Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Second Oldest Town

We had already visited the oldest town in Tennessee (Jonesborough), so today we set out to walk the streets of the second oldest town. Greeneville was the home of the seventeenth president, Andrew Johnson, and the oldest college in the state, Tusculum College.

As we walked the streets, we noticed that there was a lot of traffic going through Greeneville. Often I wanted to take photographs of the street scenes but had to wait for the traffic to pass before getting a clear picture.

Some of the buildings were boarded up, but there seemed to be a lot of potential in them. Several times our attention was drawn to the architecture and ornamentation on the buildings. The theater marquee (right), just visible in the left corner in the photo above, brought both color and history to the aging theater in the heart of the downtown. It seemed to be in the process of restoration, judging by the "Save the Capitol" signs on the theater's list of upcoming programs.

Similarly, the peak of the exterior on the General Morgan Hotel, the building in the left-center in the first photo, possessed some interesting qualities. We wondered how often these details (left) are noticed--the details that are often the very qualities that encourage restoration.

The gray building (second from the right) in the photo on the right is an example of the potential that can be capitalized on--or not. We both saw this building and took photos of it from half of the second story to the roof. The lower part of the windows were boarded up, and the first floor had been "re-muddled."

Sadly, the beautiful top portion with its design and the words "SNAPP'S 5 and 10 cent STORE" was lost on passersby due to the unattractiveness of the first floor.

As we walked the downtown area, I felt as though we were tourists looking at our first skyscrapers. Townspeople were going about their business, while we were looking up at the tops of the buildings and standing in the middle of the sidewalks.

This behavior will invariably attract the interest of the local residents. Such conversations often begin with "Where are you folks from?" Sometimes the conversation turns to the One World Order and the One World Currency that had one fellow very concerned as he related his thoughts to Kate.

But these types of conversation are rare, so it is back to looking up at these buildings in Greeneville. The arches in the center building in the photo above are shown here (left). No modern box buildings have details like this.

We hope Greeneville's beautiful downtown . . . to be continued.

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