Wednesday, February 29, 2012

MOTORCYCLE TO THE OLD CALDERWOOD SITE

click pictures to enlarge
I made the trip to Greenback in one hour and fifteen minutes.  I was meeting two great friends at the Greenback Drug Store for breakfast.  Today would be a motorcycle day.

We were going to drive down to Chota and ride over the gravel road that winds through the mountains behind Chilhowee Lake.  After that, the ride would take off up the opposite side of the lake on Route 129 toward Calderwood Lake with a stop off at the Calderwood power house.  I wanted to introduce them to that historic area.  It is an area that I am particularly fond of.
The road we would travel was part asphalt and mostly gravel.  It was in great shape and would guarantee a pleasant ride.  Speed was of no importance at all.  Sights and sounds were "all" important.  The motorcycles are equipped with super quiet mufflers and its wonderful to hear the wind, birds and each other when we speak.
"I'm cool!"
Kevin, above, is driving a BMW.
Shaun, above.

The ride was beautiful so far.  We were driving through the "real" Tennessee.  Gatlinburg and those other abominations, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are far to the East.  I really miss living back here a lot.  This country is me!  We made a big loop on the gravel road and came out on hard pavement.  The next stop would be the deserted and razed town of Calderwood.
I am constantly drawn to this deserted place.  The feeling isn't as strong as the draw to the Scona site but, its a pretty hard pull.  The old town of Calderwood rested on a hillside that meandered along the edge of the Little Tennessee River, now, Chilhowee Lake.  The layout of the homes can sort of be recognized.  There isn't much left.  A few sidewalks, foundations,  light poles and some steps here and there are about all there is.

These skeletons of destroyed homes appear here and there and are reminders that once a sweet little community with happy, loving people lived here.  How beautiful this spot is, and what a sweet, clean place to live!
This home must have been a beautiful and large structure.  A garage, still standing, sits to the left front of it.

There's a lot of negative comments directed toward The Alcoa Company for the destruction of Scona Lodge and Calderwood.  It is a shame these great places couldn't have been saved for posterity.  We have to remember one thing - if it weren't for The Alcoa Company, these great places would not have come into being.  It is through the will of the Alcoa Aluminum Company that the community of Calderwood and Scona Lodge existed in the first place.  People spent the best part of their lives growing families and working here servicing the company they worked for.  Scona Lodge was born out of the board rooms of Alcoa, for whatever reasons and flourished for years across the river providing a make believe world in a wilderness.  The people who lived and worked there were the salt of the earth and dedicated their hands, hearts and minds to the betterment of Scona.   When their missions were accomplished and their existence no longer required - both were destroyed by their creator.  Calderwood and Scona Lodge were both on loan to the public.  That's how it must be understood.  They were both noteworthy enough to be written into Tennessee's history books and their creation, lifespan and eventual destruction remembered with pride by all those who had a hand in the success of these great places.  The wonderful memories and experiences gained was the payment to those dedicated folks who served these two all American icons.  I'm told I am a romantic and I wear it on my sleeve.  I guess I am.  Its reflected in the way I write about things, especially animals.  I have never had the honor of seeing the old Calderwood or the mystical Scona Lodge.  I feel, however, that they have been taken away from me.  In reality I'm jealous that others had the privilege of being a part of both these wonders and I did not.  I've said it before:  I was born too late.
An old tube type radio sits on the ground in the middle of a house foundation.   It sits, a relic from the past.


We drove around to the right and up a steep hill to the Methodist Church.  It is protected and stands as it did when Calderwood was in flower.


The door had a pad lock on it and there was no way to get a view through the windows.  The structure is gradually falling into disrepair.  Rain gutters have tiny trees and grass growing out of the sediment that has collected in the gutters.  The church is quaint and charming in its design and location.

The grave yard contains stones that date back to 1758.  Its an amazing place.


Look at the backdrop for this beautiful cemetery.


We drove down the trail to the peninsula that holds the old ferry landing that represented the gateway to Scona.

I stood behind the ferry landing and stared across at where Scona Lodge once proudly sat.  I tried to envision her beauty as I mouthed her history to Kevin and Shaun.  Scona rested on the ground that is bordered by the two yellow posts on the gate.  It is all kudzu over there now but, can you just imagine what she looked like back in 1950?  Those two tall tree like projections across the lake are the towers where the ferry cables were attached.  The landing is between them.  Scona and her golf course ran to the right from the lower cable tower.  The golf  course went to land's edge at the water and extended to the right and clear off the picture.  It's hard to believe.
I feel privileged and delighted to have had the opportunity to research and discover the secrets of Scona Lodge but, I am envious of those who have experienced her pleasures when she was young.  She now lays at rest beneath a cover of thick kudzu.  Kudzu seems so unfitting a blanket for her.  On the other hand - maybe Scona wants it that way.  She can rest undisturbed in safety from prying eyes and worse. I love to visit her resting place, linger on her grounds and gaze at her beauty through the window of my imagination.  That's all I have.  Bye Scona.  I'll be back to visit.  We then turned to leave and I felt like I was walking away from a dear friend, a lover I've never held in my arms.


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