Wednesday, December 31, 2014


As 2014 comes to an end and I reflect on this past year, I am thankful for family, friends and our opportunity to enjoy retirement here in the scenic paradise that is East Tennessee.  

Laurie and I look forward to 2015 with great anticipation and hope.  May life treat all of you as well as it has us.  Live life to the fullest every day and give thanks for what you have and for your day to day experiences... We only go around once on this earth, so we all need to make the most of our journey.

Happy New Year!  ¡Feliz año nuevo!
  Heureuse Nouvelle Année!  新年快樂
Frohes Neues Jahr!  নতুন বছরে সুখী
С Новым годом!  Felice Anno Nuovo!
Gott Nytt År!  新年明けましておめでとうござい

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave, Laurie and J.D.

Monday, December 29, 2014

World War II and the Plains of Nebraska

Our last ‘chapter’ about our visit to the Nebraska Prairie Museum involves a exhibit on a topic that we weren’t aware of or ever thought of.  When one considers America and World War II, we think of the sacrifices of our military personnel and their families, Pearl Harbor, U-Boat attacks, the bombing of London, the Pacific Theater, the Normandy Invasion, Hiroshima and perhaps the Battle of the Bulge. 

What we encountered at the museum involved WWII and part of its history in south central Nebraska… 

Yes…This is a guard tower!  More importantly, it has a sign on the fence that reads “German WWII POW Camp”!  We knew that many Japanese-Americans had been held in Internment Camps…but somehow it never dawned on either of us that German POW’s had been incarcerated here in the USA.  We certainly didn’t learn about it in our history classes.

Over three million prisoners of war were captured by Allied forces during World War II.  Of these, 370,000 Germans and 50,000 Italians were transferred from the battlefront to the United States at the request of our European allies, who were holding all the prisoners they could.  Prisoners were brought to the U.S. to be safely confined and to supplement a depleted civilian work force.  The POWs lived at 126 large camps, mostly in the center of the country, each housing several thousand men.

This is a mural at the entrance to the Nebraska Prairie Museum’s latest exhibit, entitled “Into the Eye of the Storm”.  This exhibit portrays “Camp Atlanta”, the WWII German POW Camp which was located near Atlanta Nebraska, just about 5 miles from the museum in Holdrege. (I failed to record this artist’s name…) 

The barracks for the POW camps were nearly identical for both the U.S. military personnel and the German prisoners.  The Corps of Engineers considered the ideal base camp to be an area of about 320 acres with relatively level ground providing good drainage.  This is about equal to a rectangle measuring a half mile by one mile.

Atlanta was divided into three main prisoner compounds with a capacity of approximately 1,000 men each.  Each compound consisted of several barracks buildings as well as a mess hall, workshop, canteen, infirmary, administrative building and recreation hall.  The barracks buildings were 20 x 100 feet and consisted of a concrete slab floor, cheaply built 2 x 4 framing and a covering of 4 x 8 tar-based sheeting for the exterior walls.  A layer of one-inch thick fiber material comprised the interior walls.

This is what the ‘real’ entrance to the Atlanta Prisoner of War Camp looked like when the camp was in operation.  The word ‘stark’ comes to mind!  It should be noted that the US Colonel in charge of the camp and his wife did much of the work on the sign by themselves as the Army was taking too long to get it accomplished...

When construction began in September 1943, locals were told this would be a "Conchie Camp" for the conscientious objectors from the United States. However, by November it became known that Atlanta would be a Prisoner of War camp expected to guard German prisoners.  The camp was staffed and guarded by approximately 275 US Army enlisted men and 60 officers.

The sign reads “This toy cart was made by a prisoner at the Atlanta Prisoner of War Camp during WWII.  It was given to a boy who lived near the camp.

The US Commander of the Atlanta POW Camp worked hard to keep the prisoners under his charge busy and out of trouble.  Among other things, they were involved in crafts, gardening, laundry, live theater, had their own German language newspaper, could watch movies twice a week…they even had their own orchestra!  Without activities and work, trouble could be just around the corner… While most German soldiers weren’t Nazis, the hard-core members of that group in the midst of the population were always trying to stir up the prisoners.

Some POWs resisted work or other activities.  An effective incentive to participation in these programs was one of "No Work, No Food." Prisoners who didn't cooperate with the Americans were put on bread and water rations until their thinking came into line with their captors.

Of great interest to Laurie and I were the many paintings depicting life at the Atlanta Prisoner of War Camp… This is entitled “Antreten Zur Zahlung” and it depicts the daily routine at reveille and retreat…the twice a day head count of the prisoners.

The artist is Thomas F. Naegele, a former US Army Interpreter who was assigned to the camp.  Naegele’s family had fled to England from Germany before the start of the War.  Later, he immigrated to the USA where he served as a US Army Interpreter.  The Army obviously needed soldiers who could speak German to help them run these camps.

“Sunrise at the Main Gate…” In this scene, guards are checking out POWs headed out to work on farm trucks with a guard detail along for the ride.  They were also checking in a few local civilians who worked at the camp.
Many of the German POWs were allowed to leave the camp under limited guard to help with agricultural work.  German prisoners of war from the internment camps proved to be of considerable aid to Nebraska farmers in helping to pick the state's 1944 record breaking corn crop.  These men were made available through application to county agricultural extension agents after priority had been given by the War Manpower Commission.  Toward the end of the war, some families were so comfortable with their POW laborers that one farmer reported that his wife would just go and pick them by herself.

This Naegele painting is entitled “Bread Wagon”.  Following complaints about the soft white factory bread that the prisoners were originally served, a variety of flours and yeast were provided to the commissary.  An oven was installed and bakers were selected from the POW ranks. 

Consequently, from that time forward, daily crisp and crusty loaves were provided for both the prisoners and the American troops guarding them… The bakery produced 1,044 pounds, or 522 loaves, of white bread daily.  For variety, rye bread was baked in limited quantities several times a week.

German prisoners in the USA were generally well treated, many of them living more comfortably and eating better than they would have back in Germany. (Of course they were still prisoners) Quite a number of them later immigrated to the US and became citizens.  Students of WWII might comment that our troops held in German POW camps didn’t fare as well.  That is true, but think about how we would have treated our German POWs if we’d been invaded!

I borrowed this photo and a couple of others from the Museum’s on-line exhibit.  This picture from the Atlanta POW Camps shows that it takes a lot of cooks to prepare meals for a camp full of hungry men.  The German POWs did all their own cooking and even prepared meals for the GIs.  Once the German cooks took over the commissary, both sides enjoyed better meals.

This painting is “Hoeing Beets”.  The springtime cultivation of new plants was relatively light work for the POW’s…especially when compared to husking corn in the summer.

This painting is titled “A Winter Patrol”.  The mounted American soldier is in search of 2 POW escapees who snipped their way out of camp on a cold Saturday night using a stolen pair of pliers.  By Wednesday of the same week, they were back in camp courtesy of a local sheriff.

Escapes from any of these camps were relatively rare.  The vastness of the USA boggled the minds of any prisoners who tried… They usually just turned themselves in after a couple of days.  There were exceptions.  The most notable escapee was Georg Gärtner.  He escaped from a POW camp in Deming, New Mexico on September 21, 1945.  He assumed a new identity and lived quietly for decades until "surrendering" to Bryant Gumbel on the Today Show in 1985.  Although wanted by the FBI for 40 years, he lived in Colorado under his adopted name, Dennis Whiles, and wrote a book about his experiences after escaping, entitled “Hitler's Last Soldier in America.”

This is titled “A Serenade”.  A POW named Panzer-Schmitt played a serenade for a GI couple while shopping in a McCook Nebraska pawnshop.  He was looking for inexpensive musical instruments to form a camp ensemble orchestra.  Note the US Army guard observing the scene. 

To quote one occupant of the Atlanta POW Camp, "When we first got to the camp, there were horse mounted patrols, guard dogs in fence runs, rifles and soldiers everywhere. Search lights shined around the camp at night. Toward the end of the war, Camp Atlanta was just like a quiet little town, with nothing going on even after dark." 

As I mentioned earlier, the German POWs even staged their own plays and entertainment.   When the prisoners' script called for a female part, one of the younger, fine-featured men would be called on to fill the role.  Music was an important diversion as well.  Some of the orchestra members even took their instruments back to Germany after the war…

The title of this painting ‘borrowed’ from the Nebraska Prairie Museum’s website is “What did those Krauts Say?”  The interpreter and artist, Thomas Naegele is in the foreground.  To quote: “My fellow Americans are curious and listen to my stories, which allow that not all Germans are Nazis, that the prisoners I spoke to are glad to be in America, and afraid of the Nazis among them. I try to explain what "Nazi" means.  Some of the GIs seem to question my loyalty, all but blaming me for their having to be soldiers away from family, school and job . . .” 

There was a lot of posturing and rabble-rousing efforts in the camps by fanatic long-time prisoners from the German Afrika Korps and the Waffen-SS.  As trouble makers, they were bounced from camp to camp before finally being isolated.  Such prisoners were responsible for at least 72 deaths, by coerced suicide in various camps between 1943 and 1945.  Most of those who were responsible were court martialed.

Another painting entitled “Defiance at the Gate” also featured Pfc. Naegele.  In February 1945, he’d been sent to one of the compounds with orders to confiscate all food supplies, other than bread, from a company mess hall in compliance with a bread-and-water diet as punishment for the prisoners' stubborn refusal to help with compound chores. 

“Returning From the Dump”… In April 1945, POWs were driven over to McCook Air Base to look for a load of wood and metal scrap for the prisoners to make into suitcases, toys, souvenirs and picture frames. Over a dozen of the frames in the Museum’s collection of Thomas Naegele’s works were handmade by a POW who also happened to be a master carpenter.  That’s the carpenter in the back of the truck ‘enjoying the first ice cream cone he’d had in years’.

This is a manikin in prisoner of war garb with his suitcase as he prepared for his return to Germany after the war.  In reality, most prisoners returning home were dressed in navy-dyed army surplus clothing.  They traveled by rail to the Norfolk Virginia Naval Yards. 

By December 1945 the government had become highly sensitive about prisoners of war being used in any job that could possibly be filled by returning American military veterans or those leaving the defense industries.  This meant that all 2,219 POWs remaining at Camp Atlanta, who were not actively working to maintain the camp, had little to do.  These men engaged in regular camp activities, including education classes, sports, hobbies and cultural programs. In January 1946, the Atlanta Prisoner of War Camp was officially deactivated.

A clearance sale of ninety remaining buildings began at 10:00 a.m. April 1, 1947.  These buildings were sold to the highest bidder with no priorities required. Thousands of feet of lumber were also included in this sale.  A few of the buildings that were purchased are still in use in the area.

To view many photos and paintings related to the Atlanta Nebraska POW Camp, just go to Laurie and I would heartily recommend the Nebraska Prairie Museum.  It is very interesting.  To learn more about this museum, you can go to

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by…and wading through this rather long posting!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, December 26, 2014

Nice Lunch in Bowling Green Kentucky

In early September Laurie and I were on our way back to our home in East Tennessee after visiting family in St. Louis and Omaha.  I took a different route home…not the fastest one…just because we like seeing new areas and don’t like retracing our path for any drive or trip…

Once again I used as my 'go to' guide for lunch.

Home Café and Marketplace is ranked #2 by out of all the restaurants in Bowling Green Kentucky.  Currently, this restaurant has 34 Excellent or Very Good reviews versus 0 Poor or Terrible reviews. 
This is casual dining, that’s for sure.  They’ve tucked this little bit of outdoor dining on the small sidewalk/patio area outside the restaurant.

This chalkboard greeted us on the sidewalk next to the entrance to Home Café and Marketplace.  I paid attention to this list… Can you guess what I ordered for lunch?

The interior of Home Café and Marketplace is a little quirky… Love the pig flying over the mirror.  Note the banner that reads “Farm to Table”.  Another chalkboard sign on the wall listed 20 local purveyors that Home Café buys product from.

Diners place their order at the counter after studying the menu on the wall.  The menu is changed on a regular basis so there is a great chance that you’ll be able to try something new when you return for another meal. 

Here are 3 examples of the menu from early December: Autumn Salad ($7.99) with spring mix greens, goat cheese, candied pecans, apples, prosciutto and balsamic dressing; Meat Me Pizza ($7.49) with San Marzano sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon and banana peppers; Smoked Bologna Reuben ($8.49) with black rye bread, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and Marksbury Farm beef bologna.

This is what I ordered from the blackboard at the entrance to Market Café.  It’s the Pepperoni, Italian Sausage and Pesto Pizza. ($7.49) Can you spell “Excellent”?!  This was a great little pizza, perfect for my lunch…

Laurie went with a classic Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich with house made chips on the side. ($8.49) The sandwich was very good indeed and it’s a good thing that we can’t buy the potato chips locally!  They were great!

This is a gourmet sandwich and pizza restaurant… There are 3 classically trained chefs on staff plus 2 other restaurant veterans with over 30 years of experience.  We will definitely stop at the Home Café and Marketplace on the next trip that takes us through this part of Kentucky.  This restaurant is located at 2440 Nashville Road in Bowling Green.  Phone: 270-846-1272.  Website:  Just click on any of the photographs to enlarge them...

We hope that you had a terrific Christmas!  Thanks for stopping by for a 'light' lunch after your holiday feast…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Greetings!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

My mother was an artist… She used many mediums to create her works over the years.  They ranged from oil paint to watercolors, weaving and collage.  This ink print of the Nativity Scene came from a wood block she carved.  It reminds us of the true reason and meaning of Christmas. 

And…what would Christmas be without Santa Claus and children! 
They look a little apprehensive, don’t you think? 
This photo is of Laurie and her sister Bonnie from 1954.


This photo helps to explain one of the reasons that we’re enjoying Christmas even more than ever!  This was our home in Mt. Prospect Illinois after yet another snow storm… Our ‘little boy’, David II was there to help us shovel.  The problem with snow in Chicago is that while it’s pretty right after the storm, with time it turns ugly gray or black and it’s so darn cold that it feels like it will never melt!

This is our home in East Tennessee in January 2014.  Yes…there is a lot of snow!  Actually, in the 5 winters we’d experienced in Tennessee, this snowfall totaling 9 inches in all was the most snow we’d seen since leaving the frozen north… The difference is that all of this snow was completely gone 2 days after it arrived!!

We hope that everyone has a mild winter, a blessed Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Love to All!

Big Daddy Dave, Laurie and JD 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Nebraska Prairie Museum – Part III

Continuing with our tour of south central Nebraska back in early September… The Nebraska Prairie Museum in Holdrege was packed with lots of antiques, vignettes of how life used to be and all kinds of related memorabilia.  This segment will deal with some of the larger items on display…farm equipment and transportation.

As you can see, this display hall was packed with farm equipment.  There are tractors, combines, wagons, bailers, plows and much, much more to view.  We’ve seen larger displays of old farm equipment but the Nebraska Prairie Museum manages to cover the basic gamut of related equipment in a restricted space.

This impressive old Case Steam Tractor with its metal wheels is displayed with a long belt attached to another piece of farm machinery.

Steam tractors were used extensively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The first steam tractors designed specifically for agricultural uses were just portable engines built on skids or on wheels and transported to the work area using horses.  Later models used the power of the steam engine itself to power a drive train to move the machine.  Reportedly, they were first referred to as "traction drive" engines…which eventually was shortened to "tractor".

This threshing machine or ‘separator’ is connected to the Case Steam Tractor with the belts.  The threshing machine is powered by the tractor via the belts.
Case was one of America's largest builders of steam engines, producing self-propelled portable engines, traction engines and steam tractors.  It was also a major producer of threshing machines and other harvesting equipment.  The company was founded in 1844.  The brand survives today as part of CNH Global, a division of the Fiat Group.  Today, Case IH is the world’s second largest brand of agricultural equipment. 

This photo shows a picture of a steam tractor and threshing machine at work in a field.  As you can see, it is a major operation requiring quite a few field hands.  Farmers would gather bundles of hay from the shocks scattered across the field, loading them on the on the horse-drawn hayracks.  Then they’d pitch the bundles into the separator/thresher.  Straw would be blown out the back into a pile and the grain would be fed into a grain wagon along the side of the thresher. 

Back in the days when steam tractors were being used, this was another necessary piece of farm equipment.  This is a Case Water Wagon…without water, you can’t make steam to power the tractor’s engine.

Laurie’s mother’s family name is McCormick so we couldn’t pass up this clunky looking tractor.  These less expensive, lighter, and faster-starting internal combustion (kerosene, petrol or distillate) tractors fully emerged after World War I, replacing the steam tractors.

The McCormick name in farm machinery dates back to Cyrus McCormick, who produced the first successful reaper in 1831.  McCormick's company was one of the many operations that eventually became International Harvester.  International renamed their new tractors as McCormick-Deering in 1923.  The McCormick-Deering name was used on standard (wide) front tractors for the next three decades.

This is a Weber Farm Wagon.  In 1902, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company merged with four other harvesting machine companies (Deering Harvester Company; Warder, Bushnell and Glessner Company; the Milwaukee Harvester Company and the Plano Manufacturing Company) to form International Harvester Company.  In 1904, the company also purchased the Weber Wagon Company.  This particular wagon was sold to a local farmer by a dealer located in Holdrege.
If you’d like to buy one of these old farm wagons for your country estate, one is available for only $7,900 via the following website:

This piece of whimsy is an early golf cart…complete with some old golf clubs.  I didn’t pick up the name of the manufacturer but it was donated by a local family whose patriarch had used it for many years.  I’d feel a lot safer in today’s 4-wheelers!

This is a 1925 Model T Ford Delivery Van.  It was restored using a solid walnut body…probably the only one like it in existence.  The RCA sign was hand painted by an artist from Lincoln Nebraska. 

In 1925 a new Ford truck production record was established…with more than 270,000 vehicles coming off the production line!  You will note that the trucks and automobiles on exhibit at the Nebraska Prairie Museum are practical…they aren’t ‘hot’ or ‘exotic’ vehicles.  It does boggle my mind that they were donated and not just sold off in the marketplace.  Lots of restoration effort is evident as well!

This is a 1922 LaFrance Fire Engine.  The first fire department was organized in Holdrege in 1886 but the first fire truck wasn’t acquired until 1916.  It was a fire truck constructed on a Buick chassis!  This engine was purchased in 1923 and it stayed in service until 1947.  It originally cost $8,000…$109,000 in today’s dollars.

The American LaFrance Fire Engine Company was one of the oldest fire apparatus manufacturers in America. It was founded in 1873 by Truckson LaFrance and his partners.  Early on, the company built hand-drawn, horse-drawn, and steam-powered fire engines.  American LaFrance delivered its first motorized fire engine in 1907.  Over the years, American LaFrance built thousands of fire trucks including chemical engines, combination pumpers, aerial ladder trucks, Aero Chief snorkel trucks, and airport crash trucks.  The Company ceased operations in January of 2014.

This is a 1920 Federal truck.  It was restored by the son of the original owner and then it was donated to the museum.  The family farm was in Funk Nebraska. 

 The Federal Motor Truck Company was headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.  The company was founded in 1910 as Bailey Motor Truck by Martin L. Pulcher, who would later found the Oakland Motor Car Company. The last Federal vehicle made for the US marketplace was made in 1959.   Between 1910 and 1959, over 160,000 Federal trucks were assembled.  As of February 2004, only 183 of surviving Federal trucks had been located in an effort to build a registry of these vehicles.

As you can see by the sign on the running board, this truck is a 1914 Republic.  The Republic Motor Truck Company was a manufacturer of commercial trucks from around 1913 – 1929.  The company was based in Alma, Michigan.  By 1918, it was recognized as the largest truck manufacturer in the world. (i.e., the largest company manufacturing only trucks) At that time, it built one out of every 9 trucks on the road in the USA.  During WWI, Republic was one of the major suppliers of the "Liberty trucks" used by American troops during World War I.


·       Author Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) purchased a Republic truck in 1916 and drove it across the United States. His exploits were later published in the pamphlet "An Auto-Biography".

·       Republic had over 3,000 dealers across the United States, with additional dealers in at least 56 foreign countries and colonies.

As I said before, fancy doesn’t count in this museum.  It’s all about day-to-day life and the mundane or basic items that were used by residents of this prairie landscape.  This 1952 Buick Special was the first car sold in Holdrege by a local Buick dealership.  This 2-door hard top coupe model was first introduced in 1951.

This modified Dodge truck is “Dempster #2”… It was used for windmill installation or repairs.  Dempster Industries was in the business of selling windmills across the prairie.

After the Homestead Act of 1862 opened the door for settlers to claim free land across the United States, Charles Dempster saw an opportunity.  He founded Dempster Industries in 1878 in Beatrice Nebraska.  His company became the first windmill manufacturer in the country that also sold water pumps, cisterns and other tools for pioneer life.  The company expanded over the years with the company employing over 500 workers at one point.

Following the outbreak of World War II, Dempster refocused its manufacturing efforts into producing 1.5 million 90-millimeter shells for the war effort.  At one point the company was acquired by billionaire investor Warren Buffett.  He sold it later on to other investors and the company stopped manufacturing windmill parts in 2009 and it now appears to be in default.  Good news for those of you who want to buy a Dempster windmill or who need replacement part!  You can go to this website to fulfill your needs:

This 1923 Model T Ford Pick-Up truck was donated by the same family that donated the Federal truck that I posted earlier in this blog.  From what I could determine from a bit of research, the short truck bed is a modification that was made after the Model T came off the assembly line.  Ford apparently didn’t begin production of assembly line pick-up truck versions until 1925.

This nice looking 4-door automobile is a 1930 Nash.  It was donated by the same family that gave the museum the preceding Model T Ford and the Republic truck. 

The Nash Motors Company was based in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The company began production in 1916.  Nash production continued under one corporate entity or another until its eventual parent company, American Motors, ceased production in 1957.   To learn more about Nash automobiles and to view a gallery of Nash Automobile photos, go to

This is another Model T Ford that has ‘pulled up’ in front of an early gas station for a little service.  Kids today wouldn’t understand the concept that attendants used to clean windshields, then check the tires and the oil…at no additional charge!

By 1914, the assembly process for the Model T had been so streamlined it took only 93 minutes to assemble a car!  That year Ford produced more cars than all other automakers combined... By the time Henry built his 10 millionth car, 50 percent of all cars in the world were Fords.  On May 26, 1927 Henry Ford and his son Edsel, drove the 15 millionth Model T out of the factory.  This marked the famous automobile's official last day of production in the USA.

The Nebraska Prairie Museum also has a large display of automobile related ephemera.  Oil cans, gas pumps, tools and signs set the tone for the area where the cars and trucks are displayed.  Many people collect these objects and eBay has pages of them listed for sale.

As I stated earlier, there is nothing fancy or 'high end' about the automobiles on display at this museum.  Still, this is a beautiful little car!  It’s a 1928 Model A Ford.  Note the ‘rumble seat’ in the rear.  Model A’s were built between 1928 and 1932.  Roughly 4,850,000 were built. (The tudor sold for $500, that's only $6,800 in today’s dollars)

I found another 1928 Model A for sale on-line for only $17,000!  Check it out (with lots of photos) at

Let’s not forget the horse and buggy days!  Along the balcony on one side of this big exhibit hall, a number of buggies donated by local families were on display.  The buggy to the right is a “One Horse Buggy” that was built by the Moon Brothers.  It’s all original!   I found a similar buggy for sale on line…although it needs some restoration.  You can have it for only $1,895.  Check it out at

And of course, what would any museum be that's located in an area that was molded by the railroads, without an old caboose?!  I liked this photo of the old farm house, the church and the caboose against the beautiful sunny early fall sky.
That’s about it for this ‘chapter’ of our visit to the Nebraska Prairie Museum.  The next and final chapter will be about a chapter of American history that I’d never thought about before…

Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Groupon Coupons – An Early Dinner

Every once in a while I purchase a “Groupon” coupon on-line.  The discount is usually about half and I really feel good when I use one!  No surprise, my Groupon purchases are generally food based, although I have bought an oil change discount from time to time.

I have a couple of restaurant “Groupons” that I rarely pass up when they become available.  Hot Rod 50s is one of those restaurants!  We’ve eaten here many times, sometimes with friends and family and sometimes it’s just the 2 of us. 

Early on this beautiful late fall day, we’d gone on a scenic drive over to the Cade’s Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (The ‘Cove’ is about an hour from our home) As the shadows lengthened, it was time for an early dinner!

The interior of Hot Rod 50s is pure 1950’s diner kitsch!  Every wall and every booth, be it a 2-seater or a 4-seater, is totally immersed in ‘new’ old advertising signs, funny ones, road signs, records, customer photos, musical instruments, auto parts, gas station memorabilia, etc.  There is plenty to look at while you’re waiting for your food!

I started out with a salad as my side…and skipped the photo because…well, it was OK but it was just a side salad.  We love the hamburgers at Hot Rod 50s, so I ordered the Jalapeno Burger. (Large 2/3 lb. version = $9.99)  This steak burger was perfectly cooked, medium rare, and it was topped with pepper jack cheese and Hot Rod 50s Jalapeno Bottle Caps.  It was excellent!

Hot Rod 50s has a burger menu that goes on and on…for 3 pages.  The overall menu is huge, totaling 8 pages.  One of my favorite non-burger items on the menu is The Hog. ($7.99) This Hot Rods signature sandwich involves a huge thick cut of breaded and pan fried pork tenderloin the size of my head!  It’s so big that I have a hard time finishing it…

Laurie went ‘off the grid’, ordering something that we’d never ordered before.  This is Hot Rod 50s Fried Fish Dinner. ($12.99) There was at least 10 oz. of fresh Tilapia filets that had been beer battered and fried.  The portion was huge!  Better yet, it was some of the best fried fish that either of us had enjoyed anywhere…

Lucky for me, Laurie gave me a bite to prove how good it was.  Even better, she couldn’t finish it all, so I had to take one whole filet home and have it for breakfast with a couple of easy-over eggs!

The ambience at Hot Rod 50s is fun, service is friendly and we’ve never had a bad meal!  Hot Rod 50s is located at 373 Hannum Street in Alcoa Tennessee…just a couple of blocks from downtown Maryville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-984-7171.  This restaurant’s Website can be found at: 

I didn’t have any place else planned where I could feature these photos… Around the time that we made our trip over to Cade’s Cove and Hot Rod 50s, I spent the better part of a nice sunny fall day fishing on Larry, (, and Bev’s dock in a secluded cove on Tellico Lake.  The fishing was just so-so, but given the beautiful weather and the fall setting, I was a happy camper!

Just click on any of these photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave