue. We'll meet a guitar maker for music royalty, and finally explore the explosive history of Old Hickory. All on the next "Tennessee Crossroads". See you there.
May 20, 2021
Season 34 | Episode 38
This time, Joe Elmore explores a Goodlettsville thrift store full of peculiar treasures. Ed Jones meets the one and only rockin’ chairman of Spring Hill. Ken Wilshire discovers how an historic Clarksville building turned into a popular steakhouse. And Gretchen Bates explores the arresting history of a Lawrenceburg jailhouse.