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- This time on "Tennessee Crossroads," we visited a mansion full of history and memories outside of Nashville. Then meet an award-winning weaver of Tennessee wide oak baskets. We'll visit a popular dining and getaway attraction near Pickwick dam and explore an early 20th century style school house in Nolensville. That's the lineup for this edition of Tennessee crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, welcome. We've all been to weddings and gatherings filled with great food, family and laughter. Well, in our first story, Miranda Cohen takes us to a special place on the outskirts of Nashville where Tennesseans have celebrated those milestones for centuries. A beautiful mansion called Riverwood. - [Miranda] If ever a house had a perfect address, it would be this one. 1833 Welcome Lane, says it all. Located in Davidson County between east Nashville and Inglewood quietly tucked in these majestic trees, you will find stately Riverwood mansion. The current owner of Riverwood mansion is now Debbie Sutton and she is well-versed in the house and its history. Built somewhere between 1795 and 1799, Alexander Porter named his original home Tammany Woods. And as his textile fortune grew, so did his family. And so did his house. - They built the first part of the house, which was, uhh four rooms, 20 by 20. Two on the bottom two on top, but there was a smoke house attached. There's only two known in Tennessee homes that had the smoke house attached. - [Miranda] As time went by the 2,500 acre estate stretched all the way to the Cumberland and was renamed Riverwood. The opulent mansion passed through the hands of prominent Tennessee judge William Cooper, then to his daughter, Sarah Burch, whose husband was a physician. And at one time the Dean of the Vanderbilt medical school. With its grand entrance and elegant decor, it became one of the most fashionable addresses in Tennessee, especially at the holidays. - [Debbie] It was always known as the entertainment home in Nashville, they used to hold an annual Christmas party and you knew you made it socially. If you were invited. And the last one held, they had 850 attendees. So it was, it was definitely a social status. If you had that invitation. - [Miranda] In fact, seven us presidents attended grand parties within these walls. Were warmed by these fires and possibly even danced on these wooden floors. - [Debbie] The mantles are all original. The light sconces on the walls are original. The hardwood floors are all originals. - One of the most interesting pieces of furniture here at Riverwood is this sofa. It is made entirely of horse hair and leather. It is authentic. It has been in this house the entire time. And since seven presidents visited this home, it is quite likely. They each sat on this sofa. The home remained a private residence until the late 1970s. Then in the 1990s, it was named a historic event home. And once again, rang with laughter, music, swirling gowns and clinking glasses. - The house loves parties. It just thrives on the dancing and the music and the laughs and the smiles. And it's just amazing. - [ Miranda] Now Riverwood mansion is a premier venue for corporate events, parties, and retreats, and the 10,000 square foot home. And it's more than 4,000 square foot covered Pavilion is the perfect place to say I do. - I think what they're looking for is more, what I call timeless. They can look at their wedding photos and they never go out of style. - Debbie, these rooms are beautiful. Tell me a little bit about this area of the House. - Thank you. This is what we call the triple parlor and it's, it's a wonderful blank slate for people to use for different applications. Buffet, stations, bars, cocktail tables, lots of weddings. Miss Birch was married in the very first room of the triple parlor. - Sutton and her team can create the perfect backdrop for weddings dreams are made of. Fairy tales and themed extravaganzas holiday and Halloween weddings from lavish to elegant or rustic and cozy. - So we like to say we can offer as much or as little as a client would like. Some girls, especially our destination girls, want a one-stop shop. They wanted made as easy for them as possible. Any theme or, or look that someone's after. I feel like we can create that for them. - The lush landscaping sprawls for more than eight acres decked out in seasonal splendor by mother nature herself. And Sutton says, once you make memories in this centuries old mansion, they will remain in the structure just like the bricks and stone. - We are so thankful just to preserve a little park-like area in the middle of a neighborhood basically. Once you're here, we want you to feel like it's part of you. Preserving the history, you know, maintaining the structure and the grounds and just making people's dreams come true. That's my favorite part of my job. - Thanks Miranda. The art basket weaving goes back thousands of years, sadly, thanks to modern machinery. There aren't many weavers left and few, if any, have the expertise of Sue Williams, Cindy Carter visited the middle Tennessee artists recently and found out why she has a basket full of awards. - [Cindy] Sue Williams sets out from her country home and heads deep into the woods of Tennessee where the wide Oaks grow tall and true - We have a lot of varieties of Oak, but a lot Oak is the only one. - The only one indeed when you're an award-winning wide Oak basket maker and artist. - But baskets, is my thing. - [Cindy] For decades, Sues' strong hands and nimble thinkers have weaved together. Hundreds of beautiful and intricate white Oak baskets. She's an expert. - And the growth rings go this way. - She's an artist. She's the keeper of a folk tradition rooted in nearby cannon county. Part of a history that grew out of necessity. - And most of my baskets are considered egg baskets and an egg basket people use during the depression. And afterwards, when there was no work away from home and they took the basket to hen house gathered the eggs. - [Cindy] Sue also makes the larger market baskets, which families once used to carry garden vegetables to and from the local market. - And I think you'll see that in most of my baskets, some of the Heartwood is darker than others. - During the depression cannon county folks realized they could also make these baskets to sell or trade for goods. The white Oak was a way forward. - You could break it down and pull it by growth rings. And then they could use it. They could bottom chairs, they could make baskets. So cannon county was sorta now, baskets, chairs, and whiskey. And then they would take that out of the county to sale. - As time passed the now famous Kennon county, white Oak baskets transitioned from function to art and Sue's artwork is considered among the elite. She whittles and weaves her white Oak baskets with extra care. - After everything is broke down and all supplies are ready. You scrape the weavers. You for the ribs. You have to form the handle and the - So Ms. Sue this is a really intricate process. How long does it take to make these baskets? - This one is my Gurdy Sue basket. It takes, week and a half to two weeks. This is my egg basket. I can make it in a week. - And How about big Bertha? - Big Bertha. I spent six to six and a half years. - Sue dedicates so much time and effort to her craft. She admits when customers come around, it can be hard letting go. - I had a lady that came from Seattle Washington. She went to the art center in cannon county and she looked around and I had one basket down there. Well, they called and asked, could she come to my house? I said, sure, send her. She came in and she said, I want that, that, that and that. And I said, wait a minute. - So how can you tell if your basket is cannon county? Well, miss Sue says every basket making region and community has a unique signature tie. This is how you can tell it's Canon county. - I always do the cannon county tie and that's like an X with the loop over the top. - And when Sue isn't piecing together the perfect cannon county wide Oak basket, she's sharing her years of experience with others - I enjoy doing it, but I also enjoy teaching it. It's wonderful to meet all the people that are interested. - It's also wonderful. Sue says to know that she's teaching a new generation of powerful art form that should be preserved. - I want to pass on that tradition. - Sue's baskets carry that tradition of folklore art, fashion from a Tennessee wide Oak. - Thank you, Cindy. Our next stops a little piece of paradise near Pickwick dam in Southwest Tennessee, Jay and Cher Harrison built it in 2011 and they get the outpost a claim for its delicious dining. It's also evolved into a unique, complete family getaway Pickwick lake comprises the north end of the Tennessee. Tombigbee waterway. It's a popular place for fishing and Family getaways And just a few miles north in harden county, Tennessee, you'll find this rustic settlement of sorts that beckons travelers to stop and stay awhile. They all post grew from a single grocery store in bait shop to an award-winning restaurant and family destination. It began taking shape in 2011, thanks to the vision and hard work of Jay and Cher Harrison. A couple who followed their dream. Despite the doubts of naysayers. - We were told here, people pull up in the parking lot and tell us if we didn't sell alcohol. Or if we didn't say, if we weren't open on Sundays, it wouldn't be open. And, but we believed in, but I kept feeling led to do it and to be, do something here also to give back. And, and that's how we, how we want that being over here. - Thanks to his background and construction. Jay handled the design and most of the muscle to building. The outpost restaurant had to be expanded several times to accommodate crowds of locals and lake visitors aligned. - We just opened the first room of the restaurant with four tables and we built a deck. So we enclosed the deck when we could several months later and built another deck. So I think we're on our that's our fourth deck I've laid. So we build one and then close it and build one. And then close it. - Diners can enjoy breakfast and lunch six days a week. And the challenge may be what to choose. The extensive menu includes everything from juicy burgers to BLTs. From special salads to loaded spuds, but the main menu item will Rouse your senses, As soon as you arrive Their slow cook barbecue has been hailed at some of the best in west Tennessee. - I guess, growing up in Memphis, recognizing the barbecue over the years, actually, I never realized why I paid so much attention to restaurants and good food in Memphis, but I also remember there's a difference in barbecue now. And a lot of restaurants, you go to a lot of places. They, they cook differently than what we used to. And we actually gone back to the old way and we do it. There's still the way that I was taught years ago. - Another food favorite is an outpost original hog fries. - We use it like a spicy waffle fry and then load it with our barbecue pulled pork and top it with jalapenos and cheese and our secret white sauce, barbecue sauce. So we sell a lot of them, the hog fries. Those are good. - Like these ladies, you'll want to try to save at least a little space for their legendary banana pudding. - I had somebody one day asked me, he said, what is your number one thing on the menu? And I said, What do you mean? And they said, well, most restaurants have one item. That's their number one thing that they sell and what they This is what it is. And they build their menu around that. And I said, well, to me, if it's not good, it doesn't need to be on our menu. - All right, we have a pork stud. but we've got the most awesome staff right now. Everyone works in unity and they, they they're friendly with one another. They live together. - Part of J at sheriffs vision was to make the outpost to complete tourist destination with places to explore like the Gristmill replica and with a place to stay like the prospector Inn. It's a cozy BNB with Lakeside decor. That includes some creative touches. Like these drawers made of old soda cases. - It's something not just to come here to eat, but it's also something, well, you can come and stay and have a weekend getaway. - On most visits, You can watch the woodworking magic of bow handcuffed using his trusty chainsaw, the carve-out bears and other beasts for sale at a store. Then there's the lake house gallery, a unique gift shop full of lake decor, original art and lake girl clothing. Oh, and you'll get to meet the outposts mascot Foghorn. And even if you don't see him, you'll hear him as we did during our interview. - Unions or class parties, you know, many receptions, we can scare him off. - Don't worry foghorn, or you still rule the rooster at the outpost, a great place to stop and eat, spend the night and enjoy a true family getaway. - They're so happy that we have a place that they can bring their family. It's peaceful and it's calm. And it's fun for the kids. And you know, it's a family, a good family place to come. - [Joe] You guys are working hard but you're, You're enjoying it. You're doing it together. - Oh yeah, absolutely. Yeah. - School kids in the 21st century learning sprawling high-tech campuses. But back in the early 20th century, most learned their reading, writing, and arithmetic and a simple one room house. Rob Wilds it's hearkens back to those simpler times on a visit to Nolensville. - [Rob] I feel like this meant for baseball, of course, but I feel like this can mean a lot more than a game. I mean, take this very field on this site, back in the thirties, the field was here and it meant an awful lot to the people of the Nolensville community men, a place to come together as a group to have fun and relax. And eventually it led to the building of a school. - Huge cry out. It came out to the old ball game to watch ball game. And this was always something Sunday afternoon, cause they didn't have the lights then. So we had display on Sunday. - Pecky Stephenson remembers those Crowds. And she also remembers when those fans decided that Nolenville's needed a new school. So, in 1937 deep in the depression, they asked Williamson county commissioners to build a school. And they were told "you buy the land, we'll get the school." Those commissioners probably thought they'd heard the last of that school idea. Ah, but they did not figure on the people of the Nolensville community. - oh, ladies got together and asked the county for a more substantial school building. So the county said, if you will come up with the funds to purchase the land, then we will build the building. So they did, they held horse shows and bake sales, et cetera. And the raise, the funds to purchase the land . - Michelle Waive Jenkins is director of the Nolensville museum, which is what that community built school eventually became. - It's a Rosenwall school design that has a full room schoolhouse. The Rosenwald school design is for the rural south area, with the high windows to allow the lining to come in and the high ceilings for ventilation. When you first walk into the museum to your left will be your historic classroom, the 1937 classroom. What it felt like, to go to school. There are four rows of desks. First, second, third, and fourth grade. So the teacher taught all four grades. - That's the way Betty Al's. The Maura remembers the place. She started first grade here. About the time the school opened in 1938. - We didn't have any electricity. The windows that you see here in this room, that was our light. And we had outside toilets. And during the winter, when we would go and that there was snow on the ground, the boys would throw snowballs at us and we couldn't get back to the class. - No electricity, no heat, no indoor plumbing, no computer. Oh no, but a great teacher, Pauline MacArthur, who Betty remembers all these years later. - Well, she was my first teacher. I had it for four years and, I loved her to death. And I was afraid of her too sometimes because she was strict and she had some rules that were hard for me to follow. Sometimes I was a wiggly kid. - Wiggly kids and everybody else in Nolensville community started coming to the school. Pete Mosley was there. His mother, Evelyn ran the cafeteria. - She was excellent cooking, enjoyed doing the trait. The school. Became the heart of the community. - Except for church on Sunday morning, everything we had took place, took place in the school building and on the school grounds for each club events, horse shows, baseball games, basketball games. - Before basketball games, you need a gym. And before lunches, you need a cafeteria. The school didn't have either in the beginning, but that was only a small problem to the folks in Nolensville. Right after world war II, there were lots of surplus buildings. So they went to Nashville and got one. - The men of the area went with their trucks and tore down the war, surplus building. And then they brought it all back to this area and they built the cafeteria, the gym and the restrooms. - The museum reflects that community attitude and its rural roots. Yeah. Believe it or not. Nolensville was once the home to dozens of dairy farms. Pete Moseley says that he exhibits donated by members of the community reflect that. - Great Bob Shotwell, a man that moved into community late low to collect those. He was a craftsman. As far as he rebuilt all the light fixtures in the Minnesota, governor matching and things of this nature. He was excellent Cashman and he collected old toes. And a lot of the tubes came off farms. This spinning wheel and the press was part of augment. Farm came off it, we've got clouds, we've got this, none of the tools and collectible things that came out of part of the community. - Tools, remembrances of local athletes and leaders works of girl and boy Scouts, which continues today by the way, which son buck knows this building. He lives about two minutes away and he saw the place could use a little help. - When I was a Cub scout, I actually used to go here for Cub scout meetings. And I heard that the railing had been really dilapidated outside. And so I took a look over here and I saw that. I mean, you can see the roads are pretty bad. So for the project I decided we were going to Stain on the rails, power wash and put a couple coats of paint on them. And then there's some missing vents also. - You may not know the people remembered in the museum, but you know, what kind of people they were and why a museum like this is important. - It's a flicker into the past. It lets them know what it was like 57, 5 years ago and where they're calling home or where they're passing through. - Worth spending a little time in that flickering past at the Nolensville museum. - Well, with that, we must bid you farewell, but not without a reminder to join us on our website, Tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook and please be right here next week. I'll see you then
November 18, 2021
Season 35 | Episode 18
Miranda Cohen tours majestic Riverwood Mansion. Cindy Carter meets award-winning basket maker Sue Williams. Joe Elmore finds dining paradise at The Outpost. And Rob Wilds learns the 3 Rs at Historic Nolensville School Museum.