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- This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we travel to Union City to discover the rescue of a pioneer village. Then explore a couple's Victorian B&B near the Tennessee river, and finally pay a visit to the oldest cafe in Memphis, the Arcade Downtown. Hi everybody, I'm Joel Elmore. Welcome to another edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Our first stop is Union City and Discovery Park of America. Now that's a fun place to visit any time of the year but we were there recently to explore a mission of saving a pioneer village. It's a project that requires unique talents of a team of hop notch preservationist. Since Discovery Park of America opened in 2013, it's attracted millions of children and adults. And for good reason, with dazzling exhibits and interactive hands on experiences, is a first class destination for entertainment and education. A place to be inspired by science, technology, and of course, history. An important historical component is here by the parks North lake. It's called the Settlement. A collection of 13 hand hewed log buildings from the 19th century, all donated by families from the area. Scott Williams the parks president and CEO showed me around. - Of course, the centerpiece is a statue of David Crockett. David Crockett settled here in 1822. He was one of the first settlers here and one of the first hunters around nearby Reelfoot Lake. And so we tell a little bit of the Davey Crockett story here as well. It's set up like a community, similar to what one would've found, probably the houses would've been spread out a little more apart as people farmed. We also have agriculture here, so we have a heritage garden, where people can see how fruits and vegetables and food was grown back then. So that's another way people can see what was going on in the past. - But after nearly a decade of life at the park, the logs are definitely showing their age, mostly due the water damage. Damage that threatens both structural integrity and safety. - We sought out a lot of different people to talk to about what we should do, and we settled with Leatherwood because they seemed to get what we were all about. Of course they were Tennesseans, which is a great thing for us. - By the way, Leatherwood has provided historic building restorations across the country. The man in charge as company president, Vic Hood. - No two per projects are alike, and we really are faced with doing something new all the time. And that's a part of the enjoyment of what we do. We're taking out the dobbing and chinking in the building. And we're trying to find areas that are decayed, what's decayed, what's not. And we're discovering quite a bit more decay than we anticipated. Most everything we've run into is related to water. And, so that's been our main culprit in this case. - This is a painstaking months long project that'll cost the park about a half million dollars. A lot of expense, a lot of very hard work just to save a bunch of old logs. But when you're preserving a valuable piece of Tennessee history, it's all worthwhile. - Absolutely. We cannot forget our history. History is crucial to our future. And so, as much as we and everybody else in Tennessee can help contribute to taking care of history. That's a great thing. - The Leatherwood team started with the two smallest structures, a hog barn, and smokehouse, then moved on to larger buildings. - This is a dog truck long house. They call it the Davy Crockett house. And we had to disassemble the second story because it had shifted to one side and it was causing water to cascade down the side of the building. And as that water cascaded down, it was causing decay. - A lot of those replacement logs came from this neglected 1800s house in Franklin. Each one carefully removed before transporting it to the Union City side. Along the way, Vix discovered a number of problems due to a structure's original construction. No one said all settlers were expert craftsmen. - They cobbled that together and they did it on top of a log that they put in upside down. This is a half dovetail notch, but it's supposed to drain water, not catch it. See water hits there and it goes into the log that way. And if it flipped over, it wouldn't do that. - Most of the cabins have survived about two centuries of weather and wear. Now thanks to some new and old tech technology, visitors get safely and realistically experience 19th century life in the country. - Our objective here with this project is that the settlement will be around 10, 20, 30 years in the future, so that children and adults who visit here will be able to see how things were done in the past, how people lived, how they built their cabins, how their food was preserved. We tell all those stories here at Discovery Park. - They're doing a great job of preserving history. In speaking of preservation, we hope we can count on you to keep Crossroads traveling. This is it folks, the final week of our campaign to keep us on the air. Now, if you haven't pledged yet, please help us reach our goal. And if you have well, thanks a lot. And right now, NPT president and CEO, Becky Magura is gonna bring us up to date on where we stand, Becky. - That's right, Joe. We set a goal of 400 contributions at any amount, to keep Crossroads Travlin throughout 2022. Reaching that goal means we'll keep Tennessee Crossroads on the air during Nashville Public Televisions, March membership drive. And right now we've heard from 271 viewers, who have made that leap to become supporters. - Fantastic, but we still have a ways to go, and we need your help to make it happen. A contribution that any amount helps us reach our goal of stand on the air next month. So we can keep sharing great stories with you from across our great state. How long have you been a Crossroads viewer? One year, 10? How about 35 years? Think of all the memories we've made together. We wanna keep making those memories. The clock is ticking, but I know we can count on you. Please call the number on your screen or pledge online at tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. - We are so proud that you have made Tennessee Crossroads one of the most watched locally produced programs in the entire PBS system. We appreciate your loyalty. and love being able to count on you as members of the crossroads family. You keep Joe and isn't he a treasure? And our entire Tennessee Crossroads crew on the road, with your generous financial support. And we have some wonderful ways to show our appreciation when you make a pledge. - [Announcer] You can help upkeep Crossroads Travlin with the financial gift, that's just right for you. Donate at any amount and you receive a Tennessee Crossroads official traveler sticker. At $60 a year or $5 per 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 Travlin with this polyester blend short sleeve t-shirt, and for a true taste of crossroads, we'll be happy to send you a bag of Bongo Java Rambler Blend Coffee for $96, or $8 a month. Thanks for keeping Crossroads Travlin. - Whether you choose to wear the cap or the t-shirt, you can take pride in the fact that you're helping provide quality family friendly entertainment for the whole volunteer estate. So show that volunteer spirit now by calling the number on your screen or going to or tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. You've helped make Tennessee Crossroads what it is today. And together we can continue to provide the stories that you love. - We know you love watching Joe and the crew. Well, how would you like to meet them? We hope you'll join us for a fun filled afternoon, on Sunday, February 20th at Jackalope Brewing Company. NPT day will be a family friendly event, where the whole crossroads crew can express in person how much we appreciate your support. - I'm looking forward to it. That's gonna be a great time. And hopefully we can all celebrate reaching our Keep Crossroads Travlin goal of 400 contributions. And keeping the show on the air in March. We're so thankful for our wonderful viewers. We constantly receive comments telling us how much you love the show. So your encouragement inspires us to keep searching for great stories. And right now we need your support to keep bringing you the best of Tennessee, from the mighty Mississippi to the great Smokey mountains. Please pledge now, and thank you. - Joe, I know it takes a lot of caffeine to keep you and the crew rambling. Am I right? - Absolutely right Becky. Joe's not Joe without his jaw. Thankfully Bongo Java has us covered. - They sure do. Bongo Java, Nashville's oldest and most honored coffee company paid tribute to us recently, by creating Tennessee Crossroad's very own blend of coffee. Here's a look behind the scenes at the creation of rambler blend. - Well, we're at the bongo Java roasting facility and we've got roasting going on in the background. And this is Bob Bernstein, who is the founder of Bongo Java. Why did you guys wanna get involved with Tennessee Crossroads and NPT? - This is exciting for us, 'cause we're all about local and about distinguished and local character and all of that. So as Nashville and the state has changed so much and a lot of these places are disappearing that you guys do a great job of profiling what makes this city and the state special. So it's awesome to be part of that. - We're honored to be partnering with you on this. We're gonna be able to get our own roast out there to the public. - We're gonna work with our roast guys and our tasters and come up with a blend that's just for you. If it's good for us, it's good for you, Tennessee Crossroads and hopefully people at home will enjoy it in the morning, afternoon, late at night, whatever they feel like. - I'm looking forward to yes to it. - Thank you. - I can smell those roasted beans now. And so can you, with your pledge of support at the $96 level, we'd love to send you a delicious bag of Bongo Java's Rambler Blend. I said it before, and I'll say it again. The best part of waking up, is Crossroads in your cup. - That's a fact Becky. I could use a cup right now, and crossroads could use your help right now. Our goal of 400 pledges is within reach, and you alone have the power to keep Crossroads Travlin. We've been together for 35 years. Let's make it another 35, which would make me, nearly 50. I know we can rely on your generosity more than you can rely on my maths skills. So please put us over the top by calling the number on your screen or going to tennesseecrossroads.org/donate. And thanks a lot. - One of the things I love about Tennessee Crossroads is how involved the viewers are, from sharing story ideas, to visiting places featured on the show. Some of you have even told us that you've plan your whole vacations based on our show. We're so proud that Tennessee Crossroads has become a trusted guide for new places to explore and people to meet. We sincerely thank you for that trust and for your support. - That's so true, Becky. I love the fact that the show has such a positive impact on our communities across the state. Folks featured on the show often thank us for helping their businesses grow. I'm kind of proud of the fact that we're able to recognize their hard work through the stories we share. When you think about it, by contributing to Tennessee Crossroads, you're helping small businesses and fellow Tennesseans everywhere we travel. Won't you please help us continue the mission we've been on these years? Thank you. - As we wrap up our 2022 campaign, we sincerely thank you, for all you do to keep Crossroads Travlin into the future. All right Joe, now don't keep us in suspense. Where are we heading next? - I'm gonna tell you. Cindy Carter has taken us to the lovely little town of Clifton. It's a place where a beautiful old home is providing new visitors with a wonderful set of memories. - In Clifton Tennessee, a front porch is a revered space, a place for conversation and relaxation. - We have a front porch, a back porch and a side porch. You can take a choice. - And the porches at the Commodore Inn at Clifton offer a great view of a world where life moves at a much slower pace. - Everybody in town knows everybody. - We are a very small town. We don't even have a traffic light. - Inn keepers Sharon and John Demont are often invited to sit a spell with their guests, who have chosen to vacation or staycation, at this beautiful and historic Victorian home. - Ambiance of a time going by where people sit here and they just feel as though they're back in the 1900s with modern conveniences. - We try to make people feel like this is their house. - The house was built in 1892 and renovated into a bed and breakfast in 2016, a blend of past and present day delights. - We have five rooms each with a king size bed, private bath with all the amenities of... - A modern hotel. - A modern hotel. They have the powerless seating area to sit and have conversation and fellowship. - The Inn is positioned about a block from Clifton's main street and the Tennessee river. A prominent location for the prominent family who originally lived here. William Hughes and his wife Lillian, raised their nine children in their lovely and a big lavish home. - Mr. Hughes was local businessman, kind of one of the movers shakers of the whole area, and they pretty much ran the town, I guess, for quite some time, very opulent. - I think they were the first families with electricity. They had the extras here. - And many of those historic extras remain intact and contribute to the Inn's modern day guest experience. - Pretty much everything in the house, floors, woodwork, hinges, knobs, as Sharon says, are all original. If you look later at all, even the hinges on the doors are very ornate with all stamped diagram designs and then the whatnot. - The home's original pocket doors close off the parlor. A favorite room in the house. The bedrooms are also furnished in a way that reflects the home's overall ambiance, including the vintage clawfoot bathtubs. The hallways are spacious, after all, they did once accommodate a lot of children. And the stairways bring you to that by gone era, with each and every step. The property features this fully restored one room schoolhouse, right next to the main building. Now William Hughes built this schoolhouse specifically for are his nine children and a few cousins, and it remains relatively untouched. You can still see chalk writing on the wall. This says "correct, sit down." - A piece of history here that there isn't any other homes that have it. - The Inn keepers plan to eventually hold artist gatherings at the little schoolhouse and on the grounds, believing there is plenty of inspiration to be found on the property and in the surrounding community. - It's a cool little spot. You like cranberry pecan cake. - The demands enjoy bringing people together. The couple settled in the area after fleeing their Florida home during a hurricane. So they completely understand why visitors are drawn to the Commodore Inn. In fact, they say their guest book is filled with the names of visitors who hail from all around the world. People who are looking for a unique experience as they slow things down. - The peace and quiet and tranquility I guess is the big drawer. - But it's also the big location. - And location... - We're halfway between Nashville and Memphis. So people who come here to visit especially from other countries, they fly into one of the cities to travel to the other city, and they will look for historic bed and breakfast. And that's how they've come here. - The Inn is now listed on the National Historic Register. It's been a part of this community for more than 100 years. And so folks around here are glad the old home brings new faces, new friends into Clifton. - We have numerous towns people come by, stop and say, "I just wanna say thank you for bringing this home back and and making it what it is today." - And today, The Commodore Inn at Clifton is a picturesque place, with an inviting front porch, where guests and neighbors can just relax, take a few breaths and stay a while. - A couple of blocks off Beale Street in Memphis sits an old fashioned diner called the Arcade. Now the Arcade holds the distinction of being Memphis oldest cafe. Tammi Arender went there to find out how this eatery has managed to keep its doors open, even when downtown Memphis was a ghost town. - Step inside the Arcade Restaurant in downtown Memphis, and step back into a world where life was slower, cell phones didn't exist, and saturated fat was never spoken. - Let me know if there's anything I can do to help. - Thank you. - Harry Zepeto greets his customers with his gracious Greek grade, the third generation to own the oldest restaurant in Memphis, opened by his grandfather in 1919. - There was a pot belly stove in the middle about right there where you are, and they heated and cooked on it. And business was good. He chose this location 'cause we were right in the middle of three train stations, and the biggest one's across the street, and was one down here and ones at the North. - Situated at the corner of South Main Street and Calhoun Avenue, the original building was a small one story wood frame structure. Harry's grandfather tore it down, and built this building in a Greek revival style. - It was called the Paris Cafe when he bought it, and he changed it to the Arcade right away. He had seen that name in New York and then in Atlanta also, and the connotation then was kind like we think of a mall, food, people, things, places, stuff to do, that sort of thing. So 10 years or so later they leased a hotel across the street, in that spot right there, and changed the name to the Arcade Hotel. - The last remodel came in the fifties, but the boomerang tabletop boots and the soda fountain remain. You can still get an old fashioned milkshake. Even Memphis' most famous resident, Elvis, had a special spot. - And he'd come in this back door right there and he'd sit with his back to where we are now. And the mirror in front did not have the logo on. And he'd sit there and he could see who was coming up behind him. And if he had to get out, then he'd run back out the door. - The King's table is the most popular among out of town guest. Like these three ladies who came all the way from Corsicana, Texas. For Debbie Wright, it's worth traveling three states and 500 miles, for the chance to sit where Elvis sat. - We're just big Elvis fans. And we feel like a little bit a part of him and what he experienced and day to day life. He was a very famous person, but he was an ordinary guy like all of just like us too. - Well, what about the food? - That was great, it great. That was the best breakfast. - Besides the biscuits and buttery pancakes, there's also a blue plate lunch each day. - Lima be mashed potato Dave. Every Friday we have catfish. - Mary Dyer has been a part of this kitchen since 1958, making sure that customers are fed the most fabulous Southern fare they've ever tasted. The food has been consistent and kept customers coming in, even through the lean times, from the depression, to the assassination of Dr. Martin through king Jr, which happened just a block away. Harry's grandfather was told to shut down the restaurant just after the civil rights leader was shot in April of 68. - National guard had been called in. I don't think they were there yet, but the place was crawling with folks. You can imagine. And so he went home. And then they woke him up about five or six that morning only an hour or two or three after he gotten there and said, "Would you come back and open up? We need food." - When the national guard left, the once thriving business started to struggle. But the Zepeto's family managed to hang on. And with the rebirth of Memphis' downtown, the Arcade has become one of the city's most popular dining destinations. Harry believes is because he offers a different experience. - If you go around town or in this city or any other, certainly there's more chance than there are local London operating places. And you can look in... I get five restaurant magazines a week probably. So you can thumb through all of these things and go to a design crew at a school somewhere. And they're all gonna end up looking the same. They really are. I think we've got our niche here and it's neat. - With such an nostalgic feel in an authentic 1950s look, the Arcade has been seen in more than 30 movies, from "Walk the Line", to "The Firm", to "Great Balls of Fire." While movie making has helped the Mom and Pop Restaurant back on the map, it's the meals and good deals that keep customers coming back for more. - Y'all have a good day. - You too. - Everybody talks about the restaurant being a big deal, and it is, but it's like having a party at your home. It's like, you're gonna have a hundred people over to your house. You clean and you get ready and you prep for what you're gonna do and you know what you're gonna do, and then you enjoy yourself when it comes. That's all. - So you still enjoy yourself? - Absolutely. Wouldn't be here if I didn't. - It's quite a place. Well with that, we say goodbye for another edition of Tennessee Crossroads. After I remind you of our website, tennesseecrossroads.org. You can follow us on Facebook, of course. And please help keep Crossroads Travlin.
February 10, 2022
Season 35 | Episode 27
Joe Elmore travels to Union City to discover the rescue of a pioneer village. Cindy Carter explores a Victorian B&B near the Tennessee river. And Tammi Arender pays a visit to the oldest café in Memphis, the Arcade downtown.