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- This time on Tennessee crossroads, we take you on a shopping spree at the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Loop. Then we'll explore the original one-room schoolhouse near Scott's Hill. We'll go in search of cheeseburger perfection in Manchester, and make some interesting discoveries at Nashville's Landmark Reservoir. That's the lineup for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore. Sure glad to have you again. - The search for locally created art is a passion for many people. And one of the best places to find it is in Gatlinburg. Actually it's an area just beyond the city. And as Laura Faber shows us, it's a step back in time where everything is handcrafted. - [Laura] There is a lot of history in the dark blue and green hills of the Smokey Mountains. - History that has migrated down the mountain. Nestled on an eight-mile loop at the base of the park outside Gatlinburg is a community that draws visitors from all over the world. Shop after shop, you'll find artists, some of whom come from families who have lived in these parts for generations. The early artists came from the mountains, moved into Gatlinburg to make money from their handcrafted items, but settled just outside the city, in an area known as the Glades. It's here that you can find the Great Smokey Arts & Crafts Community, the largest artisan center in the country. - [Offscreen Speaker] When they had the World's Fair in Knoxville, that brought a lot of visitors to East Tennessee. I think that more prominently pushed a spotlight on the mountains, and Gatlinburg in general. They actually had millions of visitors come into the area from the World's Fair. I mean, that would have pushed the artisan idea a little bit more--this quiet side that you could kind of get away from the hustle and bustle of everything downtown. - [Laura] Now 80 years old, the community has grown to more than 100 artists and craftsmen who have shops along the Loop. Woods Hippensteal is a ninth generation artist here. He paints, as does his dad Vern, whose work has been collected here since the 60s. - [Woods] This community represents the cultural side of Gatlinburg. The National Park Service does do a fair job of teaching people about the people that actually, you know, are from this area, the first established people in this area. But the fact that Gatlinburg, you know, it doesn't represent the people of Gatlinburg as much as the Arts and Crafts community does. This represents what the people were like before modernization. The people that, that use their hands to make a living. - [Laura] Since 1976, Otto Preske has been making his living with his hands here on the Great Smokey Arts & Crafts Loop. - [Otto] This is a mountain-man mantel. This is basswood and it's just a different mantel because it's hanging down from the mantel part, instead of being above it. - [Laura] At 79 years old, he uses tools to shape and carve incredible pieces of woodwork. - [Otto] I got started carving when I was a Boy Scout, and I did study art a little bit. I met a woodcarver from Europe, from Portugal, that showed me how to use the tools. I was a commercial artist for about 13 years, and ended up working at one of the larger advertising agencies in Evansville, Indiana, where I'm from. And then we came down here on vacation several times, and saw the craft community out here. - [Laura] Otto and his wife live upstairs above the shop. He loves the comradery of the community and has no plans to stop working with wood. - [Otto] That's one thing neat about having a shop like this. I have literally met people from all over the world in here. It's amazing because, not only am I doing what I like to do, but I'm not in a good old cubicle. When I'm not in the studio, I'm out talking to people. - Probably one of the most special things about this Arts Loop is its diversity. You can find anything here, from concrete works of art, to stuffed bears, dulcimers, ceramics, paintings, glass--you name it, it's here. A little further up the loop, class is in session. - Good morning, guys. I hear you want to create something in glass. - [Laura] Nancy Hoff is an artist who specializes in fused glass. - [Nancy] Glass that's been melted in a kiln at about 1400-degrees or higher, made into different projects. - [Laura] Nancy creates her pieces by carefully placing bits of glass onto a base piece and using heat to fuse it together. Vases, jewelry, nightlights, dishes, sun-catchers. The work is gorgeous. Originally from Gatlinburg, Nancy's dad grew up in the house that is now her Firefly Glass Studio and gallery. After a 25-year career elsewhere as a mortgage loan officer, the lure of the arts community and home drew her back. - [Nancy] I think it's just special because we're kind of all concentrated. It's just a, it's a simple 8-mile loop, and people can go from place to place and they can find literally any form of art in this one 8-mile loop. - [Laura] Not only can you find and buy art, but you can actually make your own, like the Hellsinger family from Ohio. - [Laura] The whole create-your-own experience is fairly new to the Loop. Nancy was one of the first to offer it, but now many other artists offer a chance to experience what they do. - [Nancy] As I started back in the Spring of 2017, after our fires that previous November, it got really slow. Social media kind of told people, Gatlinburg burnt to the ground. I was like, well, I don't want to go back into the workforce, so what can I do? And I had an actual lean-to building out, with two picnic tables underneath it, and started taking some of my scrap glass out there and asking people if they wanted to make their own item. And it has just exploded. Last year alone, 600 pieces went out of here. - [Laura] Whether you choose to let your own creative juices flow, or just browse and buy, spending a day on this 8-mile loop is a perfect way to see a different side of Gatlinburg. - [Woods] I have people that have visited this area their entire lives, and they didn't know that the arts and crafts community existed. So it's important, not only to educate people that we exist, but also to show them, you know, there is something outside of Gatlinburg that represents this very beautiful, idealistic version of what Gatlinburg used to be. We're not just a tourism town with flashing lights. We have some incredibly handmade items. Even to see the Arts & Crafts Loop--the beauty, the natural beauty of this area. Hopefully people will come and visit us just as much as they want to come and visit the mountains. - Thanks Laura. Long before our classrooms were equipped with computers... Heck, long before schools were air-conditioned, many kids learned their reading, writing and arithmetic in one-room school houses across the country. Well, most of them are long gone of course, but Ed Jones visited one that's been restored to its former glory. Here's Scotts Hill. - I'm 88-years old, but as a kid I was starting school when I was six years old, sure. And one through eighth grade, and I had the same teacher. Back in those days... I'd like to say it was the end of the '30s... it was hard times. - [Ed] Carl White has seen his share of hard times. - And so has the area surrounding his alma mater, Doe Creek School, whose story began during the hardest time in our history. - The civil war turned brother against brother, and Henderson County was no different. This picturesque property started as the final resting place for two brothers who paid the ultimate price in that conflict. - Shortly after the war, a church was added to the cemetery, which became a blessing for generations of children in need of an education. As Carl's brother, Joe can tell us. - Back in those days, public buildings was few and far between. So they started at some period, having school here. - [Ed Jones] A school that molded young minds, from the first through eighth grade for decades. - And after all those years of instruction, there's one name that still echoes inside Doe Creek school. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] Elmer Duck. - [Offscreen Female Speaker] Mr. Elmer Duck. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] Mr. Elmer Duck, that was my great uncle. - [Offscreen Female Speaker] He taught this school for 54 years. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] Back then, if you went through the eighth grade, and was a good student and so on-- and they had some kind of exam--if you could pass that, you could get certified to teach. - He did that and he taught for years, and he was a good teacher. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] Oh, he was a fine old man, lenient old man. Back in those days, they'd paddle, but I never know'd but two boys that got paddled, and they very well needed it. - [Ed] After Elmer bid farewell to his final pupil, in 1949, the school itself was left in need. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] After that, the old building just sat here for a long time, and no repairs or nothing. It was getting in bad shape when we restored it. - [Ed] Restored, bringing us to the second part of our story, which also began with the Doe Creek Cemetery, and a chance meeting between Freddie Kennedy and friends. - Jared Taylor and Bill Snyder came down, and were installing two veteran markers. And we just kind of looked back here at the old building, and it was in bad need of repair. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] He asked me, would I help them get it restored. So I called Steve MacDaniel, and he called Mr. Carroll Van West, and we got it going. - [Ed] The going was tough. But as the old saying goes, the tough got going. - [Ed] One of the go-getters was Betty Gurley Hughes, whose father was a student at Doe Creek. - [Betty] Michael Gavin, who was with the MTSU Center for Historical Preservation, supervised the restoration of the building. With his help, I did the research, and did the script for the Tennessee Historical Commission marker. We have it on the National Register of Historic Places. So even though Michael is no longer with us, he played a big part in the restoration, and we probably wouldn't have the restored school today, were it not for him. - [Ed] This humble backwoods building is recognized as Tennessee's oldest existing log school, and has become a great source of community pride. - That pride is showcased the first Saturday of every October, as the community and dignitaries from across the state celebrate Doe Creek Day. - Though the doors of that little school has been closed for many, many decades, it's still educating today. - [Offscreen Male Speaker] What amazed me is the amount of response we got out of the people that had either been to school here or had relatives that did. - [Offscreen Speaker] I was really thrilled by seeing that fixed up thataway. You don't know how, something like that, what it means to you until it goes. ♪ We'll see the lights of glory... ♪ - [Ed] Attending the gathering, you get the feeling that Mr. Duck is looking down with pride at what's become of his beloved institution. His legacy and the legacies of Carl and his fellow classmates will live on in the little one-room school house near Doe Creek. - Thanks, Ed. Sometimes you just got to leave your healthy diet at home and take a road trip to one of those out-of-the way mom-and-pop cafes. The kind of place where the burgers are delicious, the prices are right, and the people are friendly. Well, one such find takes us to Manchester, where a former mayor and his family keep a 52-year-old tradition alive and sizzling. - There was a time when every town had a favorite, locally owned burger joint. Thanks to a place called Jiffy Burger, Manchester, Tennessee still does. ♪ Sha-Boom, sha-boom, that was my heart, whoa whoa whoa... ♪ - David and Nancy Pennington's staff serves up highly praised burgers and other specialties to countless regulars. And now even to travelers, who venture in from Interstate 24. So I was determined to discover the secret to keeping this timeless diner thriving since 1965. - All you got to do is have good food, open up on time, close on time, and treat the people right. - [Joe Elmore] When you walk in, you immediately see the small, open kitchen full of the smells and sizzling sounds of those time-tested burgers. What's the secret to making a great Jiffy burger? - Well, here's the secret: one thing, we use ground chuck. And the next thing is that we actually pat our own hamburgers every day. We don't pat them up a week at a time or two or three days at a time. We pat them up every night after we close. - We got a baked potato that we actually call a football. It's guaranteed to weigh no less than 12 ounces, and can weigh 22 ounces. So it's almost football-size. - We've had the same chili since 1965, except for, we took the onions out of it. We used to have put the onions in the chili, but there's a lot of people don't eat 'em. - Alrighty, I'll be right out with it. - [Joe Elmore] Just like in the old days, they offer a curb service... - [Waitress] Hello, Mr. England. - [Joe Elmore] So you don't have to leave your car to eat. But then you'd miss out on one of the many other highlights of this local landmark. - [Joe Elmore] You know, somebody would walk in here, and they might get the idea that you're kind of into old stuff. - [David] Yeah. You would think that, just looking around. We got a 5,000 square-foot warehouse, but we've got 20,000 square-foot of stuff in it. They come here for two reasons. One is of course our food, and because we're so involved with the community, but also they like to see different stuff. And we got plenty of stuff to bring up here. - [Joe Elmore] When David served as Manchester Mayor, from 2006 to 2014, he turned the keys to the store over to wife, Nancy and daughter, Stacy, and never really got them back. - And somebody asked me one time, said, do you have to go down there and help them do anything? I said, Let me just tell you something. If you know Nancy and Tracy, you know that they don't need no help. They know what they're doing. - [Joe] Who's the boss? - It has been a good balance because I let him be the boss. - No, she lets him think he's the boss. - If you let him think he's the boss, it works a lot better. So. - [Joe] As everyone knows, a music festival brought worldwide attention to Manchester. So to honor it, the Penningtons produce a burger that's bound to rock your taste buds. - Hey, thanks, Melissa. Great. - That's our famous Bonnaroo burger. - Alright, I can't wait. Yeah, Jiffy Burger is the only place authorized to use the name Bonnaroo in their Bonnaroo burger. You get burger, onion ring, a fried egg and bacon, and who could ask for more? - [Joe] No matter what you order, it seems to always include a big family-size serving of hospitality, free of charge. - One of the reasons I think we've been so successful is because when you walk in the door, the first thing you're gonna see is a smile. - [Nancy] We want everybody to know when they come in here, you're appreciated. You know, and it's like coming into a, it's a family business. So we know everyone on a first-name basis. And if we don't, we know it before they leave. - You all enjoy! - [Stacy] If you meet some of the people over here and ask them how long they've worked here, I don't think you'll get an answer today under 15 years. Melissa has been here since she was 16. She's 46. - You're not supposed to tell. ♪ Boom Sha-boom, sha-boom, honey boom sha-boom ♪ - [David] We don't just sell hamburgers here now. We've become a destination. A lot of people plan their trip to come here. You know, and like if they're traveling on the interstate, I mean, they actually pull off and come here. - [Narrator] So while Bonnaroo put Manchester on the big map, this little diner has become a star in its own right. That is, when it comes to good meals and great memories. - I think people, once they step in the door, it just relaxes them. They feel like... they think about when they was kids, if they're grown, you know. They think about, you know, that was a little slower time. - If you're looking for a great view of the Nashville skyline, well, there are several locations to choose from. Susan Watson found one of the best when she took a tour of Nashville's 8th Avenue Reservoir. In addition to the view, she also found some interesting secrets about the place you may not know about. - [Susan] It's an imposing stone structure sitting high atop a hill in the heart of Nashville: the 8th Avenue Reservoir, whose thick limestone walls contain millions of gallons of water, and more than a hundred years of fascinating history. - Officially designated as an American landmark in 1971, it's not been open to the public for a century. But we've been granted special access. - And despite the slightly overcast day, the view of the city is breathtaking. The gate house overlooking the reservoir is a charming edifice that was once where workmen turned the valves to direct the water to citizens and businesses. It was the perfect spot to meet up with Gilbert Nave, Assistant Water Director, and Sonia Allman, Manager of Strategic Communications, both with the Metro Water Department, to find out about this impressive operation. - [Sonia] Nashville had actually made several attempts to have a public water supply, beginning in the early 1800s. This was not the first reservoir. This was truly the third reservoir, essentially our third water system, and is the one that is still in use today. - [Gilbert] Construction started in August of 1886, and concluded in August of 1889. The Cumberland River is our water source, and the water was pumped up here, and settled in one side of the basin and the clearer portion of the water was fed to the city for its use for firefighting and consumption. - [Susan] Yes, it was pretty basic back in the day, with no cover it was open to birds flying over it, and ducks swimming in it. And in the early 1900s, it was a popular spot for a Sunday afternoon rowboat ride. And when the river-water settled and the sediment reached a certain level... - [Gilbert] Mule teams with a pond scoop would be hoisted over the wall, led down in there, and there of course were just mud and muck, and that would be... the mules would pull that into pond scoops that would be hoisted back over the wall and disposed of. - [Susan] After a cholera epidemic had claimed more than 2,000 lives in Nashville in the early 1900s, sodium hypochlorite began to be used for purification and to mitigate algae. - [Gilbert] Copper sulfate was an agent, a blue crystal that actually would be placed in a burlap bag. And you had two gentlemen that would be in a rowboat. One would pull the burlap bag and the water behind them to disperse the copper sulfate with water. - [Susan] All in a day's work at the time. But what happened shortly after midnight on November 5th, 1912, was unlike anything the city had ever experienced. - [Gilbert] There was a rupture in the southeast wall, which is probably almost directly behind me. It was about 200 linear feet of wall was displaced. About 25 million gallons of water went rolling out. - [Susan] Suddenly people were awakened by a loud noise that sounded like thunder. Water rushed south, down Kirkpatrick hill, washing people out of their beds, and filling homes with mud and debris. - [Gilbert] I was reading of one account where one family... Actually, he pulled his daughter off the bed, set them up a tree, set his wife up in a tree, until the water subsided and kind of kept them as safe. Houses were washed off their foundation. People's personal belongings wound up several hundreds of yards downstream. The cause for that was that basically it was a slip. The ground outside the base of the walls, that particular point, had saturated with water, and the weight of the wall and the lack of support for that, you know, just allowed it to slip. And it didn't take a lot to slip for it to create that fracture in the wall. - [Susan] Miraculously, no human lives were lost. Although property damage was extensive. - [Sonia] We had crews that went out and met with each property owner to determine property losses, damage to homes, and all of that was surveyed, and they were paid for their losses. When you look at those ledgers, which we actually still have, it's quite interesting to see the losses. They had everything from coal buckets to chickens, to quarts of preserves that they had canned. - [Susan] Nearly $100,000 was paid out to cover the personal property losses. It took about a year, and $100,000, to repair the wall. Legend has it, some of the stone used to make the repair came from nearby Fort Negley. Now you might be wondering, could this ever happen again? - [John Barnett] We monitor for any kind of slope and stability, any instability in the wall itself, or any changes in the groundwater. And we do that every-other week. - [Susan] John Barnett, a Project Manager with Metro Water Services, says the renovations underway will ensure that this reservoir will remain a vital part of Nashville's water system for generations to come. - [John Barnett] The east side of the reservoir is currently in service and holds about 25 million gallons. Once the west basin is completely drained, we'll construct a new basin--concrete cast-in-place structure inside. Once completed, we'll drain the east reservoir, and continue the construction into that basin as well. - We will also renovate the exterior of the existing structure and a historic restoration on the gate house and the surrounding parapet wall. - [Susan] The story of the 8th Avenue Reservoir is an interesting one in the history of Nashville. And now this stone sentinel overlooking a rapidly changing skyline stands ready to meet the demands of a growing population well into the next century. - Well, that's going to do it for this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." Thanks a lot for joining us. Don't forget our website, Tennesseecrossroads.org. You can follow us on Facebook and by all means, join us here next week. See you then
November 11, 2021
Season 35 | Episode 17
Laura Faber explores Gatlinburg's arts and crafts community. Ed Jones tours Historic Doe Creek Schoolhouse. Joe Elmore dines at Jiffy Burger. Susan Watson climbs atop Nashville's 8th Avenue Reservoir.