Read this article to see some lovely wedding photos!
One of the most beautiful and well known passages in God’s Word is the 23rd Psalm written by King David as a young shepherd boy about His loving Shepherd – The Lord God. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even when I walk in the valley of darkness, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff -they comfort me. You set a table before me in the presence of my adversaries; You anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. May only goodness and kindness pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever and ever.The psalm brings comfort, provides hope and offers the peaceful outlook required to walk through the sometimes difficult stages of our lives. It is also the foundation for which Billie Karen Walker bases her life. She finds motivation in these words.“Yes, it’s great therapy and my peace and walk with God,” she said, “being a shepherd to these precious lambs and sheep.”From a child, Billie Karen had always been drawn to how God used and inspired writings using the analogy of the sheep for His children. She always wanted to get a hands on experience as a good shepherd to be like Jesus and know these beloved animals.It started in a simple way with the acreage behind the home she shares with her husband, Paul. The back room of the home, overlooking this additional land, is a place for Bible study and visual enjoyment of the outdoors by Billie Karen, “It seemed so empty – it needed animals”, she reflected.As she thought about what kind of animal, she remembered the Sheep farm of friends, Bryan and Mia Sage Beason, they passed daily coming home. She gave them a call asking if possible to come by to pet and love on one of the gentle creatures. It was a touch that reminded her of that childhood calling.Billie Karen also visited another shepherd, Kristen Svensen, of Foggy Knob Farm, who spent many hours sharing knowledge about the lambs and sheep. Discovering that the bottle fed ones required extra love and care, she reflected on that acreage behind her home and how beautiful their presence would be in the green pastures. “May I care for these lambs and other sheep on my land”, she asked Brian and Mia Sage Beason. With resounding approval and support to get started from them, Bille Karen Walker the Shepherd was born.She was instantly in love with the lambs and sheep, sharing her vision with her family and close friends. A vision supported daily by husband, Paul; daughter, Halie Anna Duncan and her husband, Nathan; father, Bill Grady; friends, Leslie, Macy and Meadow and her amazing neighbors.It is the perfect home, just the sight of them grazing and playing about in the field brings peace. It is exactly as the words the song of David says: The Lord is my Shepherd. Billie Karen is able to bring them to her green pastures, lovingly care for them for the pleasure and goodness that is experienced by all who encounter these gentle lambs and sheep. Granting opportunities for photography, visiting churches and allowing some 4H students to visit has created a ministry for showing the love of God to all creatures.“Jesus sees us as His sheep and lambs. We need love and gentle guidance, He is our Shepherd, caring for our needs, showing us ways to give to others and to be used for a greater purpose.” said Billie Karen, “I just love the opportunity to love, and show support to other people and the sheep, I am truly blessed to have this chance and share these sheep and lambs with others. I have been so surprised that from children to the oldest of my friends have never had the opportunity to hold and love a lamb. Many have said they were excited to hold a lamb – that’s the way Jesus sees all of us. As Isaiah 40:11 says: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…” Thank you Lord Jesus, the Lamb of God!”
In 2009, Barber McMurry designed a four- story specialized Heart Hospital for the University of Tennessee Medical Center, creating a distinctive and welcoming “front door” to the hospital campus. By 2016, the facility had reached capacity, but the constrained hospital site limited growth options. Barber McMurry designed a vertical expansion that added five stories and 132,600 additional square feet to the existing building. The project was quickly but carefully completed in phases to allow the Heart Hospital to remain fully operational during construction. The University of Tennessee Medical Center strives to continually improve its facility, providing best-in-class medical operations. The community need to have medical services all in one location isn’t about convenience, it also will improve patient health. Researching the factors that improve a patient’s health was the driving factor behind the expansion of the Heart Hospital. Input was received from physicians, nurses, health care specialists and patients. Rooms were designed with soothing colors, adjustable lighting, and comfortable sofa beds for family members to spend the night. The waiting areas on all levels have been equally improved to accommodate family, friends and caregivers needing breaks. Built-in snack areas make it convenient with the added luxury of meals delivered by the cafeteria during certain hours, reducing time away from the patient. This attention to details for reducing stress, increasing social interaction, and improving access to privacy has been shown to help patients heal. It is crucial to the patient’s healing success is to have doctors, nurses and other medical staff dedicated to working exclusively with cardiovascular disease along with a multidisciplinary approach to care and treatment. The Heart Hospital is within close proximity to the medical center’s cardiovascular intensive care unit, pulmonary unit, cardiac catheterization center, operating rooms, emergency department and UT LIFESTAR allowing ease of access for physicians and staff. Other additions to the Heart Hospital include a new Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Women’s and Infants unit and the Pulmonary unit. The University of Tennessee Medical Center has a rich history of utilizing evidence-based practices to ensure that we’re delivering the highest quality of care available, and the Heart Hospital represents that commitment to patients. It could be the most important 60 seconds of your life! To survive a heart attack, you need to know the signs and how to respond, well before it ever happens. You can’t afford to wait. Continued Cardiac care is maintenance that we all should do, which was exactly how Freddie Atkins of Madisonville was living his life. With regular visits to his doctor, eating healthy and exercising, the marathon running grandfather was making strides in quality of life. A routine visit triggered a diagnosed need for a stint in his heart and with the latest in innovative procedures at his disposal, it was scheduled at the University of Tennessee Heart Hospital. Dr. Jeffery Johnson, a native of Cleveland, Tennessee provides cardiac care for both Freddie and his wife, Shirley Atkins at University Cardiology. “We completely trust and even enjoy our visits with Dr. Johnson,” said Freddie, “He makes sure we understand everything clearly.” Freddie arrived for the procedure and fully expected to be heading back home in a few hours, however, that changed when the evaluation determined a triple bypass was required, the damage was too great to ignore. It was a sudden change for the man who had created a healthy heart lifestyle and under the best medical care with whom he relied and trusted. Preventative care is key and becuase he had made that a priority, this sudden change was taking place before a life threatening heart event. The University of Tennessee Heart Hospital is a ACS-verified Level 1 Trauma Center, the only one in the area and the first in the state to be awarded The Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification. A huge blessing for East Tennessee residents, the best in cardiac care, prevenative or emergency without having to leave the region. For Freddie, this care was now in the hands of Dr. Ben Barton, his appointed cardiovascular surgeon. Dr. Barton is a 1980 graduate of the UT Medical School followed by a Cardiothoracic residency at the pretigious Emory University. Coming to UT Heart Hospital from Vanderbilt, he provides both excellent patient care and education to future physicians. And so it was, Freddie Atkins was admitted for a triple bypass the next morning. Like the majority of stories from the UT Heart Hospital, Freddie’s is a positive one with a successful surgery leading to the return of a quality daily life. He is continuing cardiac therapy, has returned to independence and building back the active lifestyle so enjoyed. He and his family are grateful for the ability to receive world renowed care close to home, which allowed them to be on the journey together. Freddie Atkins, father of our publisher, who has lived a very active life since retiring from Y-12, is back and better than ever. His marathon heart is beating with love and running the race of life!
Townsend Spring Festival & Old Timers Day: May 3-4
Each Spring and Fall Townsend celebrates its rich Appalachia history through music, crafts and foods. This free event includes two days of Bluegrass music, handmade crafts and food. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy all of the Spring Festivities for the entire family at the Townsend Visitor’s Center.
Parking is $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass. Proceeds benefit the Townsend Volunteer Fire Department. Parking passes may be purchased at the Townsend Visitor Center (7906 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., Townsend), the Maryville Welcome Center (201 S. Washington St., Maryville) or at the parking gate on event days.
New Midland Plaza Spring Craft Fair: May 10-11
Up-cycled & recycled creative art, photography, candles, soaps, jewelry, paintings, hand-sewn items, sculptures, quilts, glassware, knitted novelties, crocheting, woodworking, & much more are showcased at one of the largest and most enjoyed craft fairs in the region. Enjoy unique and yummy food offerings from multiple food trucks, & local participants like the fire & police departments.It’s two days of family friendly fun!www.newmidlandcraftfair.com/
Come Celebrate Our Historical Railroad Heritage Niota Model Railroad Show: May 4-5
Niota, Tennessee is home to the oldest railroad depot, built in 1854. Originally named Mouse Creek Station, it is the oldest standing depot in the State of Tennessee and one of the oldest in America.During the Civil War it was used by both the Confederate and Union soldiers as a place of safety and rest. Today, the depot is owned by the City of Niota and used by city departments.This May 4th – 5th, the depot will host the 2nd annual Niota Model Railroad Show, a free to the public event showcasing train model exhibitors and vendors from around Tennessee and beyond. Last year’s inaugural event featured around 400 businesses from cities including Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Crossville, Knoxville, and Maryville.The event will be held at the Niota Depot and the Memorial Building- Saturday, May 4th 2019 9am-5pm and Sunday, May 5th 2019 10am-4pm.tennesseeoverhill.com/niota-depot/
Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival: June 1-2
The 57th Annual Lenoir City Arts & Crafts Festival will be held in beautiful Lenoir City Park on June 1st and 2nd, and it promises to be better than ever! The quality of the event and superb reputation of the 240 crafters have made this one of the area’s most popular events. Items range from ceramics and glassware to metal work and jewelry,to baskets and much more! A wide array of fast food and home baked delicacies will be available throughout the festival. Your taste buds will delight in old favorites and new flavors. And plenty of cold beverages to satisfy a summer thirst!lenoircityartsandcrafts.com/
The Lampyridae are a family of insects in the beetle order Coleoptera. They are winged soft-bodied beetles, commonly called fireflies or lightning bugs for their conspicuous use of bioluminescence during twilight to attract mates or prey.Did you know that Tennessee is one of the only places in the world that is home to a rare type of firefly? They light up together, completely in sync with each other. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) are one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. Once fireflies reach the age for which they can fly around and light up, they only live for about 21 days. That means the phenomenon that happens in Tennessee is only viewable for about three weeks per year.The largest population of these synchronous fireflies in the Western Hemisphere is right here, close to home at Elkmont Campground. Every year, in late May and early June, the Elkmont fireflies (sometimes also referenced to as Sugarlands Visitor Center fireflies) light up the sky. Located eight miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Elkmont Campground is the largest and busiest campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At an elevation of 2,150 feet, the area enjoys a moderate climate, characterized by mild winters and hot, humid summers.For the last few years the National Park Service has used a lottery system to allow only 1,800 cars to park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center during the 8-day event (225 per day). The lottery works like this: You apply on their page during the three-day application period, choosing two possible dates that you would like to attend. About a week later you will receive notice whether your application was accepted or not. If you were accepted you will pay a $20 reservation fee. On the day you are scheduled for, you will show your ID and your parking pass at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Then you will board a trolley for Elkmont Campground.If you are not fortunate enough to score parking passes for the main event at Elkmont, don’t be discouraged. Consider visiting within three days either side of the event when passes are not required. The synchronous fireflies can also be found at the backend of Cades Cove (near the Abrams Falls trailhead) or at Cataloochee Valley. It also appears in recent years that the famous fireflies are showing up in surrounding locations, so as the time approaches stay in touch with your local media outlets or the internet to learn about other locations.Most of us have memories of running around outside on summer nights to watch and catch the fireflies lighting up around us. The synchronous fireflies event is a memory of a lifetime. If you want to experienced it make plans this year to light up your life.
Choosing the engagement ring is a significant event for any man, his nerves are centerstage awaiting the moment to shout… “She said Yes”. But those famous words have been forever replaced in popularity by “She said Yes to the Dress”. Of course, there is a moment of spotlight for the groom to be as he takes a knee to propose, but with a swiftness equal to a raging river it shifts to the choosing of a bridal gown.
Boy meets Girl, they go on a date, they decide to be friends. Sounds like an ending, however, it was the first chapter in the love story for Dawn Tunby and Matt Isbell. The first attempt to date ended with a friendship and as the story goes, Matt received a phone call from Dawn while he was on a date with another and unexpected to his gentleman personality, he answered. They
met for coffee and the rest is love story history. So, in the true fashion of a love story, they met again, fell in love and she said yes. But let’s get back to saying “yes to the dress”.
In the south, it is well known the scheduled appointment with a bridal shop is the start of the wedding to do list. The deeply rooted tradition and often humorous adventure that is the planning of a southern wedding is enjoyed worldwide every Saturday night on the Knoxville based television channel, TLC. The popular show, Say Yes to the Dress-Atlanta premiered in 2010 and is filmed at Bridals by Lori in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
On a hot July day the family & friends of Dawn, the bride to be, arrived at Bridals by Lori for the “Say Yes to the Dress” moment. It is an overwhelming adventure to shop for a wedding dress, but doing it on the setof TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress-Atlanta show doubles, triples the experience. Bridals by Lori combines southern hospitality with vast experience to provide each and every bride an exceptional memory. The 25,000 square foot, three story space is home to the largest full service bridal salon in the nation showcasing well-known designers and private label merchandise. For this bride, her wedding story includes the very ones who made that phrase popular. On the walkway stage of Bridals By Lori in Sandy Springs, Georgia, she said yes to the dress. An elegant Allure Couture bridal gown, with custom veil and all the tears needed for award winning memories. The combination of a magical love story and wedding planning granted a memorable moment as two became one. Surrounded by the beauty of an outdoor venue, family and friends, and priceless memories what started with “Yes”, finaled with “I Do”. Watch “Say Yes to the Dress on TLC.
Native Americans were drawn to the bluffs overlooking the river of what is known as Memphis, building their settlements on the Fourth Chickasaw Bluff which protected them from flooding by the mighty river that also provided easy transportation.It was Hernando DeSoto that arrived in 1541 with his army to explore the lower half of the river, setting up camp near the site of Memphis, claiming the land for Spain. That land would change ownership many times over the next 200 years, claimed by France, England and Spain, before the United States of America got involved.In 1796, Tennessee became the 16th state admitted to the Union, and the Chickasaw Indians sold the land to the U.S. government more than 20 years later. It was during that time that future president Andrew Jackson, John Overton and James Winchester decided to join the government to incorporate the town. They further named the place Memphis, a “place of good abode.”Memphis became the largest inland cotton market in the world, but the city’s location and its reliance on slave labor would prove to be a volatile mix in the near future. The Battle of Memphis, a 90-minute fight resulted in the Confederate flag flying over the city being replaced with a United States flag. The Union Army would establish the area as a hospital post which proved beneficial, helping the city rebound after the war.During the yellow fever epidemic of 1873 it all changed as people passed in catastrophic numbers. The epidemic returned years later to nearly wipe out the entire population. Those who were healthy enough to travel, fled the city. Memphis was bankrupt and forced to surrender its charter. Around 1879 when Memphis was just a state taxing district, a wealthy businessman named Robert Church, Sr. began buying up land, primarily on Beale Street. He built Church Park which is still named in his honor on Beale Street.Time passed and the city welcomed the 20th Century, hoping to leave the negatives of previous century behind. It had been plagued with disease, crime and poverty. Anything you needed that might be illegal continued to be available, mostly on Beale Street. But it was also the home to many music clubs that enticed cotton field workers to enjoy good times on the weekends. It would be their “chantings” that would become “blues,” a priceless American musical art form.Another interesting invention that came out of Memphis was the modern supermarket. Local businessman Clarence Saunders opened the first self service grocery store, Piggly Wiggly. It was a huge success, with stores opening across the county, making him a millionaire. He spent the money by building a 22-room, pink marble mansion which along with his company and money would be forfeited when he lost it all. The City of Memphis is the current owner. The mansion dubbed the “Pink Palace” is a museum, planetarium and theater.Then like the bang of the yellow fever, the Depression surged into town. Just like the rest of the country there was no avoiding the disastrous effects of the time. The cotton market and industrious companies of the city would bring relief as America entered World War II. The gift was appreciated and reciprocated as Memphis would inspire the most famous aircraft of the war- Memphis Belle, the first B-17 bomber.In the last months of 1942, American morale needed a boost and the editor of a Memphis paper learned that one of the airplanes doing battle in Europe was named for a local woman, Margaret Polk, by her pilot sweetheart, Robert Morgan. From then on news about the Memphis Belle’s victories appeared regularly. As one of the first airplanes to completeits overseas missions and the star of a War Department documentary, the Memphis Belle and its crew were selected for a stateside tour. The second stop, after Washington, D.C., was Memphis, where the young couple would be reunited. The love story ended shortly after the war, but not the love for the Memphis Belle. It remains on display today in Memphis.Fame would be completely redefined in the 1950s. A young man from the Memphis housing projects starting hanging out on Beale Street, standing in the doorways of the clubs to listen and learn, and taking those lessons and talent to Sam Phillips’ Sun Studio, located a few miles east of Beale Street, to record “That’s All Right Mama”. It was history in the making and the start of what would bring international attention to Memphis, Tennessee. Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis Presley entered the building. The King of Rock and Roll would pass in 1977 at his Whitehaven neighborhood home, Graceland. In 1982, the grounds and home were opened to visitors. Graceland is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, welcoming more that 600,000 visitors each year.Beale Street surged as a tourist destination in the 1990s assisted greatly by the international festival, Memphis in May, a month long celebration that brings countless visitors to enjoy the world- famous Beale Street Music Festival, World Championship Barbeque Contest and a host of events honoring an international location. This year, in celebration of the Bicentennial, Memphis is honoring all things Memphis.The addition of professional sporting franchises gained more attention for the city. In 2000, the Memphis Redbirds, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball, and the Memphis Grizzlies an NBA team, came to town.It’s a city with an incredible past, a story that is timeless and richly impacted American History. From the discovery by early Native Americans followed by an influx of European explorers, from the Civil War to the centerstage of Civil Rights, from historical music flowing from Beale Street to innovation in medicine, Memphis is A Place of Good Abode.
Many people across Tennessee, and beyond, recognize the first line of the University of Tennessee Alma Mater. The Hill, as it is commonly known, is enshrined in the hearts and memories of thousands of Tennesseans. Few people, however, are familiar with the rich history surrounding this iconic landmark. Ten amazing facts about, The Hill, should enrich your understanding of the Hallowed Hill, and the University of Tennessee.Thank Thomas Jefferson for The HillPresent day Knoxville began as a Fort, established by James White in 1786. When President George Washington appointed William Blount, Governor of the Southwest Territory, Blount came to White’s Fort and named it the Territorial Capital. White sold much of the land he owned and from it, Knoxville was formed with 64 lots.About the same time, Samuel Carrick, a young Presbyterian minister came to the fledgling settlement, intent on establishing a college and a Presbyterian church. The college came first. It was established in 1794 and was named Blount College, in honor of Governor William Blount. The college was located at the corner of Clinch and Gay where The Tennessee Theater now stands. It was the twenty fourth permanent institution of higher education in the United States and the first that was not church related.From the outset, Blount College teetered on insolvency. It attracted few students and only conferred one degree in a 13 year period.In 1807 the name was changed to East Tennessee College, thinking that might help attract more students. It did not.August 17, 1809, proved to be a fateful day. Samuel Carrick, the President of the school, and it’s only instructor, suddenly died. The Trustees developed a lottery scheme to keep the school open. They wrote to Thomas Jefferson seeking his support for their lottery.Jefferson opposed the idea but offered advice which would shape the future of the institution. He counseled the trustees to purchase land outside the city, which would provide sufficient space to erect several buildings around a grassy square, and thus form an academic village. The trustees could not focus on land. They were concerned with survival. The lack of finances forced the closing of the college for the ensuing 11 years.Barbara HillIn 1820, East Tennessee College reopened. Remembering Jefferson’s advice, plans were made to relocate outside the city limits. In 1826 the trustees purchased “Barbara Hill,” for the new campus. The Hill was named in honor of the daughterof Governor William Blount. The 40 acre parcel of land was purchased for $600. It was located between the river and the Western Road. The views from atop The Hill were breathtaking in every direction. The site soon began to be referred to by locals as “College Hill.” In 1828, the first building was erected. When construction began, the workers dug into a cemetery that no one remembered existing on The Hill. The first structure was built of stone and brick, with an observatory and belfry. The ten room building would become known as Old College. It would be the landmark by which the university would be identified for the next 91 years.Fort ByingtonIn 1861 cannons thundered at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, marking the beginning of the Civil War. Within six months, the Confederate army took possession of Knoxville and The Hill. In time the Confederate forces abandoned Knoxville to be a part of a major battle shaping up around Chattanooga. When the Confederates left, Major General Ambrose Burnside led Union forces into the city. He immediately began to build fortresses all around Knoxville.The Hill was designated as Fort Byington. Having won a major victory at Chattanooga, the Confederate army turned its attention back to Knoxville. General James Longstreet laid siege to the city, November 23, 1863 and lobbed cannon fire at Fort Byington and other Union fortifications. Six days later he launched an ill-fated infantry attack on Fort Sanders. The Union forces had dug deep trenches around Fort Sanders. The Confederates failed to realize how deepthe trenches were. Once in, they couldnot get out. The Battle of Knoxville lasted 20 minutes. Eight hundred and thirteen Confederate soldiers lay dead in the trenches. The Union army lost only thirteen men. Longstreet withdrew to join Lee’s Army in Virginia. Knoxville remained firmly in Union hands. In time, the war ended.100 Elm TreesThe Civil War left The Hill in shambles. Every tree on the campus had been cut for firewood. Deep trenches had been carved into The Hill. Longstreet’s cannons had taken their toll. Buildings had been heavily damaged. The Hill was left desolate and all but destroyed.When the war began, Thomas Humes was rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Knoxville. He was a staunch Union supporter. When the war concluded Humes was named President of East Tennessee University, and given the daunting task of rebuilding the University and its campus. Because he was a known Union supporter, he was looked on with favor when he requested government funds to repair the damage left in the wake of the war. Subsequently, a United State Senate committee noted that East Tennessee University was deserving of funds to repair the campus since it was the “only education institution of known loyalty in any of the seceding States.” A bill was passed providing $18,500 to help repair the war damage.At the same time, Yale University donated 100 elm trees to the University to be planted on The Hill as part of the reconstruction. Those trees remained until the 1950’s when they were destroyed by Dutch elm disease.Orange and WhiteWith war now passed, the fortunes of East Tennessee University turned. In 1879 the institution was designated as The University of Tennessee. Ten years later, students directed their attention to the task of selecting school colors. In those days, UT was a military school. Male students wore uniforms that were blue and white. At the same time, the baseball team was clad in red and black. Charles Moore, president of the Athletic Association, looked at The Hill and saw daisies growing profusely. He reasoned that the school colors should be derived from The Hill and the flowers that grew there. Moore decided that for the upcoming field day, he would dress in orange and white, the color of the daisies on The Hill. Soon, more and more students wore orange and white to athletic events. A vote was taken in 1892 to officially select school colors for the University of Tennessee. The students chose orange and white by a narrow margin.Ayres HallIn 1904, Dr. Brown Ayres became President of the University of Tennessee. He assumed leadership of an institution that was deeply in debt. The buildings were antiquated and overcrowded. Heretofore State funding had been virtually non-existent. It was vital that change, if the University was to thrive. Around 1917 he approached the State Legislature with the idea of erecting a great academic hall on The Hill. Uncharacteristically, the State appropriated the needed funds. In May, 1918 a Chicago firm of architects were employed to design the building. When it was announced that Old College would need to be demolished for construction to proceed on the new structure, an uproar ensued. The trustees were bombarded with angry letters from alumni. Finally, the trustees agreed to attempt to move Old College if the Alumni Association would raise the needed $15,000. In truth the 91`year old, 10 room building was no longer needed. Neither did it possess any architectural beauty. Only $2,000 of the $15,000 needed to move the building was contributed and Old College was taken down. Blanche Bingham, a sophomore from Bell Buckle, Tennessee laid the first brick in the new structure, November 26, 1919. The building was completed, and dedicated June 6, 1921. The new academic hall cost $690,500 which is a little over eight million dollars in today’s currency. Dr. Brown Ayers, who had conceived the new building and guided it into being died before the building was completed. President Harcourt Morgan, who succeeded Ayres as President, recommended the building be named to honor Ayres. The Board of Trustees agreed and the new building which crowned The Hill became Ayres Hall.Ayres or Ayers?One interesting bit of trivia related to The Hill surrounds the plaque attached to the Cumberland Street entrance. Chicago Ornamental Iron Works was commissioned to design a plaque for the new building. It was to contain a raised likeness of Old College and of Dr. Ayers. Also listed were several names connected to the construction of the new edifice. Several changes were made in the original design submitted by the Chicago firm, but at last President Morgan approved the final design. However, when the plaque was delivered, Dr. Brown Ayres name was spelled “Ayers.” It is unknown why the University did not insist the error be corrected, but the plaque was attached to the building entrance and has remained there for 98 years. The name of the man in whose honor the building was named is misspelled.Play BallWhile the preservation efforts for OldCollege were in full swing, a competingfund raising effort began. Several influential people in Knoxville felt the Universityneeded an athletic field. Col. W.S. Shieldswas President of Knoxville’s City Bank. As well, he was a member of the University Board of Trustees and also a member of the Building Committee for Ayres Hall. Whilethe Alumni Association was trying to raise funds to preserve Old College, Shields led in a campaign to create an athletic field. The goal for the athletic field was $35,000. The money was raised in one week. Shields contributed $23,000. When Old College was demolished, 15,000 cubic yards of dirt was graded from the top of The Hill to make way for Ayres Hall. This dirt was moved to the proposed site of the new athletic field. In April, 1921, faculty, staff, and students spread the dirt from atop The Hill to create Shields-Watkins field.The field was named to honor the principle benefactor and his wife. The field is now surrounded by Neyland Stadium, the fifth largest college stadium in the Nation.The CheckerboardRobert Neyland became Tennessee’s football coach in 1926. Shields-Watkins field was 5 years old. Bleachers had been installed on the west side of the field that could seat 3,200. Neyland immediately noticed something. There is a checkerboard design in the tower of Ayres Hall. In those days, the tower was clearly visible from the football field. When his team had the ball, headed toward the north end zone, Neyland would encourage them to “Run to the checkerboard!” He also urged them to “Charge the checkerboard!” Doug Dickey became the coach of the Volunteer team in 1964 and decided that the design in Ayres Hall would become the design in the Neyland Stadium end zones. Now, when the team is headed in either direction, they can, “Run to the checkerboard!” The checkerboard design is also visible at the end lines of the basketball court in Thompson Bowling Arena. The design has also been incorporated into the exterior of the new Student Union Building.The ClocksOld College was demolished after 91 years of use. In 2008, Ayers Hall had been in use for 87 years. No thought was given to its removal, but it was in desperate need to repair and updating. In that year a twenty-three million dollar renovation project began. It was completed in 2011. The renovation maintained the building’s grand architectural design and added one noticeable feature to the exterior of the building. The original design envisioned clocks in the tower of Ayres Hall. They were not installed due to a lack of funds. Now, almost one hundred years later, the clocks are in place. Their addition enhances the beauty of Ayers Hall.It is hoped this brief glimpse into the always fascinating history of the University of Tennessee, will deepen your appreciation for the University, and the Hallowed Hill on which it stands where “The stately walls of Old U.T. rise glorious to the sight.”
History is often set aside as not applicable today, an issue that has plagued the Civil Rights Movement since inception. The National Civil Rights Museum offers visitors a fully immersed experience through multi-sensory and multimedia innovations combined with historical artifacts. The interactive approach allows all aspects of the historical and current Civil Rights Movement to be interpreted and applied to current times.Located in Memphis,The National Civil Rights Museum is one of the nation’s premier heritage and cultural museums. With a mission to share the lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement, the museum continues to shape equality and freedom globally.Established in 1991, the museum is located at the former Lorraine Motel. Purchased by Walter Bailey in 1945 and renamed after his wife Loree, the two-story concrete block motel structure was one of only a few hotels for which African-American travelers could enjoy accommodations during the segregated eras. Guests enjoyed its upscale atmosphere, home-cooked meals, affordable prices and clean environment. Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding were among the many who stayed at the Lorraine during the 1950s and 1960s.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stayed at the Lorraine Motel many times, especially during t he Memphis sanitation workers strike of 1968. A strike that grew into an important event of the Civil Rights Movement, attracting the attention of the NAACP, the national news media, and Martin Luther King Jr. He first visited the Memphis strike on March 18th, speaking to an audience of thousands at the Mason Temple. On April 3rd, King returned to Memphis and the Mason Temple delivering the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address. In a prophetic finale to his speech, King revealed that he was not afraid to die: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life—longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will… And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord ”On Thursday, April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stepped out onto the balcony of his Lorraine Motel room #306 to attend dinner at a local minister’s home. At 6:01 p.m., he was struck in the face by a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760 rifle. The 39 year old civil rights champion and nobel peace laureate was forever silenced. On April 8th, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and the couple’s four small children led a crowd estimated at forty thousand in a silent march through the streets of Memphis to honor the fallen leader and support the cause of the city’s sanitation workers.The National Civil Rights Museum is a complex of museums and historic buildings, most of which are directly associated with the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther KingJr. On October 21, 2016, the museum was honored by becoming a Smithsonian Affiliate museum. The National Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Hotel is a place of history and symbolism for all. Step aboard a vintage bus and hear the Rosa Parks altercation in Montgomery, Alabama or crouch into the hull of a 1700s slave ship to imagine the horrid conditions they endured. The museum collection offers 260 artifacts, more than 40 new films, oral histories, interactive media and external listening posts that guide visitors through five centuries of history. It may be built with bricks and mortar, but the message delivered is enough to change the world, one visitor at a time.
Singer and songwriter Megan Hurst calls herself “just a girl with a vision”, a perfect description of the daughter, wife, mother and now artist who uses her gift from God to positively impact others. Megan released her debut album entitled “Saved,” which features 10 recorded songs that came from her personal experiences and the shared experiences of others in their walk with the Lord.One song on the album is “Daughter of the King,” a fun song for woman and girls.Megan wrote the song after hearing a lesson on what it really means to be a daughterof the King of Kings. Sharing her personal experiences is the first part of the gift as she penned the lyrics placed on her heart. The second part of the gift appears as she gives voice to those lyrics and the final part of the gift is the inspiration it gives to others who hear the lyrics. She is just a girl with a vision. It’s a mighty big vision, but so is her gift!“I can remember where each song was formed and how God whispered lyrics to my heart,” recalled Megan, “when we are happy in God, we are stronger.”