Monday, May 31, 2021

Remembering My Dad on Memorial Day!

For several years now on Memorial Day, I post photos of my dad, Ronald A. Myers.  He was killed in action while fighting in Czechoslovakia on May 6, 1945...just two days before German forces surrendered to the Allied Forces on May 8th.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember my father as I wouldn’t have my 3rd birthday until another 2 ½ months after his death.

I have just a handful of photos of my dad after the time I was born, a couple just with me, a couple with me with both my mom and dad and 2 or 3 of my dad in uniform or in street clothes.  So, I was somewhat stunned when I received an email that included the following photo!

It is an official military photo showing my dad.  It is titled “S/Sgt. Ronald A. Myers advances down a road towards the German town of Riefensbeek”.  The photo is dated 14 April, 1945, just 22 days before he was killed and just 12 days after his 34th birthday.    

I received the photo from a dedicated amateur historian named David Foud, who lives in the city of Pilsen, in what is now the Czech Republic.  He was seeking more information for his WWII commemoration project.  

Can you guess what day of what month I received this email and memorable photo.  It was on May 6, 2021, exactly 76 years to the day when my dad made the final sacrifice!

From David Foud’s email I also learned that my dad may have been killed near Tesov Czechoslovakia.  Further research is pending.  S/Sgt. Myers was part of the 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (Big Red Division), of the US Army.  The family story I’d been told was that my dad had been put in charge of his company or unit after his Lieutenant had been killed.  Looking at some of the information included as part of David Foud’s efforts and website, I discovered that the day before my dad was killed, 7 others in the unit had also died and one of them was a Lieutenant. 

To commemorate the others in his unit who were KIA a day earlier, here is a list of their names and ranks:

·       1st Lt. Joseph L. Droz

·       Sgt. Wallace H. Gaucher Jr.

·       T/S Gerard T. Hughes

·       Pfc. Elza Mosher

·       Pvt. Bruno C. Pioterek

·       Sgt. William W. Smith

·       Pfc. William A. Spain Jr.

Here is a photo of my dad just a little prior to his being shipped out to Europe in January 1945.

What I discovered through my contact with David Foud was that the city of Pilsen holds a major celebration every year commemorating the liberation of Czechoslovakia by allied troops in May of 1945.  On May 6, 1945, American soldiers arrived in Pilsen and it became the furthest place in Eastern Europe that was reached and liberated by American and Allied troops.  Under Soviet influence and subsequent repressive governments, the memory of fighting or dead Americans were forgotten or even disparaged.  Any official celebration marking the arrival of the US Army in Pilsen was unthinkable before 1989 and the so called “Velvet Revolution” in Czechoslovakia. 

Beginning in May of 1990, Pilsen has held a Liberation Festival in honor of the US Army, its soldiers and airmen.  People from around the world come to celebrate.  Military veterans, their families and of course townspeople have all been involved.  I’ve reviewed photos and videos of this annual commemoration and it is a big event!  To learn more, just go to

David Foud also has a website dedicated to the American liberation of Pilsen.  His site includes a list of those Americans who gave their lives in this effort… Many Army Divisions, Regiments, members of the Air Corp and others are included in this long list.  It could be a valuable resource for those seeking information about family members.  Just go to David’s site at Monumenty neznámých ( for more information.

Many thanks for the appreciation shown by the City of Pilsen and specifically David Foud for the efforts to remember and commemorate the sacrifice of American troops in Czechoslovakia at the end of World War II.

We owe so much to the many Americans who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom and our way of life.  God Bless America...

Thanks for stopping by for visit…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

On the Road Again…Finally!

Finally, a real road trip albeit a short one… Laurie and I headed south, picking up her sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill after they flew into the airport in Birmingham Alabama.  Our primary objective was to visit Laurel Mississippi, the town where the HGTV series “Hometown”, is based.

This continues one of our travel trends…visiting the home of various HGTV, DYI and Food Channel television shows.  We’ve been to Roanoke VA (Black Dog Salvage), White Sulphur Springs WV (Barnwood Builders), Waco TX (Fixer Upper) and Pawhuska OK (The Pioneer Woman).  We had visited Laurel in 2015, but that was before the changes wrought by the advent of Erin and Ben Napier’s fame via “Hometown”.

Laurel Mississippi’s City Hall opened for business in November of 1914.  The structure once housed all of the town’s officials to include both the fire and police departments.  It’s an interesting example of eclectic Mediterranean classical style blended with a touch of craftsman, the latter being a dominant housing style used in town… The city hall is a contributing element of the Laurel Central Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

This sign sits high and proud in front of Laurel’s City Hall.  The problem is that you have to look up to see it…and one’s butt hugging pants might fall down if you lose your concentration!  Love it!

We visited many of the locations featured on Hometown…but we did miss going into and enjoying the baked goods at “Sweet Somethings”!  Part of the problem was that the street with brick pavers in front of the bakery was under construction and not easily accessed.  I would have devoured one of their sticky buns or cinnamon rolls if I’d remembered the bakery in the morning… Check out their menu at Menu (

As it was, we did venture into that construction zone on our first evening.  It was time for dinner!  Laurie and I remembered a very favorable evening meal on our last visit to Laurel and we wanted to revisit the Loft Restaurant with Bonnie and Bill.

It was a Thursday night and The Loft was very busy.  It must be noted that The Loft Restaurant was also really busy when we visited it back in 2015, pre-Hometown and the Napiers’ fame.  It’s not a fancy place but it is large and it does offer outside dining for those so inclined. 

I took this photo of Bonnie and Bill perusing the menu.  They had some tough choices to make!

There was one appetizer that Laurie and I knew we were going to order if it was still on the menu.  Why it’s named the Norwood Appetizer, we haven’t a clue.  We were happy to see that it was still featured… It features Cajun seasoned BBQ shrimp floating in an amazing sauce and served with toasted and seasoned pieces of French bread for dipping.  It was excellent!  Sometimes you can repeat a great experience from the past.  We would dip just about anything edible in that amazing sauce…

I’m not into mushrooms but everyone else at the table was.  This second appetizer, hand battered and fried mushrooms, was another winner.

Everyone also enjoyed this platter of Fried Crab Claws… They were easy to eat and tasted as good as they looked.

Believe it or not, we actually ordered 4 appetizers.  I failed to take a photo of the Breaded and Fried Asparagus spears.  Somehow, the breading completely adhered to the asparagus.  The texture and flavor was very nice but at $2.00 per spear, this appetizer seemed a bit pricy for what you got…

After all those appetizers, especially with all the ‘bread dipping’ in the Cajun BBQ sauce, Laurie and Bonnie were stuffed after all the appetizers and couldn’t eat any more.  However Bill and I soldiered on!  Bill had a side salad and then enjoyed this beautiful nicely seasoned "Roxanne" redfish filet…

As for myself, I ordered this large pounded and deep fried pork chop!  At least I sided it with a little steamed broccoli for a bit…just a bit…of healthy dining.  I don’t remember what that sauce on the side was, but I dipped every bite of that pork chop in it!  The chop was juicy and perfectly cooked.

We were all too stuffed to order desserts all around…but we just had to try The Loft’s bread pudding.  Unfortunately it was the one item that we ordered that we didn’t care for… It was just sort of bland.

All in all, our dining experience at The Loft was top notch.  Our server, whose name was, believe it or not, Laurel, did a great job.  Like every restaurant we visited on this trip, they were shorthanded but given the pandemic and the current employment situation, we understood the problem.  To learn more about The Loft, go to The Loft on Central Ave - Home | Facebook.

After dinner, I convinced the ladies to pose in front of an ivy covered wall right across from the restaurant.  They do look happy!

Then of course, they had to take a picture of me with Bill.  It’s amazing but we’re both sort of smiling…a rarity.  Our wives sometimes refer to us as ‘twins’ given our mutually svelte figures, our lack of balance, infrequent smiles and appetite for food.  My smiles are there, but they’re internal!

I’ll end this post with this colorful Laurel postcard style sign featuring some local folks who seemed to like me taking their photos.  We encountered friendly people everywhere in Laurel…

There are at least 7 downtown wall murals in downtown Laurel.  Three of them were designed by Erin Napier.  They do brighten up the town!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!  It was great to be on the road again…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, May 21, 2021

Food, Critters and Family

Our first day trip completed, its back to the basics one more time!  Just life as it came at us for a few days in May…

However, this photo is a food item that we brought home from that day long drive.  We bought 4 of these Eccles Cakes at the Saturday farmer’s market in Dandridge.  They are filled with raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon and we really enjoyed them! 

The Eccles cake is named after the English town of Eccles in Lancashire where they were first sold commercially in 1793.  They are also known as squashed fly cake, fly cake and fly pie.  Traditionally, they are eaten with Lancashire cheese.

These puff pastry treats are from the House of Douglas Bakery in Cosby Tennessee.  To view the variety of baked goods this bakery sells as well as their store hours, go to

From time to time, I purchase the inexpensive alternative to pork ribs.  Country pork ribs don’t even resemble the standard variety but they do deliver on flavor.  I grilled these ribs, basting them with Famous Dave’s Rich and Sassy BBQ sauce a few minutes before they were ready to bring in the house for our dinner.

The country ribs were accompanied with a couple of nice little salads.  Mine was sort of a wedge with shredded cheddar and a balsamic dressing.  Laurie dressed hers up with a different creamy balsamic dressing and olives.

Here is one more remnant from our day trip… We took a cooler with us so when Laurie couldn’t finish her fried catfish at the Millstone Restaurant, we packed it up and took it home with us.  I reheated the filet in a frying pan and topped it with 2 easy-over eggs…siding it with a slice of buttered toast.  It was a very nice breakfast!

Another day, another breakfast!  A previous dinner had been accompanied with a package of Sister Schubert’s Parker House Style Yeast Rolls…and I had a bunch of them leftover.  I spilt them horizontally, and then fried them in butter.  Then I mixed in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and topped the finished rolls with my usual easy-over eggs.  The fried rolls were a big improvement on the originals and this was a very satisfying if not a carb friendly breakfast…

Our rose-breasted grosbeaks are back!  Laurie managed to capture a couple photos of one of these attractive and colorful birds at our feeder.  This is a male as the ladies of this species are attractive but not as showy as the boys.

Sometimes colloquially referred to as a “cut-throat” due to its coloration, this bird is a member of the cardinal family.  Eastern Tennessee with the Cumberland Plateau and the Smoky Mountains represent the southerly portion of this species breeding range.  These birds winter in the Caribbean, southern Mexico and Central America.  They have an average lifespan in the wild of over 7 years but can live up to 24 years in captivity.

With all the construction going on around us, we just haven’t seen many deer lately.  However the other day Laurie was up early and she spotted this small herd working its way across the area behind our house.  Our neighbor Mike assured us that this is a fairly regular happening as he sees them often when out walking their dog.  I guess we’ll just have to start getting up earlier…not!

The total U.S. white tail deer population had fallen to 300,000 or 400,000 animals in the 1930s.  Today the estimated population just in the USA is between 29,000,000 and 30,000,000.  These deer have been introduced to several large Caribbean Islands including Cuba and they can be found as far south in the Americas as Peru and Bolivia.  They are also an introduced species in such countries at the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, France and New Zealand.

Why the photo of our fireplace in action this late in the spring season?  In early May it got downright cold…with temperatures in the low 40s and upper 30s.  We lit the fireplace rather than turning on the HVAC units.  Besides, the fire provides a nice cozy feeling…

I’ll end this post with a photo of our youngest grandson, 17 year old Emmett Lee.  Here he is, really dressed up and ready to go!  He was off to the High School Prom.  Next year he’ll be senior… Time sure passes quickly.  Now vaccinated and finally mask free, we’re planning a trip to Omaha to see both of our grandsons…and their parents too.  It’s been a long time, over a year and a half since we’ve seen the family!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Day Trip – Dandridge TN and Beyond

Continuing on our first all-day drive since the pandemic started...  In the first post about this bit of exploration, I was writing about our stop in Dandridge and I’ll finish that part of the adventure in the beginning of this post.

I did forget to mention that Dandridge hosts a farmer’s market in the downtown from May through most of November.  It was actually our first stop upon arrival in town… To learn more about this farmer’s market, go to Dandridge Farmers Market - Home | Facebook.

FYI, I’d never mentioned the size of Dandridge… The town has an estimated population of a little more than 3,200, and it is growing.  What are the odds that two well-known professional wrestlers lived in a small town like this…and one of them of Japanese ancestry!  Mr. Fuji, aka Harry Masayoshi Fujiwara retired in the area.  Kane, aka Glenn Thomas Jacobs is currently the Mayor of Knox County Tennessee. 

The town may prefer to be thought of as the home of Air Force Brigadier General Norman Gaddis.  A highly decorated member of the military, he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam…at that time he was the highest ranking American imprisoned.  Currently, he is 97 years old…  

I’d ended the last post with a photo and some information about the Roper Tavern, one of a number of taverns/inns that were established to cater to the boats plying the French Broad River or traveling via stage coach between Virginia and Tennessee.

Colonel Roper built the tavern in 1817 and in 1820 he started construction of this home right across the street.  It was a wedding gift for his daughter Mary and her husband-to-be, John Branner.  The home was completed in time for the wedding which took place in April 1821.

Bricks for the house were fired on site as hand-made bricks were too fragile to survive a wagon trip along the area’s rocky roads.  To provide heat, the home had nine fireplaces, of which seven have survived.  The house even had a dumb waiter so food could easily be moved from floor to floor.

Both Colonel Roper and George Branner held slaves.  Branner was ‘willed’ a personal slave by his father.  His name was Nimrod his function was to help George Branner up and down the house’s steep steps.  George had a congenitally defective hip… George and Mary’s son, John Roper Branner, who was born in this house, later became President of the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad, later known as the Southern Railway.

This handsome 200 year old mansion is now the home for “The Shoppes at the Roper Mansion”.  Go to

You may remember Shadrach Inman from my previous post about Dandridge.  He was the original builder/owner of the Shepard Inn.  He also built homes for both of his daughters when they were married.  This is the Bradford-Hynds House and it was built for Shadrach’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth. 

During the Civil War the home was used as a makeshift hospital and at various times served as both Confederate Army and Union Army officers’ headquarters.  Several skirmishes occurred in the area, including one that is referred to as the Battle of Dandridge.  On the Union side, General Samuel D. Sturgis commanded 26,000 troops and the Confederate Army was under the command of General James Longstreet.  Casualties totaled roughly 250 counting both side’s losses.  The Confederate Army won this particular engagement.  To learn more about this skirmish and other local actions, go to

Currently the Bradford-Hynds House is operating as the Dandridge Mercantile with a variety of items for sale.  They are also trying to develop a small museum on site.  To learn more about this store, just go to

Even though this is a relatively new building, the Tinsley Bible Drug Store is perhaps the best know structure in Dandridge.  Founded by Dr. P.A. Tinsley and his nephew in 1911, the store opened as a small pharmacy in the downtown area.  In 1942, business was so good that the company purchased the store next door so they could expand.

I included the photos above just to give readers a sense of the place, somewhat stuck in time…except for some of the products and a modern operating pharmacy. 

The lunch counter and the old wooden booths were part of that expansion back in 1942.  The lunch counter/dining area has a reputation for southern food and hospitality.  The favorite sandwich is the “Bible Burger”, and of course it has to be accompanied by a milk shake.  Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, the lunch counter/restaurant was closed. 

To learn more about this local landmark and to check out their menu, just go to

It was past lunchtime and we had to find somewhere to eat.  I’d done a bit of research and the Millstone Restaurant and Country store seemed like the best option.  I’m sure that Covid-19 had a serious impact on their business… On line photos show a significant deli counter/cooler and a variety of food and gift items for sale.  None of these items were evident during our visit.  The photos need updating.  Too bad as Laurie was ready to shop!

We were quite hungry when we got our food and I forgot to take a photo before we dug in.  This is what was left of Laurie’s meal by the time I took a picture.  Our waitress had recommended the Southern Fried Catfish ($12.95) and it was very good.  Like many restaurants in the current employment environment, this restaurant was understaffed and the kitchen was slow.  Fortunately we weren’t in a big hurry.  The other good news is that I had a big catfish filet to take home!

The Millstone Restaurant is located at 1531 East Hwy 25/70 outside of Dandridge.  Phone: 865-397-2254.  They are on Facebook but the following site does provide a menu:

Following our exploration of Dandridge and our late lunch I headed north a bit to Morristown Tennessee.  My goal was the Crockett Tavern Museum, a history museum that commemorates American folk hero, David “Davy” Crockett.

I should have researched my destination a bit more… First of all, due to Covid-19 it is closed with no set re-opening date.  Secondly, the museum’s main building is this log cabin structure that was built in the 1950s as a representation of the tavern that Davy Crockett’s father, John Crockett established in 1794 at about the same location.  This museum was opened in 1958, when the craze over Davy Crockett was at its peak. 

Back in 1955, I clearly remember standing in a long line outside the Michigan Theater in Jackson Michigan with my brother Robert waiting to see the movie, “Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” starring Fess Parker.  I was 13 and Robert was 7.

Davy Crockett grew up in East Tennessee.  He had quite the reputation for hunting and telling stories.  He was made a Colonel in the militia and was subsequently elected to the Tennessee State Legislature and the United States Congress where he ran afoul of President Andrew Jackson, especially over the Indian Removal Act.  Eventually he angrily left Tennessee and headed to the Mexican State of Texas.  The rest is history…or is it?  He was alleged to have died fighting at the Alamo but others claim that he and others were taken captive and then executed by the Mexican Army.

From the closed museum, I decided to take a look at Morristown’s National Register Historic District.  The city is home to over 30,000 residents and its metropolitan area numbers over 142,000 people.  Morristown is the home of the only overhead sidewalk system in the USA.  It’s called the Skymart district.  The Morristown area was first settled in 1787 and Main Street was first reported to have been built in 1792-1793.

Like most cities, the downtown district suffered severe losses as suburban malls and super-stores were built on the outskirts of town.  So the city developed a plan to modernize Main Street by creating the “overhead skywalk”.  Unfortunately, the Skymart ended up like so many idealistic urban renewal projects in the 1960s…it failed to revive anything.  Currently, new efforts are underway to increase visitors and shoppers to downtown Morristown.   It looked like a farmer's market or some type of festival was underway when we drove through.  We decided not to stop due to timing... 

I couldn’t find out too much about the old jail in Rutledge Tennessee.  It was built in 1848 and I’m sure that as it aged, it wasn’t the finest place to be incarcerated.  The town is the County Seat for Grainger County, an area famous for its tomatoes and an annual Tomato Festival.  The town was incorporated in 1797 and today it has about 1,355 residents. 

I did pick up a couple of odds and ends about the jail and its Sheriffs.  One contributor wrote that his wife’s grandfather and grandmother were both Sheriffs in the county and they lived at the jail.  His grandmother cooked all of the inmate’s food.  Given the Sheriff’s term limits, his wife ran and was elected…but of course, everyone knew that her husband would be the Chief Deputy and would be doing the police work…

The other story is a bit more compelling.  Sheriff Samuel Preston Greenlee (1844 – 1889) was a Union Civil War veteran who served as a Sergeant with the 4th Tennessee Calvary Company C and who served as Sheriff in Grainger County after the war. 

Sheriff Greenlee tracked an escaped prisoner to nearby Cracker Neck Valley where he was hiding with another suspect.  He demanded that they surrender, but instead they opened fire and killed the Sheriff.  One suspect was arrested the next day.  Later a mob of angry civilians took him from his cell and hung him.  A 16 year old boy tracked down the other suspect and shot him dead…

The Nance Building is just up the street from the jail.  It is situated on lot #1 in the original plat of Rutledge.  This Federal style structure was constructed ca. 1840 for use as a commercial building with attached living quarters.  As far as records show, it was probably used as an inn or tavern until about 1857.  From 1857 until 1897, it became a general store.  In 1897, it was transformed into a private residence.  Under the Nance’s ownership, Mrs. Nance operated a restaurant on the first floor in the1940s and 1950s. 

By the 1970s the building was falling into disrepair as the health of the owner declined.  When he passed in 1997, the City of Rutledge bought the structure and grounds as part of its plans for a historic center and public park.  Today the Historic Nance House Arts and Heritage Center is a museum and cultural center developed to preserve Grainger County’s ‘storied history’.  It doesn’t appear to be open at this time…

That’s all for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, May 14, 2021

Day Trip – Dandridge Tennessee

Feeling more confident following our Covid-19 vaccinations, we finally took off for a day trip.  I’d decided that Dandridge Tennessee was a likely place for us to begin our post self-isolation adventures.

Why did I pick Dandridge?  Proximity to our home…about an hour and 40 minutes…was one reason.  More importantly, it was all about the town’s history.  Dandridge was founded in 1783 and it’s the second oldest town in Tennessee.  In 1793 it was named as the county seat for Jefferson County.  The county was named for Martha Dandridge Washington, the wife of our first President.  The town’s name was an important factor in literally saving Dandridge in the 1940s…

This is the Gass Building.  It’s located at the center of Dandridge at 149 East Meeting Street.  It is part of the Dandridge Historic District which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The front portion of the building was built ca. 1823, with two more sections being completed before the Civil War.  The Gass family opened their store here in 1896, hence the name.  It continued to operate as a general store until it was closed in 1983. 

The building is currently empty, its retail shop or shops probably victims of the pandemic.  It is owned by Dandridge Historic Properties and it is for sale.  If you are in the market for a piece of history, this building could be yours for an asking price of $499,900.

One of the most striking buildings in Dandridge is the Jefferson County Courthouse.  It was built in 1845 at a cost of $6,666, an interesting number for sure.  It is one of Tennessee’s oldest county courthouses that is still in use.  This Greek revival structure replaced an old log building that had been used as the courthouse.  The bricks were all hand-made, the cupola is wood and the roof was made entirely without nails.

What we didn’t know is that the courthouse also serves as a free museum that was filled with historical artifacts.  Among the items on display is Davy Crockett’s original marriage license to Polly Finley.  During the Civil War, the building also served as a field hospital.  We’ll have to check out the displays on our next visit…

There are four surviving historic Taverns in Dandridge.  The Shephard’s Inn at 136 East Main Street was a popular resting and eating spot for travelers in the early days.  This is the most famous of the town’s taverns, primarily because three United States Presidents stayed here at some point in their presidency.  They were Andrew Johnson, Andrew Jackson and James K. Polk. 

The Shepard’s Inn was built in the mid-1820s.  In 1823, Shadrach Inman purchased an existing 2-story log house and began construction of the largest of Dandridge’s ordinaries…aka taverns or inns.  Over the years it has also been known as the Inman House and the Mitchell Tavern.  For 50 years it was a private residence. 

Today this beautiful structure has evolved into a Victorian Inn that has been refurbished and is open and operating as a bed and breakfast. It is known as the Shepard Inn.  They serve a special lunch to visitors on Thursday’s…reservations only.  Rooms are available at rates ranging from $145 t0 $325 per night.  To learn more, go to   

Another of Dandridge’s historic taverns is almost across the street from the Shepard Inn.  The Hickman Tavern was built ca. 1820.  This Federal style structure was built by the Fain family.  In the 1940s it was occupied by James Hickman.  He was known for building the impressive and handsome Jefferson County Courthouse…as previously shown.  The Hickman Tavern now serves as the Dandridge Town Hall.

There were several reasons that the town’s taverns were important and why they thrived in this small town on the banks of the French Broad River.  When Dandridge was chosen as the county seat for Jefferson County, construction began on the required public buildings.  Some of the first county officials had to ride up to 25 miles on horseback to get to the courthouse and jail just to conduct their business.  A good landing site for steamboats on the French Broad River brought travelers as well.  In addition, a branch of the Knoxville Tennessee to Abingdon Virginia stage route passed through town…with overnight stops at the taverns.

The Hickman Coach House, which was also built ca. 1820, is located right beside the Hickman Tavern/Dandridge Town Hall.  This narrow brick structure was built for stage coach operators traveling between Knoxville and Abingdon and on to “Washington City”.  The nice little building now serves as the Dandridge Visitor’s Center.  Strangely, at least in my opinion, it isn’t open on Saturdays…just Monday through Friday and during special events and festivals.


         ·         Did you notice the ‘hill’ behind the Hickman Tavern and the Hickman Coach House?  It can also be seen behind the “1882” house as shown below.  The need for more electricity for the Federal Government’s Oak Ridge Project during WWII led to the construction of the Douglas Dam on the French Broad River. 

The reservoir would have flooded almost all of downtown Dandridge, including most of the historic sites.  The hill behind the buildings is a levee.  The residents of the town petitioned Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  They made the point that Dandridge was the only town in the USA that was named for the wife of George Washington.  That effort resulted in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s construction of the $1,000,000 levee to protect the town.  Seven feet higher than the dam’s crest gates, it’s referred to locally as the ‘dike that saved Dandridge’. 

This attractive yellow house is currently a private residence, although at one point is was called the Maxwell House…a unique gift emporium.  It is known as the “1882 House”, which makes sense given the date is prominently displayed near the peak of the structure.  FYI, this home is at 139 East Main Street, right next door to the Visitor’s Center and just down the street from the Shepard Inn.  It was listed for sale in 2017 with an asking price of $249,000.

I have no idea regarding the history or age of this home/structure.  I took the photo because it was completely different than any other buildings in Dandridge.  It’s located along Graveyard Alley… Given the size of the logs, this certainly looks old.  We both liked it!

How about a break from all the history and old buildings!  We both loved this attractive bush/plant next to a home along Graveyard Alley.  It’s known as French lavender, Spanish lavender or topped lavender.  It is a native plant that is from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

This variety of lavender is used commercially in air fresheners and insecticides.  The flower spikes have been used to treat headaches, irritability, feverish colds, nausea, wounds and rheumatic pain.  In Australia, it is regarded as an invasive species/noxious weed.

The Revolutionary War Graveyard in Dandridge was the original site of the Hopewell Presbyterian Church.  Originally there was a log church at the corner next to the ‘burying ground’. (The term cemetery wasn’t used in the early days) The graveyard has been the center of the town for well over 235 years.  The Martha Dandridge Garden Club, organized in 1927, maintains the burying ground and it’s the starting point for the Dandridge Historic Walking Tour. 

As you can see from the photo shown above, 5 men who served in the American Revolutionary War are buried in this historic burying ground.   

  • John Blackburn served in the Virginia Militia from 1776 – 1783 and he participated in the Battle of King’s Mountain.
  • Abedengo Inman fought in Indian and border conflicts in the late 1780s and then joined the soldiers who joined the fray when Georgia was overrun by British troops.
  • Samuel Lyle was a private who was wounded in the Battle of Eutaw Springs South Carolina.
  • Richard Rankin was a member of the Revolutionary War militia from Cumberland County Pennsylvania. 
  • Samuel Rankin, Richard’s brother from Cumberland County Pennsylvania, fought in the Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina.

Many of the headstones in this old burying ground are either worn down to nubbins or the lettering has eroded and they are impossible to read…much less photograph. 

As previously mentioned, Shadrach Inman built what is now known as the Shepard Inn.  Before the Civil War, he was a prosperous merchant with a general store, owned 3 houses in town and who had acquired a farm with 1,700 acres with 25 slaves.  After losing his previous wealth during the war, with their management skills and connections, Shadrach and the Inman family became part of the New South society with family business ventures including cotton, railroads, streetcars, insurance, banking and real estate.  The second headstone was for Sarah, Shadrach’s wife.  She was only 43 when she died.  Shadrach was 59 when he passed, outliving her by 11 years.

Another former inn or tavern in Dandridge is located at 217 West Main Street.  An early stop for stage coaches, the Roper Tavern, a 5-bay Federal style building, was completed by Colonel John Roper in about 1817.  The porch was a later addition.  Roper served in the War of 1812 and he subsequently became a well-known merchant…and in 1854 he became the President of the Bank of Dandridge, the first bank in Jefferson County.  Formerly a residence, this old inn is now home to law offices…

That’s all for now.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave