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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Knoxville and the University of Tennessee

A young Dolly Parton graces the walls of the East Tennessee History Museum.

The James White Fort housed the first house of Knoxville next to our hotel.

That is our Marriott Hotel sticking out behind the Womens Basketball Hall of Fame.

Neyland Stadium from an empty condo complex across the Tennessee River.

Neyland Stadium holds 110,000. People come up and down the river in their boats to tailgate before the games.

This condo reminds me of the ones in downtown Tallahassee. Brand new - cost millions to build - bankrupt - beautiful setting - right across from stadium - EMPTY.

The 1982 Knoxville Worlds Fair was here. Imagine a small bumpkin city holding a World's Fair - and people came.

110,000 people can watch a game in this tightly seated closed bowl.

University of Tennessee campus is nice. It is hilly - not much landscaping - buildings are all made of light orange brick - very modern buildings - very plain. Stadium looked like an erector set.

Lulu visited a school in Knoxville while I toured the town. Our hotel was right next to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame - but I did not go in. Instead I chose East Tennessee History Museum.

Things I found out - Eastern Tennessee voted 2 to 1 to stay in the Union during the Civil War. The people then voted to break away from the rest of Tennessee but weren't allowed. Imagine that - one state is fighting to break away from the USA and they would not allow Eastern Tennessee to break away from them. This resulted in family feuds over some leaving the Union and other not leaving. This went on for years after the war was over - even today.

Dolly Parton is very big in this area. She does a lot of good things for the people besides being a wonderful entertainer. She impresses me with not taking herself very seriously - and boy can she sing and play the banjo.

This area is very proud of the Oak Ridge Project that build the secret atomic bomb. Ten of thousands of locals worked on the project and kept their mouths shut. Of course many did not know what they were building.

The TVA project brought cheap electricity to this area and 7 states. The men did not like the government flooding their properties. The women wanted electricity for lights - but mainly to run a well pump so they had running water and toilets. Over 50 dams were built to make electricity - to irrigate farmland - to prevent floods - and for transportation. It was the biggest government project up to that time.

Finally - this area was a hotbed of women's right to vote.

I was surprised that Knoxville was only about 3 hours from Atlanta. We got out of Knoxville just before a big snow storm was going to hit. We were lucky on this trip that we had no weather problems. Hopefully we will home Thursday night.

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