Nashville skyline

Nashville skyline

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Columbia, TN former National Guard Armory

Edwin A. Keeble, Architect, and Francis B. Warfield, Engineer and Architect, designed a series of Tennessee National Guard Armories for the Works Projects Administration (Van West, C. 2009. Edwin A. Keeble. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture).  Between 1940 and 1942, they designed 5 armory buildings in Tennessee, including Cleveland, Shelbyville, Centeniere, Columbia, and Murfreesboro.

 The Kingsport Times described the armory, begun in 1941 and completed in 1942, as
..designed with a 'rather standardized, but vaguely Art Deco-style' architectural plan. (Tri-Cities Port Listed by WPA as Defense Aid, October 19, 1941, p. 2)
The vaguely Art Deco reference would be in regard to the rounded corners, columns, concrete canopies, and the simplicity of the Art Moderne architecture during a time of frugal use of resources.
During World War II, the armory was headquarters of the Tenth Machine Gun and Chemical Company (Van West, 2001, p. 85-86).

 The current use of the building is by Parks and Recreation, and the sounds of a basketball game echoed from the 70 x 100 foot drill hall, now used as a basketball court, on the day I visited.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Columbia, Tennessee: former Polk Theatre

Columbia's Polk Theatre opened October 18, 1951 by the Crescent Amusement Company with a showing of I Can Get it for You Wholesale.  It held 1250 "retractable"seats, and boasted a "cyclorama screen" and a cry room.  Al Shortley managed the theater. (HSV Movies, Historical Information Tennessee Columbia)
The Polk was distinguished as the first and only wide screen theatre in Maury County up until it was twinned in the early 1970s.  Although the interior has been sliced and diced, most of the Polk's distinctive features, such as its large stage and proscenium, tiled columns, and spacious balcony, appear intact. (Jack Coursey, Polk Theatre,
For a photo of the theatre in its early years, check the link.  You can also click on photos to see interior in its current state.  In 2010, the Maury County Arts Guild began fundraising to purchase the building and renovate it as a downtown theatre arts center.  Although several fundraisers were held, as of 2014, the news is the project is on hold.  In August of 2015, it remained a mattress store. (Abby Lee Hood, "Will the Polk Theatre Return?" Set Magazine, 2014, Volume 2/Issue 5, p. 19).

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Union Gospel Tabernacle and Ryman Auditorium

 Captain Tom Ryman is responsible for the construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle after hearing the Rev. Samuel P. Jones speak at a tent revival ( The first service was held May 25, 1890, with only the foundation and six feet of walls, covered by a tent purchased from the Greenville, Mississippi company who owned it.  Jones had been holding his meetings under the rented tent until Ryman vowed to build him a tabernacle.
The Indiana Church Finishing Company supplied the pews, and in 1892, the tabernacle was completed.  The balcony was added in 1897, and the stage constructed in 1901.  When Ryman died in 1904, Rev. Jones asked to rename the site the Ryman Auditorium.  Along with many memorable events over the years, The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman in 1943. In 1994, Nashville's "Mother Church of Country Music" re-opened following major renovations as a performance hall and museum.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cavert School--Nashville

 Nashville's Cavert Elementary School opened September 1928 for grades 1-9, to ease overcrowding in the public school system.  Named for Dr. A. J. Cavert, who was principal at a number of Nashville schools, it became a junior high in 1936 after the 1936 PWA-financed Eakin School next door was completed (Nashville Public Library, digital collections).

Its classical/neoclassical facade, designed by Tisdale and Pension, reflected the prevailing notion that this style represented knowledge.
The prominence of its entrance porch and the richness of its details transform the little red schoolhouse of popular myth into a Beaux-Arts monument to a classical education. (Kreyling, C., Paine, W. Warterfield, Jr., C. W., Wiltshire, S. F. 1996. Classical Nashville: Athens of the South. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press)
 Along with construction of the 1936 Eakin School, an addition was made to Cavert that year, and a gymnasium was added in 1964.  In 1965, it became the Special Education campus for Nashville school system.
 In 1998, the Board of Education approved $5 million to demolish Eakin and Cavert and rebuild.
 Renovations to Eakin were projected to cost $7 million.  The Eakin-Cavert Parent Teacher Organization reacted with political, economic, and social advocacy to save the two schools.
Forming a coalition of the PTO and interested residents of the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood, they worked to convince the city and the school board that the historic character of the Hillsboro-West End Historic District would be irreparably impacted by the demolition of the two buildings.  They also contributed to fund-raising efforts to support their advocacy for preservation and restoration, and in 2005, renovations began, and the two buildings were linked with a new wing to form one school.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Reflections on family and stray dogs

 I was reading a post on Social Bridge this morning, and like most of what Jean writes, it leaves me thinking about things long after I have finished with the post.  I think that is what Edward Albee meant when he once said he wanted patrons to leave the theatre thinking about more than where they parked the car.  My cousin sent me this photograph a couple of weeks ago, taken of Mother the year I took her to San Antonio at Christmas to spend a few days with her nieces.  Growing up, we had always been closest to the children of mother's sister, and in fact, her sister, as we saw them the most and spent the most amount of time with them.

Mother was able to get around well then, although the steep climb up the winding steps to reach the lovely lakeside cabin we had rented for a few days was a challenge.  She could still see well, as the macular degeneration had not yet begun to take its toll on her vision.
 I have been trying out a new photo-editing software, and learning to use my new camera, so while importing some photographs into the new software, had to stop a few times and look at something that caught my eye.  While I am not maudlin by any means, and in fact, am quite happy with my life and how it has turned out, I look at the photograph of Dad and me, taken when I was mid-20s or so, which would have put him mid-40s, and looking back, never had a thought of how those perspectives would change over the years.
 Beth's post on Small Simple Things of Life this morning also triggered some thoughtful reflections about those who are vulnerable.  I think it captured the emotion of how frustrating and painful it can be to want to do something, and be unable to do what you wish you could, yet, doing something that is as much as you can is often enough, or at least, better than doing nothing.  In my class last week, as we are moving into teaching about using groups in clinical practice, I was struck by the depth of emotion that emerged in one of the small practice groups where we were working.  I shared with the students that I felt some sense of loss and lack of knowing what to do to help, and that it was painful to me.  We worked on processing it, and I hope that it was helpful in some way, but the reality is that there are some burdens I cannot ease--as there are for all of us who care about what people are feeling and experiencing and how we all struggle at times with making sense of an often overwhelming influx of stressors.
At those times, it may be necessary to not only practice mindfulness and the ability to center ourselves and manage those emotions, but also to focus.  Focus has the ability to bring things into greater clarity and weed out the unhelpful noise and color of the background.
Once we do that, it is often that we are able to summon the energy and strength to continue the journey, and in a spirit of optimistic self-confidence.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Meigs Falls, Great Smoky Mountains


Meigs Falls is situated a short distance from the Little River road inside the entrance to the park.  Easy to miss, we missed it the first time.  It is one of the few you can see without a hike or getting your feet wet.