Back To Brushy Mountain

The drive up to Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary finds you wondering if the anxious feeling in your tummy is equal with how the hardened criminals felt as they arrived to serve time. Originally built of wood in 1896 and arranged in the shape of a cross, the prison was completely rebuilt using sandstone that was mined, hand chiseled and laid by prisoners in the 1930s. However, what you see is a stone, castle like fortress seemingly carved out of the mountain. While the buildings remained in the shape of the cross, an intentional nod to faith based rehabilitation, Brushy Mountain is an intimidating structure begetting anxious feelings.

The state first operated the prison on a convict-lease program, renting out convicts to private coal mining operations in Morgan and Anderson counties. That didn’t last long as the citizen coal miners revolted against the program and the state of Tennessee decided to use the inmates to operate mines located on state property surrounding the prison. Each prison cell of two beds and one toilet housed four inmates on a 12 hour rotation, two inmates worked the mines for 12 hours while the other two inmates utilized the cell. Inmates had daily quotas of coal to meet, with failure resulting in harsh punishments. After 70 years of operation and following the 1967 mining deaths of two inmates, the mines were closed.

Brushy Mountain was the only industry in Morgan County for a long, long time. The county relied on the prison for much more than just employment. The prison doctors and nurses were the only medical staff in the area and delivered many babies for local residents. The local residents also received dental care, hair cuts and other services within the prison walls. With most of the local residents working at Brushy Mountain, the Sunday “dinner on the grounds” included the families of prisoners and workers alike. The prison was a town within a town.

In 2009, Brushy Mountain Prison officials began quietly moving the 545 inmates to the Morgan County Correctional Complex, a maximum security facility about 10 miles away. Moving the general prisoners on a bus and maximum security prisoners in groups of eight. The final group of inmates left on June 4, 2009. It was raining that day as several hundred attended the closing ceremony for former and current prison workers. The prison whistle blew for the final time after 113 years of operation, Brushy Mountain closed.

Often referred to as Tennessee’s own version of Alcatraz, Brushy Mountain is surrounded by the impassable terrain of the Walden Ridge Mountains and today offers a glimpse of a time passed. An historical relic that once housed the infamous James Earl Ray, convicted of killing Martin Luther King, Jr., it is also mentioned in movie, The Silence of the Lambs and written on the pages of the novel, The Firm. Brushy Mountain was known as the “End of the Line,” housing evil men who committed heartless crimes with little remorse. Once an inmate arrived, there was little chance they’d leave. Throughout the 113 storied years of operation and beyond, Brushy Mountain Prison has become its own character, having a story beyond the inmates.

Today, after nearly ten years as just the historical relic carved out of the mountain, Brushy Mountain is back to life. The legendary facility no longer houses the hard-timers but welcomes you to tour the prison, listen to the stories, enjoy great food and taste some moonshine. The prison tour is self-guided with former prison guards around to answer questions. You will see all significant components of the prison from the cell block to the cafeteria and other buildings like the laundry room, gymnasium, museum, movie theatre, exercise yard, and the all-important “HOLE.” There are markers throughout the tour showcasing the story of what happened in that particular spot. It’s a glimpse inside the troubled minds of the hardened criminals that served time, the workers tasked with maintaining the safety and the families of both who lives revolved around the prison. The movie theater plays a 18 minute documentary every half hour that shares the stories of Brushy Mountain life.

The stories live on at Brushy Mountain, the voices echo down “3 Walk” and they are yours to experience. As you depart, the anxious feeling in your tummy no longer includes wondering what it felt like to arrive, but what it would have been like to be locked up for life at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.

Before or after touring the prison, the new Brushy Mountain experience offers southern cooking with a twist at The Warden’s Table restaurant. Serving everything from classic BBQ plates to cheeseburgers to nachos. There is plenty of food selections and room for families or large groups. With your tummy full from the cafeteria style dining at The Warden’s Table, it is the End of Line that you will find downright enjoyable. The End of the Line moonshine is distilled and bottled on the grounds of the former maximum-security prison. From farm to still, they use local grains and water from the mountains’ natural springs. This is true Tennessee Moonshine.

Best of all is the ability to take a piece of this historical relic home, the gift shop has a variety of items from t-shirts to mugs to key rings and much more. There is a souvenir or gift for any age and the gift shop is also the place to pick up a bottle of End of the Line moonshine. In addition, Brushy Mountain is an unforgettable place to hold an event or party. They are hosting concerts, festivals and even weddings in and on the grounds of the infamous prison.

This unforgettable, infamous prison of history is now a place to make new memories. Those new memories can include a very personal experience at Brushy Mountain. The prison is considered an extremely haunted location by paranormal investigators. Phantom footsteps, apparitions, disembodied voices have been reported and tours are now available for anyone daring to encounter Brushy Mountain after dark.

Developed by The Brushy Mountain Group, the historical relic is re-establishing the economic security lost in 2009 when the prison closed. The thirst for the history of hard time and lure of hard liquor has changed the maximum-security prison to a tourist attraction. The site is currently home to a moonshine distillery, concert venue, restaurant, gift shop and prison tours, but much more is yet to come which includes a campground.

Warden’s Table

Before or after touring the prison, the new Brushy Mountain experience offers southern cooking with a twist at The Warden’s Table restaurant. Serving everything from classic BBQ plates to cheeseburgers to nachos. There is plenty of food selections and room for families or large groups. With your tummy full from the cafeteria style dining at The Warden’s Table, it is the End of Line that you will find downright enjoyable. The End of the Line moonshine is distilled and bottled on the grounds of the former maximum-security prison. From farm to still, they use local grains and water from the mountains’ natural springs. This is true Tennessee Moonshine.

Best of all is the ability to take a piece of this historical relic home, the gift shop has a variety of items from t-shirts to mugs to key rings and much more. There is a souvenir or gift for any age and the gift shop is also the place to pick up a bottle of End of the Line moonshine. In addition, Brushy Mountain is an unforgettable place to hold an event or party. They are hosting concerts, festivals and even weddings in and on the grounds of the infamous prison.

This unforgettable, infamous prison of history is now a place to make new memories. Those new memories can include a very personal experience at Brushy Mountain. The prison is considered an extremely haunted location by paranormal investigators. Phantom footsteps, apparitions, disembodied voices have been reported and tours are now available for anyone daring to encounter Brushy Mountain after dark.

Developed by The Brushy Mountain Group, the historical relic is re-establishing the economic security lost in 2009 when the prison closed. The thirst for the history of hard time and lure of hard liquor has changed the maximum-security prison to a tourist attraction. The site is currently home to a moonshine distillery, concert venue, restaurant, gift shop and prison tours, but much more is yet to come which includes a campground.

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2019 Summer Festivals

Music City Hot Chicken Festival
July 4
700 Woodland Street, Nashville, TN
Created in 2007, the annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival brings together the local community and visitors to celebrate the uniquely-Nashville dish, Hot Chicken.
As recently featured by the famous food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken… Hot Chicken is an infamous Nashville, Tennessee, food. So what is this Hot Chicken?
It turn out there is quite a story behind this famous chicken recipe. Back in the 1930s, there was a man named Thornton Prince, a handsome, tall and good-looking man known for being somewhat of a womanizer. One of Thornton’s women got fed up and wanted revenge. So she made him his favorite fried chicken. But this time she added the hottest spices in her kitchen with the hopes of making it beyond ability to digest. But her plan backfired. He loved it.
In 1945, Prince Thornton, along with his brothers, created their own Hot Chicken recipe and opened Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville. This family legacy has been transformed into a Nashville icon and has everyone’s mouth watering for a taste. Not too far from the original location of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, the inaugural Hot Chicken Festival took place. It has grown to be one of Nashville’s largest festivals.
This FREE event starts off with the Fire Truck Parade at 10:30am followed by free Hot Chicken samples to the first 500 people in line. Festival gates open at 11:00am. Visitors can enjoy Hot Chicken from Nashville’s best Hot Chicken establishments and other delicious edibles from local vendors.
Live music from local bands keeps the “Nashville” vibe going all day long, and visitors can look on while five teams try their hand at cooking up their version of Hot Chicken in the Amateur Cooking Competition.
The event ends at 3pm, when visitors can make their way downtown for the annual fireworks display.
www.hot-chicken.com

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
July 12-21
Gatlinburg Convention Center
Gatlinburg, TN
Daily 10am-6pm
Sundays 10am-5pm
Filling the 150,000 square feet of downtown’s Gatlinburg Convention Center, the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair hosts Artisans and Craftsmen from all over the nation. Two hundred booths with unique and one-of-a-kind handmade products are beautifully displayed as these skilled craftspeople demonstrate their talents. All items represented are handmade, and of utmost quality and without duplication. Look for exceptional pottery pieces, molded leather, copper art, local candy makers and many more unique items.
There is something for everyone at the Fair. The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and Smoky Mountain Resort Ministries provide a free Kid’s Corner during the July fair, with a selection of D.I.Y. crafts for our youngest visitors to take home with them. Enjoy contemporary country, bluegrass and your favorite gospel tunes at 12 and 3 daily. Concessions are available for sale through the Gatlinburg Convention Center.
The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair usually takes most of the day to see. If you didn’t quite get through it all, multi-day passes are available. Come off the street and beat the July heat to celebrate the 44th Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair.

Grainger County Tomato Festival
July 26, 27, & 28
7480 Rutledge Pike
Rutledge, TN
Friday. Noon-8pm
Saturday. 9am-6pm
Sunday. Noon-5pm
The Grainger County Tomato Festival was organized in 1992 to promote the world famous Grainger County Tomatoes. Over the years, a number of special events have been added, making the festival one of the largest free festivals in East Tennessee. The Grainger County Tomato Festival has been named by Parade magazine as one of the top ten festivals in the USA.
It’s a weekend of Grainger County Tomatoes, Live Music, the infamous Tomato Wars, Arts & Crafts, great food and so much more. Pets are welcome and are accommodated by several water stations on the festival grounds. Mark your calendars to spend the last full weekend of July in Rutledge, Tennessee. You don’t want to miss it.
Pets are welcome, and we have several water stations on the festival grounds. We also have misting tents for cooling off that the critters and their people love.

Butterfly Dash & Burger Bash
August 10th
World’s Fair Park
Enjoy gourmet burgers, live music and a family-friendly atmosphere for a great cause when Burger Bash returns to World’s Fair Park on Saturday, August 10. The event is a fundraiser for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
Gather at World’s Fair Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as teams of chefs and grill masters compete to present the best slider. There is something for everyone to enjoy including kids activities and live music all day by The Coveralls and Soul Finger.
Admission to Burger Bash is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 4-12, and free for ages 3 and under. Admission price includes tickets for adults to sample three sliders (kids to sample two sliders). Additional burger tickets are available for purchase.
The day’s activities will kick off with Butterfly Dash, a 10K race. There is also a 5K and family fun walk. Butterfly Dash and Burger Bash tickets sold separately. Proceeds from race entry fees and sales of food and drink tickets will benefit the Pain and Palliative Care program at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Tickets available online now at www.etch.com/dashandbash. For more information, call Children’s Hospital Development office at (865) 541-8668

Virginia Highlands Festivals
July 26 – August 4
Robert Porterfield, founder of both the Virginia Highlands Festival and the famed Barter Theatre, held
the first Festival in
1949 at the Martha Washington Inn. His purpose was to preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage of this area. The Festival, over the past seven decades, has grown in scope to represent all of Southwest Virginia. Now it not only preserves the arts, crafts and skills that developed in this region, but it also imports talented artists and performers from around the world for creative exchange and the enjoyment of area residents and visitors.
More than 100 volunteers work year-round planning events, tours, performances and exhibitions for the annual Festival. They staff information booths, take up tickets, shuttle out-of-town performers to their programs and represent the Festival to local media. Chartered in 1778, Abingdon is a Virginia Historic Landmark. Visitors enjoy amenities usually reserved for much larger communities. You can stroll shaded, brick sidewalks and savor the ambiance of the oldest town west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, or explore a 20-block Historic District filled with outstanding examples of Federal and
Victorian architecture.
Antiques Market
Washington County Fairgrounds
Last year the Antiques Market moved to a better, indoor location that is more convenient for everyone: the Washington County Fairgrounds, 17046 Fairground Drive in Abingdon!
Covering about 45,000 square feet and sporting a concrete floor, restrooms and a catering kitchen, this venue offers many upgrades including safety and security for venders, cooler temperatures and protection from the elements.
The show is open rain or shine under tents.
The “Best in Virginia” Juried Arts and Crafts show will once again set up on the beautiful Barter Square at Barter Stage II.

Dog Daze
August 16, 17, & 18
Village Green
The festivities will start on Friday evening with a local dog “Pooch Plunge!” Local dog owners will have the opportunity to have their ‘puppy’ try a Dock-Dive! K9 Pet Services of East Tennessee has underwritten The Plunge activity, which will allow non-competitors to try the DockDog experience free of charge. Between 4 and 7pm, members of the Smoky Mountain DockDogs Club will assist area pet lovers with their introduction to the sport. If anyone is interested in entering their dog in the actual competition, (all breeds accepted), they can email dd_admin@dockdogs.com, call the office at 330-241-4975 https://dockdogs.com/eventscal/dog-daze-at-village-green/#

Smokey Mountain Dock Dogs
Event Schedule:

Fri Aug 16
Onsite Registration/ Practice
3:00 pm

Try DockDogs
THE POOCH PLUNGE!
4:00-7:00 pm

Sat Aug 17
Onsite Registration/ Practice
10:00 am

Big Air WAVE # 1
11:00 am
Big Air WAVE # 2
12:30 pm
Big Air WAVE # 3
2:00 pm
Big Air WAVE # 4
3:30 pm
Extreme Vertical (All in one)
5:00 pm

Sun Aug 18, 2019 Onsite Registration/ Practice
10:00 am

Big Air WAVE # 5
11:00 am
Big Air WAVE # 6
12:30 pm
Speed Retrieve (All in one Finals)
2:00 pm
Big Air Finals start at
3:30 pm
(Pro, Semi-Pro, Contender & Amateur Finals)

Event Format: Outdoor Big Air®, Extreme Vertical®, Speed RetrieveTM , and Iron Dog Rankings

The final rounds of competition
and award presentations will take place Sunday afternoon.

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Wes Stowers… Leadership in Action

A walk through the buildings known as Stowers Machinery Corporation shows the growth, the hard work done daily and the future, which is a constant of innovation. Most notable is that Wes Stowers is speaking to each employee, by name and that is the definition of this man. The humble and gracious President of Stowers Machinery Corporation guides the company as a family, it’s a team of which each member has significant value.

The Stowers family opened the company doors in 1960, Harry Stowers and his two

older brothers, Eugene (Bud) and Dick purchased the R.L. Harris Caterpillar dealership that had been in business since the early 30’s. The winter of that first year was tough, they were rebuilding the dealership and establishing relationships with both the customers and employees. The Interstate Highway Program got started in East Tennessee. The Stowers team worked hard to build a reputation of excellent product support

to stand out from the competition already

known to the contractors working the highway program. Most of those contractors were not from East Tennessee and the Stowers brothers knew their success depended on offering more than just equipment.

The Interstate Highway Program would complete in the mid 70’s and Stowers innovation in service and forward thinking placed the company in a great position as the Arab Oil Embargo made the energy source of coal reserves in East Tennessee

very valuable. Stowers Machinery was able to serve the exacting demands of the coal industry, doubling the size of its Knoxville facility, providing 24 hour service and machine component exchanges. This time of growth was followed by the recession of the 80’s causing the coal industry to collapse, it was a period of transition.

The innovation of Stowers Machinery Corporation in the middle 1960’s would again positively impact as they met the needs of the industrial firms of Alcoa, Bowater, Oak Ridge National Lab, the forestry and trucking industries. Readied involvement in the changing markets would become the signature company model.

It was also at the close of the 80’s that Wes Stowers, son of Harry, would become company President. Wes joined the company following a 12-year career in the Air Force.

Wes actually began working for the company part time on Saturdays and full time in the summer, in the warehouse and shop at the young age of 16. His childhood goal was to become a fighter pilot. A dream realized after graduating from the Air Force Academy, serving as a fighter pilot in the Air Force with stationing around the globe including Spain and Germany.

While at the academy Wes met Liz and together they build a life which included the addition of daughters, Lisa and Rachel, who were born while they served overseas with the United States Air Force. Wes Stowers returned to East Tennessee in 1988, taking the lead at Stowers Machinery Corporation with the welcomed guidance of his father, Harry Stowers, serving as Chairman until the patriarchs passing in 2007. “He gave me the tools, didn’t second guess my decisions but instead would ask me questions” Wes reflected, “sometimes it would be to understand and then sometimes for me to reach a needed change of thought.” Harry was a good mentor but also utilized a former caterpillar executive manager to guide Wes on being an effective leader.

The combination of teachings would prove success as the next 20 years Wes Stowers led Stowers Machinery Corporation to becoming an industry leader in almost every market. Believing and practicing daily the action of being a good steward of his employees, Wes took care of his people and built a team for long term. Stowers remarked, “During the boom time in 2005 – 2007…we were thinking how smart we are.” Then came the recession.

The start of 2008 brought the recession, seen at the beginning as something on the horizon, not leading to much concern. “We were expecting a 15% downturn.” Wes remembered. It was believed the company was doing well enough to survive the recession and while the effects were not immediate, the hit came hard with a 45% reduction in 2009. “Everything fell out, rentals, demand for machinery, everything.” said Wes, “difficult decisions had to be made.”

As an Air Force Fighter Pilot, Wes Stowers learned the importance of team, that nothing is a solo event. He had to rely on others to do his job effectively and respecting their hard work and time was key to success. This perspective would serve him and the entire team of Stowers well in the hard times. They developed a 12-month plan, a constant balancing act between wages, debt, profit and the bank. Constant communication with his Stowers team was the life bread of the transition.

The toughest part being the effects on his team and the uncertainity in the months ahead without the ability to reassure was overwhelming. “It hurt like hell.” Wes remarked. The pain is still visible on his face as he reflected on that time. Wes Stowers is a unique leader, a fatherly guidance to his over 300 employees.

The cut of extra spending, elimination of raises and yes, some unavoidable layoffs had to be implemented. Wes managed to hold true to promises made to his team and the constant communication softened the forced transitions. The business model proved the foundation to steady the company, they survived, they didn’t fall. Wes believes the lessons learned from that time have served as positives for the future. The company experienced greater innovation, more organization and opened doors to industries that otherwise would of remained closed. 

Making our way back to the administrative offices of Stowers Machinery, the displays throughout express company history as focal points. Forgetting not how you get somewhere is the foundation of maximizing the here and now. Just as he holds tight to the guidance given from that history, so too is his guiding the next generation, adding to the history. He has built a management team on his personal culture of good stewardship. Daily they work together to maintain the standards, cultivate new ideas and innovate the industry.

Nothing is slowing down for Wes Stowers just yet, he is still the necessary element of this well run machine, however, the many other elements in place provide Wes the ability to follow his philanthropic passions. Do not look for him on the golf course, that is not a hobby, look up to the skies…Flying is where he finds personal enjoyment. In true Wes fashion, there is a purpose to his passion as he flys vintage aircraft to give others the opportunity to see a real piece of history. “Ain’t Misbehavin” is  his P-51 Mustang built in the 1940’s and used by the Air Force in World War II as its long range fighter. In 2010, the plane was restored to the exact paint specifications as the original “Ain’t’ Misbehavin” flown by Capt. Jesse Frey in World War II. In addition, Wes serves on numerous business and charitable boards.

Wes Stowers’ culture of good stewardship to others and all things is clear in every detail of his life. The quiet man whose strength of will, faith and  discipline led Stowers Machinery Corporation through the tough times of the recession, is also the core of what maintains the company as an industry leader. His greatest advice to others is always put the backbone of your business first, the employees. What you give to your team they will give to others, leadership is paying it forward. Wes Stowers is living his legacy, not just leaving it behind.

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Welcome to Tellico Plains

The gateway to the Cherohala Skyway and the Cherokee National Forest. Here in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, a simpler way of life prevails. Enjoy the bakery and the other shops in town that sell fine arts, crafts and furnishings. There are plenty of restaurants and places to stay. www.tellico-plains.com
Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center
The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains is a “must stop” before starting up the Skyway. Come by between 9am and 5pm daily for free maps of the Skyway and Cherokee National Forest, Skyway driving conditions and local area souvenirs and gifts. Picnic tables and spotless restrooms are also available, with friendly staff waiting to welcome you with important Skyway and area information!
225 Cherohala Skyway,
423.253.8010
www.cherohala.org
Charles Hall Museum and Gift Shop
A local historian and collector since boyhood, Charles also served as mayor of Tellico Plains for 31 years. Showcased in two museum buildings are his magnificent collections of historical local pictures and documents, antique telephones, guns, Native American artifacts, coin and currency collections, a moonshine still, a 1922 Model T Ford telephone repair truck and so much more. Admission: Free
Open Daily: 10am–5pm, 229 Cherohala Skyway, 423.253.6767, charleshallmuseum@hotmail.com www.charleshallmusuem.com
Mountain View Cabin Rentals
If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in a cabin in the mountains, Mountain View Cabin Rentals has just the spot…all 44 units have unique décor and are located on the beautiful Tellico River, at the top of a hill, in the woods or on a private pond. Amenities include hot tubs, game rooms and grills, with prices starting at $39.95. Mountain View Cabins is biker friendly and open all year. You are sure to find something to fit your dream and your budget!
1006 Cherohala Skyway, 423.519.2000
www.tellicologcabins.com
Tellicafé
The Leudemann family can now boast twenty years and four generations of good service and good food at the county’s only sit-down restaurant employing an executive certified chef. The Tellicafe is open seven days a week all year round serving lunch and dinner. Our professional staff can easily serve one person or one hundred with friendly, efficient service. Specialties like Fried Green Tomatoes, Trout Cakes, Fresh Prime Rib, BBQ Menu and Country Cooking keep customers coming back time after time.
128 Bank Street, 423.253.2880
www.tellicafe.com
Tellico Mountain Realty
Helping you make our hometown your hometown. Stop by and see one of our seasoned agents with expertise in our historic and scenic area.
418 Cherohala Skyway, 423.253.6145
email: info@easttennnrealty.com
www.tellicomountainrealty.com
Find us on facebook Tellico Mountain Realty LLC
Everhart Lumber Company, LLC
Everhart Lumber Company offers wood products from contemporary to rustic styling including wide wood slabs, post and beams, wood flooring and paneling and custom-made cabinets, furniture, millwork and mantels. Everhart has created a niche for extra wide wood slabs from huge trees that are carefully selected for their distinctively unique grain, coloring and textures. We build magnificent furniture and countertops from reclaimed materials and other sources such as Douglas Fir, Native Hardwoods, Southern Yellow Pine & Western Red Cedar. Please visit our Showroom in Tellico Plains and our online store.
911 Highway 165, 423.253.2323
www.everhart-lumber.com
Skyway Realty Land and Homes
Skyway Realty’s associates create home and land dreams​ for buyers and sellers. For buyers, we hone in on and help you select the places you are most likely interested in buying. Sellers have new dreams we help them find as we sell their current properties. We love being helpers in one of the most important decisions of your lives. We make the real estate experience enjoyable from the first call to the close and enjoy win-win transactions with everyone at the table talking to each other as friends…that’s what we all like about Tellico Plains, it’s warm, friendly, peaceful and successful. Call today 423.253.7100. Email us at info1@tellico-tn.com. We are ready to go. Stop in and see us at our office on the Skyway…where the bears are.
411 Cherohala Skyway, 423.253.7100
www.tellico-tn.com
The Bears Den
Rich Leudemann, owner of The Bears Den and Tellicafe, located in Tellico Plains, TN, grew up in the restaurant business. His father was a restaurant owner and passed his love of the business on to Rich. Over the years, Rich has been around the business in almost every aspect. Rich’s latest endeavor, The Bears Den, a pizza restaurant heavily influenced by his Italian heritage, is now open and already hosting live music and other wonderful events. With seating for over 80 people, you are sure to find your place. Menu consists of New York Style and Sicilian Pizza. They also have specialty pizzas and dessert pizzas, cold beer, hoagies and wings. 
9188 New Hwy 68, 423.253.3361
www.bearsdentellico.com
The Bookshelf
The Bookshelf is a quaint little bookshop in the Historic District just off the Town Square. Celebrating 10 years as Monroe County’s only full-service bookstore, they offer new local history books and gently used books in all categories. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff also offers free out-of-print book searches.
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday: 10am-5pm
108 Scott Street, 423.253.3183
www.tellicobookshelf.com
Nice to be Kneaded Massage
A boost to the immune system, pain relief, better sleep, headache elimination and stress reduction are just a few of the many effects of massage. Get in touch with the many benefits of a Nice to Be Kneaded Massage and feel a better you today!
Massage by appointment only, book online.
Hours: 11am-7pm
108 A Scott Street, 423.836.4245
www.NiceToBeKneadedMassage.com
Tellico Vacation Rentals
Savor the serenity of your own cabin in the mountains! Choose from one to five bedrooms thats sleeps from two to ten guests. Select a cabin with a hot tub on the deck, a cozy stone fireplace or a pool table in the game room. Our cabins are ideal for a romantic getaway, a wedding or honeymoon, a family vacation or reunion. With your own kitchen, multiple bedrooms, comfortable living areas and outdoor decks, you’ll find cabin rentals to be a fabulous value for extended vacations for several couples or extended families. Our cabins are private and comfortable, each totally unique. A change in altitude creates a change in attitude!
206 Cherohala Skyway, 866.253.2254
tvr@tellicovacationrentals.com

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Unclaimed Baggage

North of Birmingham, West of Atlanta and South of Chattanooga is where you will find the most unique shopping destination: the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where lost suitcases finally settle to have their contents reappraised, cleaned, repriced for display. With over a shoppers that annually visit, it’s a must not miss extravaganza.

The store was founded in 1970 by Doyle Owens, when he borrowed a pickup truck and $300 to head for Washington, D.C., where he purchased unclaimed bags from the bus industry. The selling started on top of card tables from his home, growing into the opening of a store that today is more than 40,000 square feet and occupies a city block.

The finds are cultivated from airlines, bus lines and train carriers from unclaimed baggage and cargo. Doyle Owens’ son, Bryan, purchased the business in 1995 and made getting national media attention for the store a priority. Everyone from“The Today Show” to Oprah have featured the store on their shows. The store itself is much like a typical suitcase with clothes, shoes and jewelry taking centerstage. A significant choosing of books, plenty of eyewear and large selection of electronics and sporting goods are highlighted.

There are items you wouldn’t expect to find like a suit of armor, a mummified falcon and a Jim Henson puppet-goblin from the cult film Labyrinth. And the bling found will blow your mind: a 5.8-carat diamond set in a platinum band that was found packed in a sock, a 40.95-carat natural emerald and a platinum Rolex valued at over $64,000.

According to the Unclaimed Baggage Center website, about 5% of unclaimed bags are reclaimed. The airlines pay the lost claims and then sell those bags to the center. The lost bags arrive by tractor-trailer to the processing facility to be sorted and priced. All clothing is dry-cleaned and laundered at their in-house facility, the largest in Alabama. Fine jewelry is cleaned and appraised.

Electronic equipment is tested and cleared of personal data. The best stuff gets onto the retail floor with remaining items being donated through their Reclaimed for Good program, helping people around the world.

It’s not just about shopping. It’s a wonderful experience from the Guest Services to the Starbucks cafe to the smiling, helpful associates. You can reserve a personal shopper, a ninety-minute session with one of their professional style advisors to build your profile and help you shop the best of all

the clothing and accessories. There is custom shipping that will take the hassle out of getting those fancy finds home. They even have a plan for the furry ones who can be cared for while you shop at Cutie Petooties for $10 a day, located only five minutes away. Most fun is that daily you can join in the action with the Baggage Experience. At 2:30 each day, a shopper is chosen to experience opening an unprocessed bag; you never know what you might find! The Unclaimed Baggage Center is located in Scottsboro, Alabama, a picturesque town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the banks of the Tennessee River. It is the perfect road trip break. Enjoy the shopping experience, and then head an hour south to Huntsville to check out the U.S. Space and Rocket Center or north to experience all the fun of Chattanooga. The final home of lost luggage in the middle of the best road trip route all the year-round!

Monday-Friday:

9:00 – 6:00 CT

Saturday:

8:00 – 7:00 CT

Closed Sundays,

Thanksgiving

and Christmas

509 W. Willow Street

Scottsboro, Alabama 35768

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Tiger Pride of Monroe County

It is hard to find anyone in East Tennessee unaware of the Hiwassee College fate, closing its doors after 170 years. However, it should not be dismissed in memory but remembered for the men and women of character that held it an honor to attend the educational institution. That is something being brought to light in the midst of this darkness by the Hiwassee College baseball team, the Tigers, who refuse to let anyone else write their final chapter.

As the rumors became announcements and the reality could no longer be ignored, the timing could not have been worse for the Tiger baseball team. Thick into their regular season, the news of a permanent closure devastated hearts and minds. “I didn’t have words to encourage them,” said Shane Gardner, Head Coach, “We met as a team and made a commitment to finish strong.” Just shortly before the announcement, coaching staff and team had celebrated the 200th win for Head Coach Shane Gardner, an incredible accomplishment in 8 years leading the program.

Commitment is evident when talking about the Hiwassee College Tiger baseball team, who have been to the NCCAA World Series the last three years. A national championship is the goal sought with determination and fight every season. Now, it’s not just the quest to be the best, it’s the legacy, the way they will be remembered, taking priority.

And so the final chapter for Hiwassee College was written. The closure would happen before the Tiger’s season ended. However, the final chapter of this baseball program, this coach and these players is not even close to complete. They rallied from the emotional burden of circumstances to engage competition, gaining a fifth straight 30-win season and traveling to Oakland City, Indiana, for the Mid-East Regional Tournament. The Tigers finished as region runners-up and were named an “At-Large” selection as No. 4 seed for the NCCAA Baseball World Series, a fourth straight trip to the championship playing field for the Tigers under Head Coach, Shane Gardner.

It is not the “swan song” that is building an historic legacy post the closing of their historic college, it is never losing sight of the goal, it is the never quit competing, it is when all is coming down around you…stay true to your teammates and fight.

It’s more than just baseball, more than just a game. It is honoring the program, the players that came before and the dedication of the coaching staff, parents and community. The last Hiwassee College baseball team will be remembered for doing things right on the field and for doing things right off the field. The 2019 Hiwassee College baseball team and coaches are forever the pride of Monroe County, the very best of East Tennessee. We salute the Tigers!

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Tennessee Wesleyan University

In this scripture, the Apostle Paul is giving instructions to the Galatian Christians about how to live with each other. It is a reminder that God provides the ability to deal with life’s issues and instruction that one of those empowerments is the ability to help others. Since its founding in 1857, Tennessee Wesleyan University has been dedicated to helping students live a meaningful life. Located in Athens, Tennessee, TWU provides experiences one expects from a major university with the attention and nurturing a liberal arts education offers. It is the culture of dedication to students, faculty and community that has created hope for so many in the recent months. When Hiwassee College announced their closing after 170 years, without hesitation, Tennessee Wesleyan University opened wide the doors to lend a helping hand.

It started with words of comfort and encouragement in a March 28, 2019 letter from TWU President, Dr. Harley Knowles: “a fellow United Methodist-affiliated institution, Hiwassee College made the difficult decision to close at the end of their spring semester. Upon notification of this announcement, our faculty and staff immediately began identifying ways Tennessee Wesleyan University could support their prospective and current student populations, as well as their alumni, during this transition.” The letter continues with a pledge of commitment that was put into action immediately. To date, TWU has purchased the Dental Hygiene Program to keep the vital offering in the community and brought the Upward Bound program onto their Athens campus. Specifically addressing the needs of the students, Dr. Knowles stated, “Tennessee Wesleyan welcomes all Hiwassee students, current and future, to find a new home here in Athens. There is no application deadline, and we still have institutional scholarships available to help make the college experience affordable.”

In the words of Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” For which it is clear that Tennessee Wesleyan has shown they are an institution of higher education with a priority of developing future leaders to positively impact their communities, the world. In a time of significant need, Tennessee Wesleyan rose to meet the challenges of another and taught us all by example how to help those in need.

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Summertime Smiles for Kids in Monroe County

Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics has celebrated its first year anniversary serving the dental needs of kids in Monroe County and the surrounding areas. Part of the huge celebration is the addition of pediatric dentist, Dr. Darryl Phillips. When speaking of joining Tennessee Smiles, Dr. Phillips states, “ Dr. Britton and I have worked together for the past decade at Children’s Dentistry of Knoxville. Seeing the joy it has brought to him serving the kids of Monroe County really piqued my interest in joining the practice. After visiting Tennessee Smiles, I could see the impact Dr. Britton and Dr. Turner are having on the community, and I wanted to be a part of that.” Dr. Phillips grew up in Clinton, TN, and this community reminds him of home.

After one visit, it’s apparent the passion these three doctors and their staff have for each and every kid they see. The office is age- appropriately designed with game systems and toys in the waiting area, expressing the easygoing, fun atmosphere from the start of the visit. During the dental treatment, patients enjoy televisions with headphones to watch favorite shows, and private rooms are available for those feeling extra anxious or needing special attention. Tennessee Smiles is determined to make every visit fun and positive, building self-confidence in each and every patient.

It’s Summertime! Summertime is a great time to have your first ever dental visit or orthodontic consult. Remember First Birthday, First Dental Visit. All three doctors agree that if we see the patient at this early age, most major problems are preventable through education, information and regular dental care. This time of year is the perfect time, especially for those middle and high school aged students that haven’t been to the dentist or orthodontist in awhile due to busy schedules. However, as relaxing as summer can be, the staff often finds that kids brushing and orthodontic schedules can get too relaxed, as well. Sugary summertime snacks and drinks can be devastating on oral hygiene. The doctors remind patients that they are partnering with them in their health. You simply cannot skip morning and nighttime brushing. For our patients in braces,

Dr. Turner notices that summertime is often a time when their oral hygiene slacks off. He wants to remind his patients that he is partnered with Drs. Britton and Phillips in maintaining overall dental health. Even though it’s Drs. Britton and Phillips and their staff providing the routine dental cleanings, Dr. Turner also monitors their oral hygiene while in braces.

From age one to twenty-one, Tennessee Smiles is here for dental cleanings to braces and anything in between. We take pride and love serving the kids of Monroe and surrounding counties.

Schedule an appointment by calling 423-436-4800 and visit  www.tnsmile.com for more information.

4233 Hwy 411, Madisonville, TN 37354  |  423.436.4800  |  www.tnsmile.com

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Lee Grant Johnson

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.- 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Truth is, as told in the Bible and shared by Pastors around the world, we are handpicked, created to bring glory to God. For Lee Grant Johnson “Houser” of Madisonville, it was a lifetime of being handpicked by both his earthly connections and his Savior.

Cecil and Dude Johnson were very special people with big hearts. After adopting their first son, Terry, they walked the heartache no parent should as he passed on to grow up in heaven. With faith in their dream of children, they opened their hearts adopting sons, Ray and Guy, then expanded their hearts once more to hand-pick Lee Johnson, a baby brother to complete their family. Raising the three boys to be honest, punctual or don’t bother showing up,  work hard, laugh much and love all. All of those character traits existed and thrived in the youngest Johnson boy. Reminded often by both parents, Lee and his brothers were chosen, cared for, loved beyond measure and given a foundation of knowing the importance of being embraced by another. Lee’s life is a legacy of embracing others, loving much and yes, laughing even more.

Growing up in Monroe County, the love for his friends and classmates at Madisonville High School is memorable. In fact, he is the infamous “Houser.” The class of 1980 was and remains forever changed by life of the party, Lee Johnson, who never missed a moment to be in the middle of it all, hand-picked by classmates as favorite. Naturally, he studied at Hiwassee College and loved the University of Tennessee Volunteers just down the road. Lee was a huge fan with a lifelong dream to have a bright orange Harley Davidson. His life is a legacy of being proud of his roots, loving his friends and being the greatest Vol fan!

Along with loving his family and friends, it was his love of country that would make his legacy a part of American history. Following in the proud footsteps of his father, Cecil Johnson, a U.S. Navy World War II veteran, Lee served in the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment of the United States Army. It is readily identified by its nickname, The Old Guard. Each member of The Old Guard is hand-picked to guard the President of the United States (Ronald Reagan at the time), the White House, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and perform ceremonial funerals at Arlington National Cemetery. The regiment is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army, having been first organized as the First American Regiment in 1784, being the official ceremonial unit of the U.S. Army since 1948. Lee’s life is a legacy of service to country, something he honored for those that served in the past, alongside him and currently.

With a foundation of love for family and country, it was an acknowledgement of God’s love that made Lee personally proud. He shared often about being hand-picked by his Heavenly Father and lived a life of gratitude. With the heart of a servant, Lee never met a stranger and made sure there was a smile or laugh shared. It was a good time, all the time for the vibrant and contagious personality that lit up the room with positive energy. Lee’s life is a legacy of letting his light shine to show that love hand-picked all of us for glory if we allow ourselves to be embraced.

It was that embracing love of God, family and friends that would sustain Lee Johnson during his valiant life battle. In September of 2017, Lee was diagnosed with Stage IV Non-Small Cell Adenocarcinoma of the lung. The warrior readied for the fight, armed with his constant smile, positive outlook and unmoving faith. It is known today that most did not know about his diagnosis at first due to Lee always presenting as the same fun-loving, smiling “Houser” they had always known. Every three weeks, his older brother Ray would pick Lee up in the early morning hours, drive him to Vanderbilt for treatments and make the return trip home. It was a precious time of togetherness for the brothers, moments that time nor space can erase. The aggressive cancer, long trips for treatment and medication never dimmed the famous grin. Lee’s life is a legacy of fighting to the finish with constant joy of heart.

In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, February 19, 2019, Lee was hand-picked for heavenly wings and a glorious reunion with his beloved parents and the oldest brother he had never known. Lee’s life is a legacy of loving dogs, collecting Mickey Mouse memorabilia, loving Hooters for the hot wings, playing with his nieces & nephews, enjoying his dream job riding tractors all day for the city of Madisonville, working at the local golf course, being a best friend, being a baby brother, being a U.S Army Veteran, honoring all military personnel, and being the biggest UT Vols Fan!

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Hawassee College

It is the 60 acres of unmatched beauty with magnificent trees and mountain views that capture your attention, it is the peace felt as you take in the surroundings… it is a special place. Each building rich with history. If they could talk, oh, the stories that could be shared. Every square foot of this historical land is deeply rooted in the people of Monroe County. With a history that spans over 170 years, it is Hiwassee College.

The name Hiwassee is derived from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi”, meaning “meadow place at the foot of the hills,” which is reflective of the college location at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hiwassee’s first president, Reverend Robert Doak, also served as its senior professor and the only college-educated staff member. Students entered at around age fourteen and graduated in their late teens or early twenties. David M. Key, Hiwassee’s first graduate, went on to be the Postmaster General under President Rutherford B. Hayes. The Honorable Albert H. Roberts, graduate 1889, would later become the Governor of Tennessee from 1919 to 1921.

Back in the day, Hiwassee College housed an elementary school taught by the student teachers. Charlie Brakebill was one of those students. He fondly remembers the three-room school and his student teachers. Charlie has a lifetime of memories at the Hiwassee campus. During his time at the elementary school, he was rewarded with a 1lb box of chocolate-covered cherries; immediately consuming the sweets, it was the box that remained on display in his home until heading to college. “I walked over 2 miles daily to Hiwassee for school,” reflected Charlie, “coming home so hungry, telling my Mom it was from the walking.” Mrs. Brakebill didn’t believe her son’s story, discovering that Charlie was sharing his sandwich each day with a friend who never had a lunch.“Mom never said anything to me,” said Charlie. “From that day until I was finished with school, there were always two sandwiches.” The 93-year-old native of Madisonville entered the U.S. Army at 18 and served three years in Europe during World War II—including at Omaha Beach, retiring as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force in 1967.

Hiwassee College is a fixture in the community, with an impact that reaches beyond the campus and the educational offerings. The grounds of the campus and buildings have always been available for community events. The Barker Learning Center held the commencement services for Madisonville High School, and annually the Monroe Area Council for the Arts presents a world-class performing arts series at the Hiwassee Performing Arts Center.

Under the leadership of President Dr. Robin Tricoli, the college regained accreditation in 2013 (lost in 2008) with reaffirmation in 2018. Enrollment increased, as well as the priority of community commitment. Working closely with Lisa Bingham, the Hiwassee H.O.P.E. program was founded. This program provided students, within or aging out of the foster care system a home, three meals, financial aid and a support parent enabling them to achieve higher education. Proceeds from Monroe Life Magazine’s Celebration of HOPE Balloon Festival, held on the campus, provided the funding. When the program caught the attention of Hiwassee Alumni, Jim Henry, then Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, it became a fully funded government program and today is offered in post-secondary schools throughout Tennessee.

In addition to community and education, Hiwassee College has excelled in sports with National Championship appearances in Baseball, Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball. The Hiwassee Tigers gave opportunities for students to play their sport on a collegiate level while obtaining their

education. Carolyn Bush-Roddy, 2019 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and 1975 Pan-American Games Gold Medalist, enjoyed that opportunity. She finished her playing career with the Dallas Diamonds of Women’s Professional Basketball League. In 1997, she returned to Hiwassee as Head Coach of the Lady Tigers until 2000. The Hiwassee College Athletics Department was diverse with Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Golf, Shooting, Volleyball, Cross-Country, Softball and Cheerleading.

Hiwassee College has a rich heritage. The liberal arts college is affiliated with the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church. The core values and foundation of faith are the pride of Hiwassee alumni; it is the lifelong connection that brings so many of them back to the campus. Brittany Tipton, class of 2012 valedictorian, returned eight months after graduation to be Resident Director and Equestrian Center Manager. “From the moment I started working, President Tricoli pushed me to go for my Master in Equine Science,” said Brittany. “I was accepted to UTK’s graduate school and achieved it. The plan was to return to work in April.” She did return to work at the Equestrian Center as planned; however, now it is to manage the first-class boarding and training facility until it is sold. “I was speechless,” expressed Brittany upon learning her beloved Hiwassee would closed. “It’s a part of me.” The Hiwassee College Board of Trustees voted to close the institution at the end of the spring semester. The announcement came in late March, citing financial instability. In an official statement from the communications department:

“We are proud of our historic mission of educating students for 170 years in the United Methodist tradition of John Wesley…Hiwassee College’s legacy will survive through those who attended the college and who continue to lead and serve…changes in demographics, our rural location, and declining enrollment have combined to produce an unsustainable economic model. Our current full-time equivalent enrollment is 225 students… the community, our alumni, and this region have all been a vital part of supporting our mission and campus. Our faculty and staff have been supportive through the years and we are grateful for their commitment to Hiwassee College and Christian higher education…We wish to thank all of those whose prayers and support have been so meaningful for so long.”

Although the college is closing, the legacy will live on with those positively impacted by Hiwassee College. The final graduates walked across the stage in May. It is a new start for them and the finale of the historic school. Eric Wolfe, student body president and graduate, will have the unique legacy of being the first Biology major to graduate in 60 years and also the last one in school history. This reality for Hiwassee College was heartbreaking for students, alumni, parents, faculty, community and the entirety of Monroe County.

According to national reports, colleges are closing or merging at an accelerating rate, from about eight per year between 2004 and 2014 to an estimated 20 per year moving forward, with small private colleges particularly vulnerable. It was a business decision for Hiwassee College as it faced an enrollment of 225 with a sustained need for at least 500. As the pool of college-bound students shrinks, elite schools will recruit more from populations once left to the smaller regional colleges. Sweet Briar College, a women’s liberal arts college about 12 miles north of Lynchburg, Virginia, had the fiercely loyal alumnae bring their school back from extinction. But there are not enough alumni and, increasingly, not enough students to replicate that everywhere. Sadly, many communities are experiencing the same loss of institutions that is currently being grieved in Monroe County.

It is a harsh reality that we wish did not happen anywhere, but especially our Monroe County, our Hiwassee College. The experience has also brought reflection into a time of our lives somewhat forgotten. When asked, Charles Brakebill was unable to express the hurting within his heart on the closing. Brittany Tipton shared about finding comfort in the memories, stories being shared of Hiwassee greatness. Lisa Bingham hopes that something will revive the beautiful campus and continue providing educational opportunities in the area. The responses are varied, the grief at different stages; however, they are the voices for the buildings that cannot talk, they are sharing the stories of those 60 acres, they were a part of the history and, along with the countless others, they will continue the legacy of Hiwassee College.

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