Sunday, October 20, 2013


This is the last day my friend from Pennsylvania would be here in Tennessee and I wanted to make this a memorable day for her.  I know that she, like me, appreciates early American history and followed the recommendation of a friend to take her to the Museum of Appalachia which is the final word on the early history of this area.  The Museum is a collection of authentic early American buildings that were moved to the museum site from their original locations.  These are the real deal that served as homes and work places of the people who built this nation.  I have driven past this wonderful collection of history many times not knowing of the historical secrets kept on the place.
We left early yesterday morning and stopped for breakfast at a wonderful country restaurant just a couple miles away from the museum.  What a great meal and a terrific way to start the memorable day we were about to have!
There are 35 original pioneer buildings on the premises and each is an original building built and used by the settlers, farmers and pioneers of East Tennessee. These are people of Appalachia - hard working people who designed and built whatever it was that they needed, to include rifles, looms, barrels, wagon wheels and uncountable other implements with which they scratched out a life for themselves and their families in a terribly harsh environment.  They were a tenacious and innovative people who would not allow the disappointments and hardships of life to diminish their resolve to persevere and succeed.  

One can't help but feel catapulted back in time as he moves from building to building, lingering at each one and wondering, "how did they survive the elements?"

My favorite house was a tiny, tiny shack that belonged to an old bachelor named Tom Cassidy.  He once said, "I've got that little cot in there, a chair, a stove for heat and cooking, a frying pan, a bean pot, an old dresser, my fiddle and my pistol;  what more does a man need?"

Old Tom reminds me of, well, myself.

And, below is old Tom on his luxurious front porch.
A couple more shots of Tom's cabin follow.  My little friend Janet is looking inside in one shot.  She hates to have her picture taken.
 Could you live in that doll house?
What follows is a real life jail house.  I find this thing amazing.  It has iron ceiling, floor, walls and doors.  The floor in the picture is wood plank but, the original was iron. Prisoner comfort obviously wasn't a concern in those days.  Four men to a room. Yikes!

Below is the Mark Twain family cabin which was moved here from Possum Trot, Tennessee.  Mark Twain's  parents and some of their children lived in this building.
The inside of the Mark Twain cabin speaks about the well off condition that this family enjoyed.

 A corn crib sits at the corner of the Twain house.

 A pioneer barn and chicken coop.

Pryor Bunch had twelve children and raised them in two rooms.  He was just eight years old when he helped his father drag the logs in from the mountains with a yoke of oxen.  The nearest store was 12 miles where they'd buy their salt.
Janet took a break to read up on some history from the museum brochure.

The Arnwine Cabin is above and below:

Every item in this home is hand made.  Think about that for a moment.  There was no place to buy anything.  If it was needed - it was created by industrious people.
 That bed reminds me of my bed - sort of..

No, this is not Danial Boone's cabin.  This is, however, an original pioneer cabin that was moved here. 
It is a one room cabin that was used by 20th Century Fox as the frontier home of Daniel Boone in the TV series called Young Dan'l Boone.
Note the dirt floor.  Thats about as basic as it gets.
Of course a school was needed.  It is below accompanied by some authentic "in school house photos."

Oh, that gizmo above is a bark grinding stone.  Pealed tree bark was shredded and thrown in that circle and the heavy stone would pulverize it to produce tannic acid for the tanning of hides for leather that could be used to make saddles, harnesses etc. An oxen would be used to push against the wooden post that goes through the stone wheel and round and round he would walk which would roll that heavy stone over the bark.
An old mountain man was on site to answer questions asked by the public who were mostly from modern, high tech cities.   Looks allot like myself.  Oh, it is me.
The self guided tour ends in the Hall Of Fame.  It is an enormous building bulging at the seams with early pioneer artifacts and stories.  We spent hours in that building.  Hours!
That last paragraph on the sign above, I fear, is what's missing in our newest generation and I often wonder if that generation cares enough about American heritage to find out about it.
I did my best to photograph some signs that described the artifact but, the light was very low and the flash had to be used often.  Flashes create reflections.  I apologize in advance for any poor photography.  Excuses, excuses!
The above shot is an early Diabold Safe.

There is a wooden machine below that was used to put rifling or "twists"  in the barrels of hunting rifles.

I'll bet Mr. Martin would have been a hoot to talk to!

I'm not trying to photograph everything in this building by any stretch of the imagination.  I don't think it can be done.  I just picked out interesting items and tried to get a picture of it.  This place is priceless!!

There are a lot of simple coffin displays in this one area.  They are simply built with no glamorous interiors or special, expensive decorations.  There is even one coffin that was converted into a tool box.  Nothing was ever wasted.  Nothing.
I wondered if this hearse was pulled by black horses..
I was read with amazement the stories of Sergeant York.  Alvin York is a WWI hero of the highest order and considered a treasure by the citizens of his home town of Pall Mall, TN and by the citizens of the entire state.  For those of you who are not informed about Sergeant York - I appeal to you to Google his name and read the amazing story of what he did one deadly day in WWI.
 I've been to Sergeant Alvin York's grave site and the folks in Pall Mall place fresh flowers on his grave daily.  They are very proud of him, as they should be.
I could go on and on with this but, I think I've given you an idea of what the place is about.  Go there and be amazed yourself.  Pigeon Forge and Sevierville will always be there with their Ferris wheels, water slides, zip lines and bumper cars.  This is the place to come if you want to learn about our heritage and to meet the people who helped to craft the country that is the greatest nation on earth.  They were people of the earth who knew how to use their hands and brains to create or grow what they needed to survive in a harsh environment and in doing so paved the way for all of us. 

This is the last day I will spend with Janet as she must leave tomorrow morning for Pennsylvania.  I thoroughly enjoyed her company and am sorry to see her leave.  Its been wonderful sharing thoughts about history and nature with her over the past three days and I'll miss the wonderful conversation.  And so, more memories were made to hold precious through the years to come and thoughts of her visit will be looked upon as - just wonderful.