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- [Narrator] Tennessee crossroads is made possible in part by Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways. Discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history and more made in Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at tntrailsandbyways.com. This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we explore the history of Sumner County, inside three historic homes. We'll visit a fun family diner in Dixon. Then join some city kids in the country in Summertown. Finally, we'll explore the Cades Cove museum in Maryville. Hi everybody, I'm Joe Elmore. That's the lineup for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Thanks for joining us. Back in 2020, a new nonprofit was formed in Sumner county to oversee three important landmarks. Historic Castalian Springs' mission is to preserve and perpetuate three unique home museums. Now we're going there now to discover how each offers its own special glimpse into the past. - [Tanya] When we look at Cragfont, it is the kind of very pinnacle of wealth in this area. When we look at Wynnewood, this is both a family home and a business, so it's kind of different. And then Hawthorne is very much a middle class home. So what many people could have aspired to. - [Joe] Three unique sites, three compelling stories, one historic community. Now called historic Castalian Springs. Tanya Staggs serves as executive director. - There's a link there with the family, but also all of these sites are very important to this community, and the founding of this community. - [Joe] The oldest of the historic home trio is Cragfont, completed an 1802 by owners James and Susan Winchester. Certainly one of the finest homes in Tennessee until the frontier moved further west. Much of the furniture was crafted in Baltimore by a nephew of Winchester's. He likely learned his craft from British artisans up east. It's a reminder that fine furnishings were obtainable even in the wild frontier, for a price. Wynnewood, completed in 1830, was once the largest log structure in the state of Tennessee. It was built by Alfred Wynne, who was a merchant a local tobacco farmer, slave trader, and father of 14 kids. Oh, and along with his wife, an Innkeeper. Almira Wynne was the daughter of Cragfont owner, James Winchester. The couple's resort inn was on a major thoroughfare coming into what was then the western frontier. It was also built to attract visitors to the so-called curative sulfur springs. This historic springhouse is a lasting reminder of a time when people came from several states to seek the cure. Katie Latham not only conducts tours here, she conducts ongoing research into this piece of architectural history. - It's opened as a resort two separate times entirely. This first era is summer 1830, 'til about the start of the civil war. And that focus is really on the medicinal benefits of the sulfur water, those healing properties that it was thought to have. - [Joe] You have to wonder, how did the Wynne's manage to raise 14 kids here, and still entertain a steady flow of inn guests? - That's one of the things we're still figuring out about the building is how they managed to operate both a family home and a business at the same time. And it seems to change. We have evidence throughout the building of literal walls being moved and layouts changing. So we have some rooms that we currently have set up as family, some as guests, and we try to just reflect both of those to the best that we can with what we know. - [Joe] The resort business was paused after the outbreak of the Civil War, and it didn't restart again until 1899, when the remaining wind daughters leased it to an outside manager. 20 summer cottages were built on a hill behind the inn, with one still remaining. There was even a dance pavilion and bowling alley. Then in 1914, the Wynne's closed the inn and focused on farming. The state of Tennessee bought it in 1970. - [Katie] We have some pieces in here that are original to this house, specifically. A lot of the books here behind me are original to Wynnewood. The parlor table right here and the mirror and the fire back are original to both Cragfont as well as Wynnewood. Almira Winchester Wynne actually inherits those, and brings them here. And then some pieces are just period, and not original to this house. - Katie says visitors reactions vary. However, surprise is a word often heard. - It's not what they're expecting. When you pull up and see a giant log building. And so it's really amazing to see people kind of learn and put these pieces together. We talk about resort. We talk about slavery. We talk about the family. Like it's just such a complicated building, and we just always hope someone, that people come away from this learning something about that. - [Joe] By the way, a ferocious tornado tore through Wynnewood in 2008, leaving behind structural damage, and old fallen trees. Fortunately, after a lot of work and expense, the grounds and buildings are now intact. Down the road sits the third historic home of the trio, Hawthorne Hill. It's a brick federal house, distinctive in more ways than one. - [Tanya] It's preserved, but not restored. So it's not gonna fall in. It's taken care of, but when you go inside, you're really seeing the original finishes. It's almost like going into an abandoned home. That's sort of frozen in time. We don't have it furnished. So it's very different than your traditional historic house museum experience. - [Joe] Here's an interesting fact: it's original owner, Dr. Humphrey Bate, who was leader of the Possum Hunters, who starred on the Grand Ole' Opry. - He was born there, supposedly taught to play harmonica by a formerly enslaved man. - [Joe] While Hawthorne is only open to visitors one Saturday a month, guided tours of Cragfont and Wynnewood are available from Thursday through Sunday. If you go, you'll be transported into the lives of the Winchesters, the Wynne's, and others who shared a fascinating history here, creating stories that are still being uncovered. - We're finding all kinds of things about the sites. And so uncovering that history, and being able to share it with the public is really the most exciting thing. - Have you ever been to a restaurant and thought you'd like to have a little bite of everything, whether it's biscuits or beans, potatoes or wings? Well, Miranda Cohen found a family eatery where you can have it all. - [Miranda] Husband and wife team, Jeff and Heather Maynor have a lot in common: a love of great music and a love of great food. - Walking in PB and bacon jam burger. - [Miranda] Well, they're certainly in the right place for both. So when they decided to open their own eatery, they found the perfect spot on Main Street in Dickson. - We've got a lot of support from Dickson. It's a really great community. - [Miranda] For years, they dreamed of serving up classic Southern dishes, and they did everything right. They saved, they planned, but they still needed a great name. And they certainly found that, too. - So Little Bite of Everything. We are huge fans of Dawes, and they have a song called Little Bit of Everything. And there's a line in it that I really love. And it's "Love is so much easier than you think it is. If you can give yourself to someone than you should." And so for me, food is love. And so that line just really fit. Jeff came up with the name, he brought it to me and it was perfect. - [Miranda] And coming up with a great menu was easy. They serve what they love, and their customers love what they serve. - So this is the Mayberry, and it has cucumbers, barbecue chicken, and then the pimento cheese. Oh, it's delicious, delicious. - We got three different pimento cheeses we make. We, I could sit here all day, it's a big list of stuff that we make fresh. And I think that, you know adds a little something to our food. - [Miranda] No, your ears aren't deceiving you. Three kinds of pimento cheese: Southern classic, Nashville hot, and white cheddar ranch. You can also take a little or maybe a big bite of one of their signature gourmet burgers. - Well, we are the burger joint with Southern charm. We hand pat them every day. They're a half pound. They're grilled to order and it's just quality. - You know, it's homemade, it's thick. I like a thick burger. I like it. It has a little bite to it. - We got Southern burger, which is a burger with pimento cheese and fried green tomato on it. We also have a Southern heat wave, which is our jalapeno pimento cheese and ghost pepper on it, with the fried green tomato. We have our macaroni cheeseburger is really popular. - We also have a peanut butter and bacon jam burger, which has really taken off. It's a foodie burger for sure. And so we make our bacon jam in house, and it has cheddar cheese and creamy peanut butter. And it's so good - [Miranda] Here at a Little Bite of Everything, they are famous for their burgers. In fact, they have won best hamburger in Dickson for three years in a row, but whatever you do, don't miss out on their secret family recipe, macaroni and cheese. - It's a family recipe. And so I grew up eating it. So we used that and we just decided to do all kinds of stuff with it. We have a mac and cheese, I told you about the mac and cheese burger. We have a mac and cheese fry, mac and cheese bowls, several of those. And yeah, it's good. People like it. - [Miranda] And if you really want something on the lighter side, A Little Bite of Everything also has fresh and delicious wraps, popular bowls, and hand cut, flavor packed salads. - We have a Tex Mex salad that just blows almost any salad out of the water that you've ever had. It's got the seasoned southwest grilled chicken on it, and grilled tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled black beans and corn, and then the jalapeno ranch though is really what sets it apart. - [Miranda] A Little Bite of Everything is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. And the great Southern fare is not the only thing that is packing the house. - Oh, friendly, I mean, it's like, Cheers. You know, everybody knows your name. - It's homey. It has the atmosphere, you know, inviting. So everyone seems to talk and mingle. - Food is love, right? And so this is our way of loving on our community. Of sharing what we love with people that matter to us, because community really is everything, right? - We're very grateful for the community. Dickson, just there's, it's just growing every day, every year, and just bigger and bigger. And you know, everybody's gotta eat. People love to eat, so we'll serve it. - We just want to do this the best we can. We wanna put everything we have into this. We wanna stay in Dickson, and this is just where we are. And this is, we'll just make this the best we can. - Thanks Miranda. In middle Tennessee, if you mention "The Farm," most people think of the hippie farm near Summertown, where Steven Gaskin and his caravan of followers moved to pursue a lifestyle of communal living. Well farm native, Gretchen Bates returned home recently to show us a program that lets city kids enjoy life in the country. - [Gretchen] The Farm was founded in 1971 by a band of idealistic hippies that traveled across America in a caravan of brightly painted school buses. They were looking for land on which to build a self-sufficient, spiritual community. And they found it in Lewis county. The community grew quickly from its original 300 members, to just over 1500 residents by the early 1980s. Over 40 years later, The Farm is still here. It's been through some changes, but many of the outreach programs that the founders started decades ago have taken root and continued to grow. - All right. - I'll move this here. - And I got you rainbow. - Oh rainbow, okay. - [Gretchen] One of those programs is called Kids to the Country. Mary Ellen Bowen is the program's director. - This is a program that I began in 1986 in order to bring at-risk kids out of the city to get a dose of nature, and a real connection with the earth that they, it's very difficult to get when they're living in the city. These kids come mostly from Nashville. We take the six to 11 year olds, and then the counselors in training are 13 on up, until we have some people that have come back now that are in their twenties, and it's just wonderful. You know, we're serving about 200 kids a year. Given a really positive, safe environment, kids get comfortable expressing themselves, and they have many talents. And if you can, you know, really support those at an early age, it makes a huge difference in how that child turns out. And they wanna come back. They talk about it all year long, "When can we go back to Kids to the Country?" And it's really hard when the kids, when the homeless kids cry and don't wanna leave. - This is Nachez, you wanna pet 'im before you get on? And pull yourself up. Whoa, nice work. That was all pro, buddy. My name is Peter Kindfield, and I'm the counselor and curriculum coordinator of the KTC program. I mostly coordinate all the day to day activity. All of the skills I've ever learned, come in handy here. I wake the kids up with a song at seven o'clock. I have a horrible singing voice, and that helps them get out bed pretty quickly. We usually have a circle. We talk a little bit about our feelings, and things we're grateful for. We try and, you know introduce the concept of gratitude and service. Talk with them about nature a little bit. We have 1700 acres on the Farm. It's a lot of territory and a lot of it's woods. We have beautiful meadows. We have a wide diversity of wild flowers, and animal life in the creeks and streams. So we have to be careful. We have to be respectful of the other life, but we just have an incredible diversity of natural resources. I mean, we've had kids who, stepping in a creek, like they're ecstatic. This is the first time I've ever stepped in water that wasn't in a bathtub. - I like the swimming hole and I like to eat there. I like the food. And I like to play the games. - I like walking. Cause it is it make you a stronger. - It's awesome! - [Mary Ellen] Then after the swimming hole, - then they come back here and they start getting ready for the talent show. Because every Wednesday night we have a talent show. ♪ Now watch me whip ♪ ♪ Watch me nae nae ♪ ♪ Now watch me whip ♪ ♪ Watch me nae nae ♪ - The kids perform and then we try to get them to calm down enough to go to sleep. They're usually pretty tired from all the activities. You know, they all really get a lot out of being surrounded by love, and just being safe and supported in a calm, peaceful environment. The kids who come from the city in general are at risk. We also have kids from the Farm. And very quickly you sort of can't tell who's who. It's actually a huge benefit to the Farm, because we don't have a whole lot of diversity in the community. And so it's really sweet when they all get to, you know combine and become a family. We talk a lot about being of service to each other. The best way to be of service to ourselves is to be of service to others. Like they're just as eager to help prepare dinner, or clean up after dinner as they are to be at the swimming hole. The kids get to just play, and the counselors are really working, and yet they're super eager to become counselors. And it's just an amazing thing to see. - [Counselor] Swimming does not include walking along the bottom of the swimming hole. That will not count as swimming. - Tanja Ashford is a counselor for Kids to the Country. Little did he know when he first started volunteering just how involved he would become. - I was in AmeriCorps, and I needed a whole bunch of hours to finish. And so one of my friends said, "Hey, you can go over to Kids to the Country. You can get as many hours as you would like." And I've been volunteering now for over 20 years. And it's interesting just to watch the kids blossom and to watch them grow. - We're gonna do some stretches and then we're gonna get down and kick. - It, just the whole community really does participate in the program. And I can't imagine it working as well as it does any place else. - [Counselor] Have a whole lotta fun. ♪ Have a whole lotta fun ♪ ♪ At Kids to the Country, ♪ ♪ Kids, Kids, Kids to the Country ♪ ♪ Kids to the Country ♪ ♪ Kids, Kids, Kids to the Country ♪ - Cades Cove in the Great Smokey Mountains was once a home to a thriving community. It had families, stores, and churches. Well, hundreds of people were forced to move from there when the park was created, but their time there hasn't been forgotten. Rob Wilds traveled to a Maryville museum that aims to keep it that way. - [Rob] When this film was made in 1936, the federal government was touting the creation of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and the preservation of a way of life. - [Narrator] National parks have distinguishing features. In the great Smokies, there is being preserved a record of the life and customs of some of the most interesting of the early American pioneers. - [Rob] What the film didn't say was that hundreds of the descendants of those pioneers still lived in Cades Cove and other areas that were taken for the park. And they were forced to move. And the light dimmed on a way of life. - We've come a long way. - [Rob] Dimmed, but never went out, and still kept alive by these folks, and others, members of the Cades Cove Preservation Association. They had their own museum in Maryville, and all, like Dorothy Gregory Sutton, have direct ties to Cades Cove. - My father was Howard Clarence Gregory, and he married Aura Ethel Lane. They were both born in Cades Cove, and we didn't move out of Cades Cove until 19 and 39. But my daddy always went back. We went back every weekend just about. - [Rob] Dorothy has many of her family heirlooms here. And that's the point of the museum, according to director Gloria Mater. - When you drive the Cove now there's just a few cabins left. We only have three churches still standing. And in here they can see the items that was used in each one of those churches. We have them here. The only way to know what Cades Cove really was about, instead of now that it's the bears and the wildlife, it was all the humans that lived there. The families that made it home all through the years. - [Rob] Ken Garland knows all about this shelling machine. It came from Cades Cove, just like Ken's family did. - Both my parents were born in Cades Cove. My mother's family moved when she was two years old. And my father moved out with his family when they had to give up their land for the national park. I think he was probably about 14 or 15. Everything in here came from the cove. It came from families who live there. And if it didn't come from the cove, then we don't have it in here. It goes somewhere else. People can come in here, and they get an idea of how families lived up there. You know, there was no electricity. So all the boards were planed. This table that belonged to my great-grandfather here was hand planed. He put it together, with pegs and everything. He stained it. It's walnut. And if you look on the top of it, the top is, and it's wide, three boards. So the boards are really wide, and people get a chance, they come in here, they get a chance to see that, to see the things that people used up there, their everyday life and that's to us, that's that's one of the most important things. - [Rob] Important to all of us, according to Richard Anderson. - It's a part of our history. You can talk about a kettle, and your mind says a lot of things, but when you can see that, and I can say, this was my great grandmother's kettle. Her hands was on that at one time, she used this. So it brings a special meaning out, to be able to touch something that belonged to my ancestors. - [Rob] Stories of people's lives are tied up in these things, like how Dorothy's husband got into the Navy, thanks to some bananas - In order to enter the Navy, you have to weigh 130 pounds. He only weighed 128. - Oh my gosh. - Well, he went down to the market and bought two pounds of bananas and ate two pounds of bananas, and went back in and he weighed 130. So he passed the physical. - Well, alright. - [Rob] Remember, Dorothy's father was one of those forced to leave Cades Cove. And he was bitter about that for the longest time. - He objected to the park taking over because, well number one, a lot of the people, when they got paid by the park, they put their money in the bank and we had the depression and they lost their money too. So they lost all the way around. And he, he didn't like for the, he didn't like it that the park had taken over the property. But in later years he had to go, he'd go back every weekend, we all would. One of us kids would take him. And he said, well, I guess it's best that it was a park, or I wouldn't be able to come back and sit up here. - [Rob] That's us, glad we can sit up there, or drive through there, or fish in there. Glad we have the park, but also glad that the people who lived there are remembered in the Cades Cove museum in Maryville. - Well, that does it for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Thanks for joining us. Oh, and visit our website from time to time, Tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook. And don't forget to join us on our brand new Retro Tennessee Crossroads, first Sunday of the month right here on NPT. - [Narrator] Tennessee Crossroads is made possible in part by Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways, discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history, and more made in Tennessee experiences, showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at tntrailsandbyways.com.
July 28, 2022
Season 36 | Episode 04
Joe Elmore explores the history of Sumner County inside three historic homes. Miranda Cohen visits a fun family diner in Dickson. Gretchen Bates joins city kids in the country in Summertown. And Rob Wilds tours the Cades Cove Museum in Maryville.