Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Historical Odds and Ends – SE Tennessee

If we look, there are historical odds and ends scattered all around us.  Some are much more interesting than others…some are better documented…many are well preserved and others, not so much!

Here are 3 off the grid locations in southeast Tennessee that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
As it states above, this is the pumping station for Kimsey Junior College, which is located near Ducktown in Polk County Tennessee.  Well really, its remnants are located in Polk County.  Actually, this pump house and the school itself are perfect examples of government’s good intentions combined with poor planning…i.e. our government at work!   The school was completed in 1933…
Did I mention that this junior college is not operating…that the buildings are not being used for anything?  Or that it was never used as a Junior College? 

This is the road leading up to the school.  The road is closed…gated shut and I chose not to walk any further up towards the buildings.  But no worries…there are always photos on the Internet that I can use!
This photo was borrowed from Wikipedia.  Kimsey Junior College was originally constructed in 1933 with the intention of serving as a Junior College for the region. However, due to the isolation of the Copper Basin from major population centers in the state, the building was never used for its intended purpose.

Kimsey Junior College building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places because it was noted for the construction materials used as well as for its architecture. Designed by architect Reuben H. Hunt as a Collegiate Gothic style building, Kimsey Junior College is the only structure designed by an architect in the Copper Basin.
In 2008, this building was placed on Tennessee’s list of most endangered historic sites on the national register by the Tennessee Preservation Trust. In 2009, grant funds from the National Park Service were used to make some repairs to the roof and walls of the structure… Lots of proposals have been made for the use of this huge building…but it still sits empty and it’s slowly falling apart.
This is the Center and Abernathy Store building at 23 – 33 Ocoee Street in Copper Hill Tennessee.  The Abernathy family building housed a furniture store on the first and second floor in 1925 where they also sold hardware, dynamite, caps and fuses. On the top floor Luther Abernathy had a funeral parlor.  Luther's wife, Elizabeth, was from Barnsville GA and she taught school in McCaysville GA.

At the time that the Abernathy Furniture store was in operation, there were 52 businesses in the area.  This building is now the home of El Rio's Mexican Restaurant and The Copperhill Consignment & Collectible Company.  Other than its age, I was unable to determine what qualified this building for its listing on the NRHP and it has been modified quite a bit over the years.
I did learn that back on February 16, 1990, it would have been tough walking around downtown Copper Hill.  The streets were under almost eight feet of water. Every business in the main shopping district, and every nearby home on level ground, had suffered serious damage by the time the Ocoee River, swollen by several days of abnormally heavy rain, finally receded back within its banks.
This decrepit structure is, I believe, the last remaining ‘home’ along the Ducktown -Isabella Road that represents “Manager’s Row” for the now defunct Copperhill mining district.  The address provided by interfacing the NRHP coordinates, (35°01′28″N 84°21′37″W), with Google Maps, is 149 Stansbury Mountain Road.  This structure sits at an intersection with Stansbury Mountain Road and it is right across from a busy but make-shift scrap yard.  This listing in the NRHP appears sad and forgotten…and in the clutches of a swell ‘crop’ of invasive kudzu vines…

That’s about it for now… Thanks for stopping by and checking out my latest history related blog!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. I wish you wouldn't say those things about our highly effecient guvment :-) Hope you and Laurie have a great Thanksgiving.

  2. When we lived in East Tennessee, my husband and I enjoyed discovering all of the little towns and antique shops! My daughter, who also lives there said it was a beautiful fall season this year! Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. So many little towns and you're right, there are historical odds and ends all around us. That's a lot of history with that intended junior college. I was so happy to see you back at my blog this morning. Woo hoo! It works! Here's wishing you and Laurie a safe Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  4. Dave, Thanks for your Blog. Let me shed some light on the actual use of the Center and Abernathy Store building. I believe the furniture/hardware store was owned and operated by my grandfather, Carl Landrum Center (hence the name Center and Abernathy). He also owned similar stores in Ducktown, Benton, Etowah, and Spring City during the 1920s and 1930s.

    William Landrum Center