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- This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we'll discover the new life of a century old Nashville structure, then explore the rich history of Cragfont Mansion in Castalian Springs, we'll meet a professional chalk artist in Murfreesboro, and finally a blast to the past at a drive in in Lebanon. Everyone, that's the lineup for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, and sure glad to have you. Preservation of an old Tennessee landmark is always momentous, especially when the result is a new place that people can enjoy. Well, such is the case of Nashville's L & L Market, an old structure that might have been destroyed, had it not been for the vision of its current owner, a man who wanted to give something back to his adopted hometown. About 40 years ago, Tamay Ozari moved to Nashville from Turkey and fell in love with the city. When he discovered the L & L building, it had been vacant for years after a history that goes back to the late 20s. That's when apparel manufacturing joined printing and publishing as a leading local industry. The L & L building housed the Hosiery mill making silk stockings. - All the people around the neighborhood, all the ladies, they worked in this Hosiery mill. And years went by, and during the war, they start manufacturing parachute here, 1941 for Fort Campbell. - [Joe] Years later, Genesco made shoes here. Then the building sat empty until Tamay bought it, first, for his restaurant supply business, then, as years went by, he decided to share this architectural gem by making it a home for local retailers. So the national landmark went from this to this, 55,000 square feet of locally owned stores. - I want people with love and passion, what they do, and they brought it here. And whoever comes in here, they will feel it, they will see it and Southern hospitality that goes with it. - [Joe] Now it doesn't get more local than this which according to manager, Jenny Webb, is everything the name implies. - Well Made In Tennessee is the easiest way to shop all of your favorite local products. Anything from Goo Goo, Cluster to Moon Pie, to Loveless. Some of the big names that you know and love, you can always count on us to be fully stocked in those items. But then we have so many other, just maybe newer, up and coming local artists and creators that we're proud to carry as well. - According to Jenny, the number one attraction for visiting millennials, is everything and anything about Dolly. Yeah, I'd vote for her too, I think. An anonymous philosopher once said, "Coffee is a hug in a mug," and Honest Coffee Roasters is a top gathering spot for visitors here to grab a mug and gab with a friend, plus their baristas take their coffee making craft, quite seriously. If you want a pastry to go with that coffee, Five Daughters Bakery is right across the room. And for a unique dining experience, it's hard to beat Culture and Company. It's an open space, cheese, Charcuterie, and wine focused place. And get this, thanks to a rotating conveyor belt, it's an interactive experience like none other. See something you like, just grab it. Need some jewelry, well here's a place where you can watch yours being made before you make a purchase, all thanks to Judith Bright. Since 1995, Judith has been a leading designer of handmade jewelry. Here at the L & L Market store, you can watch these talented ladies creating everything from earrings to bracelets. - We love to make jewelry by hand. And I always say it's jewelry handmade by women for women, one piece at a time. And so, having an open studio concept really drives that home. So you can actually see what you're purchasing and see the people that are viewing your piece with all of their love in their heart. - [Joe] Now Judith says her jewelry is for purposeful gifting and the stones have more purpose than beauty alone. - If you're going through a hard time, for example, you might purchase labradorite, and that's for strength and perseverance. So when you look down at your piece, you just remember, "Okay, keep going." So, it's really with that kind of spirit that we encourage people to really look at what they're buying so that it means something to them. - [Joe] Well, that's just a sample of the merchants that the L & L Market has attracted and the best part for Tamay. - We are 100% leased, we don't have any room left. - [Joe] The history, the timeless architecture, the ambience, they could have gone away in the name of progress with a new building, but Tamay Ozari had a vision of something better, something he could share with the people of his adopted hometown. - I'll be able to give back to Nashville, Tennessee and this community. What I done, I think this place will be years to come. And a lot of people will be happy. - And before we get onto our next story, I wanna share some good news. For years, we've had requests to create some kind of map where viewers could see all the places Tennessee Crossroads has traveled. Well, our incredibly talented digital team has made that dream of interactive reality. After the show, check out the map link at the top of our website @tenneseecrossroads.org. Thanks for your amazing work guys. Well now on with the show. You can go to places and see artifacts from the past and you can go to some places and experience a bit of how the past actually was. But sometimes you get to do both. Rob Wilds was lucky enough to do that when he traveled to the Cragfont Mansion in Castalian Springs. - [Rob] So many historic homes in Tennessee but the flag is flying today at one of the most historic, Cragfont Mansion, tucked away in Castalian Springs. Lowell Fana, site director here, says this was a Marvel of its time. - Cragfont was built back in 1798. It was completed in 1802 by James Winchester. James Winchester was a fighter in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812. More importantly, he and Andrew Jackson and John Overton were the three men who surveyed and created the city of Memphis. He built the largest home in Tennessee with this one. - [Rob] Inside, visitors have so many interesting things to see. - They'll see the house completely restored to its original grandeur, stencil walls, stippled rises on the steps, but it's fully furnished with authentic federal antiques. We have his original hat and apalache that he wore in the war of 1812. We have his rifle that he used in the Revolutionary War, the land grant signed by President James Monroe, which gave him 300 acres for his service during revolution and also the original commission, signed by President James Madison, which made him a Brigadier General. - [Rob] And something that is really rare. - We do have a 1706 doll house in here. And although it is not original to the Winchester home, it is 1706. It's actually older than the home. And the figures in it are made of waxen wood and real human hair for the wigs. And so it's an interesting piece. - So many interesting pieces inside the house. And here in the fields behind the house, history often comes to life, like it is today in the form of these re enactors of soldiers from the war of 1812. Steve Abelt commands this group of re enactors modeled after a real regimen from 1812. - These men were called up they had very little training. And what the government and the army realized, they would have to establish more professional standards for these men. And that's what we're out here doing this particular weekend. - To right, to left, tell all. - [Soldier] Right. - [Soldier] Right, left. - Huzzah. - [Soldier] Stage fright. - [Rob] Well, raw recruits, you know. - To right, to left, tell all. - [Soldier] Right. - [Soldier] Left. - Right. - [Soldier] Left. - Right. - [Rob] And while these reenactment soldiers wanna look and act the part, nobody takes it too seriously. - Yeah. You're taller than the guy in front of you, step past him. You're taller than the guy in front of you. Yeah. Just go to the back of the line dude. - [Rob] And before you know it, these re enactors are looking sharp. - Form to the front, match. Ken, just come up, there you go. - [Soldier] Ken, nicely done buddy. 90 degrees guys, Phil, beautiful, Matt, beautiful. Now, take a 90 degrees turn, 90 degree turn. - Excellent, excellent. - [Rob] Just like the real thing, the re enactor camp has more than soldiers in it. - Diagnosis, we got treatment, we got follow up, we got surgery, venereal disease. - [Rob] The camp doctor, Frank Curtly, from Mississippi, prepares. This unit would later face the bloody British at new Orleans, but the more deadly foe is closer to home. - Diseases is the biggest problem. Camp sanitation and a group of soldiers coming together in one place at one time. - So, while the doctor prepares and the soldiers drill back at the Cragfont House, - Citizens of Sumner County, we stand at a great precipice sir, and ladies. - Myers Brown portrays a politician who does what politicians have always done, makes a speech. There are our new England brethren, who even now, are contemplating a separate piece with the British. - No! - No! - No! - No! - We will not yield in Tennessee. - [Rob] During this point in the war of 1812, things weren't going so well for the US. So, it was important to keep morale up and wait for Andrew Jackson, fresh from victory, to take command of these troops. - [Commander] Three cheers for general Jackson. Hip, hip, Huzzah! Hip, hip, Huzzah! Hip, hip, Huzzah! - [Rob] After all that emotion of a political speech, perhaps a walk through the gardens to calm yourself a bit, maybe even dream of a wedding. Why this is where many modern day folks choose to get married. Speaking of modern day folks, lots of them come out to take a look at the re enactors encampment which is part of the point. - What we try to do is create a portal to the past so that the visitor can leave the 21st century behind, step into the back, actually see, smell, because the smell is a big part, especially after you get rained on in war, to allow the visitor actually to see, in a small way, what America was like 200 years ago. I think it's an excellent way to convey the history to the public. It's something that you can see, touch, feel, it's a little bit different than reading it in the history book. You can actually experience it a little bit more. I think it's a great way to communicate to adults and to children. - [Rob] Now that appeals to the child in me. I know you'll find something that appeals to you at the Cragfont Mansion in Castilian Springs. - Thanks, Rob. What are some of your earliest memories of learning to draw? I'll bet chalk was involved. Whether on a sidewalk or a Blackboard, most of us used chalk to create our first works of art. In our next story, Miranda Cohen introduces us to a Murfreesboro woman who is using her talent with chalk to create some colorful masterpieces and ease the pain of others in the meantime. - [Miranda] Susan Carter is making the world a more beautiful place. Today, she is putting out flowers at Martin's Home and Garden Center in Murfreesboro. She has always had a love of nature and a love of art. And ever since she was a child, she has been drawn to chalk. - There's something about that big box of colors. I could just be with that and be fine all day. - [Miranda] As fate would have it, while working at Martin's in the greenhouse, she just couldn't stop eyeing the giant seven by seven foot Blackboard on the wall. - They decided to give me a shot at drawing it. And now I do one every season. I do four year, and it's all nature theme, seasonal art that I put up. - [Miranda] And that shot blossomed into something beautiful. - I'm inspired by a lot of the plants, it usually is nature based. And birds, I do a lot of bird artwork, but something seasonal too. On this one, I put a lot of the pumpkins and moms. And for the summer one, I had the flowers that bloom in the summertime and animals that we have around here. - [Miranda] The blooming foliage, the birds, or even Luna, the resident cat, all provide inspiration. - [Susan] Then usually, fun or friendly, just to give just a friendly vibe, so when you come in, you are greeted with some kindness. - [Miranda] And the customers love it. - [Susan] "I love your cat." And that just makes me, knowing that people are enjoying it and getting a good feeling from it, makes me wanna keep doing it. - [Miranda] Unlike other art forms, Susan's canvas is about 10 feet off the ground. So her masterpieces require both skill and balance. - I have to keep in mind that I'm not as agile as I used to be but I do carefully go almost all the way to the top of that ladder to draw, I'm up and down a lot. And the customers are coming in and they're enjoying seeing me do it. And so I get that interaction and connection with the community, which I really need that balance. - [Miranda] Carter is also a gifted watercolor artist and all of her chalkboards and full wall murals start out on a little card. - I do a lot of watercolor work, which is very small. It's very, more detailed and small. And this just really gave me a chance to expand and really use a whole range of motion that you you don't get to use. And it is a different medium. - Carter's watercolor work is meticulous and detailed, filled with mythical creatures, vivid colors, and hidden elements. Now, Susan Carter does a lot of work in big formats like murals and chalkboards, but she also does some great commission work with real celebrities, like Donut. - Do magical portraits of people and pets, and that is in watercolor. And I do them in different sizes. Yeah. I usually use kind of a whimsical color palette. And I like to put little fun elements in with it. - This isn't a picture of him and it looks just like him. Oh, I'm so excited, he's just so cute. In person he's even cuter in her picture with him. - [Miranda] Susan's work brings joy to so many in the community but there was a time when her art became much more personal. - I'm a survivor of breast cancer, this is my third year, cancer free. I've had the black paper and sometimes I just didn't... I felt so many different things that I could put color or something down on paper and feel like I was just letting some things out and it really did help pull me through. - [Miranda] And now, Susan is using her talent to help others in a unique way: a hand drawn piece of art, peppermint teas and ginger candies, all things to help relieve side effects of cancer treatment. - One of the things I'm most proud of on there, but I'll make care packages on there that you can donate or buy for a loved one, to let the per to know, Hey, I'm really thinking about you and let me know if you need anything else. - [Miranda] Susan Carter's website is called Marks That Spark. You can see her array of artistic creations in all different sizes and colors. Moving forward, she hopes to expand into illustrating children's books and keep giving back to those in her own community through her kindness, her watercolor, and through her chalk. And we couldn't help but ask, just as life imitates art, is it difficult for her to take an eraser and start all over? - So, it's not hard for me to wipe it away because, I don't know, I'm just excited about to do the next new thing. I feel like I really connect. It's like who I am, and I like to share that with other people. It's like how I express myself to other people. - Thanks Miranda. Remember the movie "American Graffiti?" A sentimental look back at the bygone era when muscle cars cruised up and down the main drag, and the local malt shop was the center of the universe. Well, if you want a trip down memory lane you don't need a DVD, just follow Gretchen Bates to a popular drive-in in Lebanon. - I've been at this, six, five years, this year. - [Gretchen] As a kid, Billy Wyatt never suspected he'd grow up to own a drive-in, much less his favorite childhood ice cream style. - Yes, we used to live in the East Nashville, my grandparents lived up here, and we'd stop here every Sunday, get ice cream cones, going home. And I was six years old, seven years old. I'm 59 now, never dreamed one day, that I would own it. It's pretty cool. - [Gretchen] After a long career with the Wilson County Road Commission, Billy retired from his day job to concentrate full-time on feeding a lifetime of memories to the families that frequent his Snow White drive-in. - [Billy] We get so many people here. They have their first dates here. They bring their families here, their family brings their kids here. We have people coming here for their 50th wedding anniversaries. It's just a neat place. - [Gretchen] A neat place, with a home style cooking menu to match. But what this place is really famous for is... - [Billy] The barbecue and the burgers. We've been voted best burger in Wilson county for the last four years. And we go through a lot of barbecue, just pull the fork, is all we got. And it's pretty good. Summertime, I go through six, seven pounds a week. It cooks for 12, 14 hours, no gas, no paper, just all wood, all equal wood. And it's a lot of work, it's good. I took to the barbecue, and my sister does the cooking. - [Gretchen] She a pretty good Cook? - [Billy] Yeah, she's good. Like today is chicken and dressing day, and we'll get people coming from Nashville here, and Asheville Portland, just for chicken and dressing. Drive all that way just for chicken and dressing. So, that's a testament to how good it is. - [Gretchen] Jeremy Ledford would agree. He worked at Snow White as a line cook through high school but he just couldn't get enough of the place. - Friday's chicken and dressing night. So that's probably one of the best things to get on a Friday night. Of course, the milkshakes and barbecue are all good too. But it's kind of a Lebanon institution, oldest restaurant in Lebanon. And so, a lot of history with it and always has a good following. You can always come in, and there's always a crowd in here. - [Gretchen] Seasoned carhop, Poly Barnes, has been working at Snow White for over a decade now, and loves a good crowd. - Well, first of all, it's an icon and I mean, everybody knows where Snow White is, it's been here for so long, I mean, it's like dirt. It's just one of those icons that people can't forget. My parents came here, my aunts and uncles came here. I mean, what else can I say? It's just a big family place. It's just one of those places people just love to come to. I've seen people in and out here since I started here and they still come back and that's what exciting. I mean, and then you see the kids that came in here, now they have kids, that's what's exciting. It's just Snow White and everybody knows it. And I want everybody to come. - [Gretchen] Just about everyone agrees why people love to come to snow white drive in. The only thing they can't seem to agree on is the best dessert on the menu. - My favorite dessert would be a large strawberry milkshake. It's gonna send my sugar sky high, but that's what I like to have. - And a hot fudge cake, hot fudge cake mayonn, it's good. - Banana split, but the hot fudge cakes are fantastic too. - [Billy] Our desserts are homemade; peach cobbler, Blackberry cobbler, strawberry cake, orange cake, it's all homemade. Everything here is homemade. There's nothing prepackaged, frozen, thawed out, it's all homemade. - Friday night at the drive in is something special. That's when the Snow White drive in, becomes the Snow White cruise in. These classic cars are guaranteed to get your motor running. ♪ Get your motor running ♪ ♪ Head out on the highway ♪ - [Billy] Cruise in, we do it every Friday night, from around four to 8:30, nine o'clock and you only have anywhere between 50, 60 cars on Friday night during the summer. - [Man] This is a 67 Shelby G.T. 350 and it has the 289 high performance engine. As far as we know, it's the only one owner unrestored 67 in the world. Come out anytime and eat, but come out especially on a Friday night and you can walk around and see all these cars. And then the carhops come out and they feed everybody out here, or go inside if it's hot, and sit inside and eat . - [Gretchen] Like this hot spot's namesake, the Snow White drive-in evokes memories of a simpler sweeter time. And those are hard to come by these days. - [Billy] There's not a whole lot of places like this left anymore. We had them back in the 60s and 50s and you don't see them anymore, they're all gone, and we're doing our best to hold onto it. This is to me, this is pure American right here. This is America. - That's gonna put the wraps on this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Thanks for joining us. Don't forget to visit our website with the new map. Follow us on Facebook and please come back next week. I'll see you then.
April 28, 2022
Season 35 | Episode 36
Joe Elmore discovers the new life of a century-old Nashville landmark. Rob Wilds explores the rich history of Cragfont Mansion in Castalian Springs. Miranda Cohen meets a professional chalk artist. And you’ll blast to the past with Gretchen Bates at a drive-in in Lebanon.