Friday, January 20, 2012


click on photos to enlarge
Irwin School House
The above picture of the old school house has absolutely nothing to do with the content of this post.  I like old buildings and this old place has character.  It stands alone and defiant, it seems, against social change.  I like that.

The stone work is beautiful to look at and remains as solid as it was when new.  It's a cinch the builders didn't run down to Home Depot for the materials needed to build this old girl.

Old buildings like this weren't just built.  They were crafted into existence.

The Scona Lodge story is slowly coming together.  There are bits and pieces of the puzzle missing however, and I doubt the missing information will ever come to the forefront.  I believe the information I have on hand is enough to describe the history of the lodge in a "fairly" accurate manner.  Unanswered questions still exist and probably will remain unanswered, as many principle players surrounding the birth and death of Scona Lodge have themselves passed into history and have taken a good deal of information with them.  The shame in their passing is that they didn't put their memories of Scona on paper for others to read, enjoy and understand.
I want to recognize a couple of people who's input fueled my already passionate intentions to find out about the scattered ruins I discovered in the forest eight years ago;  the bones of Scona Lodge.

The first is Anne Hutchison who grew up in the town of Calderwood located just below Calderwood Dam.  The community of Calderwood was created to house the families and workers employed by The Alcoa Company in the construction of Calderwood Dam.  It was located directly across the Little Tennessee River from Scona Lodge.  More about Calderwood when I present the Scona Lodge entry here on this blog.  Anne spent her teen years at Scona Lodge and will be a major part of the blog presentation about Scona.  Her parents worked at Scona Lodge so you can imagine her interest in this project.  She found my blog while searching the internet for Scona Lodge information, of which there is nothing, and found my mention of the lodge in a blog entry.  Eventually we became connected and have been conversing and emailing ever since.  Anne resides in the state of California.
Anne's daughter Colleen, Anne and Cody
I am probably out of my league trying to put the story of Scona into print.  I somehow feel unqualified to undertake the task.  The story of this marvelous place is not just about a magic palace created from stone and wood but, it's the story of people's lives and memories.  It's a place where Anne gathered her information about life from her wonderful parents.  When she left Scona Lodge;  she left part of herself behind.  Her discovery of the demise of Scona awakened precious memories;  memories that now were more precious than ever.  Scona Lodge was and is Anne's heritage and I hope I can help her find the closure she seeks with the information I present, with her help.  The blog entry will contain many of her memories presented in very short statements that, I hope, are visualized as tiny snapshots from a 12 year old girl's past by the reader.  Anne has supplied photographs taken during her teen years at Scona Lodge, many of which contain family members.  It is with her permission that I use them.
The patio across from the building that was home to the butlers and maids.  It's all that's left of Scona Lodge

The second major source of information is a gracious gentleman who managed the grounds operations at Scona from 1977 through 1988.  He not only managed but he did the technical work on the grounds as well as the not so technical work.  His name is Harold Lyninger.  Mr. Lyninger was kind enough to supply more photographs of Scona Lodge for the blog entry.  Pictures of the lodge are few in number and impossible, it seems, to get.  Folks of that era didn't have digital cameras that tucked nicely away on the belt.  Film cameras simply weren't handy to use and were brought into play for special occasions;  not on daily work days.  I only have a few photographs but hopefully enough to let the reader get a flavor of the place.  I met Harold Lyninger through my friend Paul Shaw.  Paul also works for TWRA and performs the same tasks for the agency that I do, only on a different lake.  It seems that Harold is a life long fishing addict and the two of them met while both were on the lake years ago.  It is an amazing coincidence that I had a friend who was the friend of a man who spent 11 years working at the place I was trying to find information about.
Harold as a younger man in the old days enjoying his passion
Paul and I visited Harold on the 18th of this month.  We arrived mid morning and slammed the car doors shut in the drive way.  A voice was heard; "come on in and eat before it gets cold!"
Mr. Lyninger, Harold from now on, was holding the front door open on the porch for us, urgently imploring us to get inside and start eating.
He was genuinely excited to see us and hustled Paul and I to the table that was covered with smoked ham, eggs, home made jelly's, fresh baked biscuits and Harold's pride and joy, personally made sorghum syrup.  I'm not much for jelly and syrup.  I never had a sweet tooth but, when I took a bite of a biscuit covered with Harold's sorghum syrup;  my mouth salivated.  Man, that was good!
The old photo album full of fishing pictures
 We sat and talked;  mostly about fishing.  I was able to insert a question here and there about the lodge and quickly jotted the answer down while it was fresh in my mind.  It seemed that fishing was the primary objective of the conversation and I enjoyed the dialog.  Harold is a mechanical genius.  In the later years of Scona Lodge;  Harold designed and built the water filtration system for the lodge.  He did the same for the septic system, complete with a grinder that he designed.  All wiring and plumbing was accomplished through his capable efforts.  Harold even repaired the ferry that shuttled cars across the river to Scona.
I hope Harold enjoyed our visit as much as we did.  He is a gracious gentleman who extended a true, old Southern Tennessee style hospitality to Paul and me.
In my mind, I can visualize Harold working at Scona Lodge in the old days..  I see a highly intelligent, competent, motivated, creative mechanical genius performing the tasks he loves at the fairy tale lodge across the river.  His inventive creations are many and his fishing stories even more in number.  Harold is 81 years old and we wish him many more birthdays.  It was a memorable visit.

Both Anne and Harold have impacted my life, not only as Scona Lodge residence but, by being the kind of people I am very proud to call my friends.  Their honesty and integrity are beyond reproach and their kindness, accomplishments and passion for life are an inspiration to me.  I thank them both.

The story of Scona Lodge will be told very soon, with the help of a little 14 year old girl who lived there.  Until then;  thanks for looking in.  Check out the photo below. Yep;  its a Shell Gas Station.

Well;  Tennessee's like that sometimes.

Below is a picture of a young Harold Lyninger while fishing, his favorite pastime.  It is with sorrow that I must report the passing of Harold since this article was written.  I will miss the opportunity to meet with him again and to listen to his stories about the good days and times and about his life at Scona Lodge.  You are missed Harold...