Category Archives: The Arts

Museum of Appalachia in Clinton, Tennessee Best Museum Ever!

“The museum gardens are not only for the benefit of the tourist , they also serve as a food supply for the Irwin’s and their neighbors.” John Rice Irwin is shown here with his wife Elizabeth, and their two grandchildren, Lindsey and John Rice Irwin Meyer. Photo by John Meyer.

AmericanPressTravelNews-May 17th, Clinton, TN.-Bob and Barb “On the Road Again” this time at the Museum of Appalachia–I first met John Rice Irwin over a decade ago. His sparkling eyes and spirit for the past, as he’d dragged it into the present to preserve it for the future shone through loud and clear-not just what he said, but how he told the story of his foraging to collect on to his property the remnants of what is still left of early Appalachia as a living museum. 

John Rice Irwin spent a lifetime collecting the artifacts of the Appalachian people and although the museum’s founder is now retired, he can still remember just about every auction, every smokehouse and barn he has explored–and every good friend that he has made among the rural folks of Appalachia.  Those histories–and the people to which they are connected–are central to his passion for collecting and central to the character of the Museum.  

It was the familiar story of the devastating Barren Creek flood–legendary in East Tennessee for churning past the banks of the Clinch River in the dead of night and sweeping many people and hundreds of farm animals to their deaths–that led to one of his earliest purchases.  The purchase, made at a local auction, was just an old, worn, poplar horse-shoeing box, but the auctioneer mentioned in passing that it had been fished out of the nearby Clinch River over half a century earlier, following the catastrophic flood.  

After that purchase came many others, sometimes at auction, sometimes from making trips over dirt tracks and going door to door.  Earning the hard-won trust of rural folk is never easy, and John Rice will tell you that it was his knowledge of and curiosity about old-time farm implements that often opened the door to friendships.  But conversations with him begin to draw a larger picture, one where it becomes clear that it was—and continues to be—his admiration and esteem for the ingenuity, craftsmanship, and hardy perseverance of the people of Appalachia that has allowed him to forge relationships of trust and mutual respect.  

The purchase of several truckloads of early Appalachian artifacts from Bill Parkey of Hancock County reveals just such a relationship.  Bill’s family had lived in Rebel Hollow near the Powell River for generations, settling there before the Civil War, and the old homeplace had a wealth of early tools and equipment that he continued to use for blacksmithing and wagon-making.  For years, John Rice had been told that Bill would never part with his beloved tools for any amount of money.  The warnings largely were correct, for although John Rice occasionally was able to purchase a thing or two, his trips to “Revel Holler” were generally spent just visiting with his friend.  It was only after Bill’s death that his widow called John Rice, saying that Bill had told her never to sell his cherished tools unless it was to “the professor”—because John Rice had “always treated him right.”  It is illustrative that John Rice insisted on paying Mrs. Parkey twice her asking price for several truckloads of her husband’s tools.  

What grew out of John Rice’s love for this region’s past and its people is an impressive living history that has been nationally acclaimed.  It has been featured in the Smithsonian magazine, which said, “it vividly portrays something ethereal—the soul of mountain people,”  and it has been named one of only a handful of affiliates of the prestigious Smithsonian Institution in the state of Tennessee. Location

Green McAdoo Cultural Center/Civil Rights Museum in Clinton, Tennessee Visit

AmericanPressTravelNews-May 14th, Clinton, TN.-Bob and Barb “On the Road Again” Studying upon some history at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. When we met up with Steve Jones at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center/ Civil Rights Museum he had our attention and we were riveted to the history of the “12” students that had to be strong and enter a high school that was not integrated “yet.”

An Inside Peek at the Museum

1950s Period Classroom

Come in and join the class as Ms. Theresa Blair discusses the “Jim Crow” era in the South, the rights of her students at Green McAdoo, and desegregation of Clinton High School. She will introduce you to the local 1950 lawsuit, McSwain et al vs. Anderson County, and its relationship to the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education…all of which led to the desegregation of Clinton High School in 1956.

Desegregation of Clinton High School

Follow the chronologically detailed story of the 1956 desegregation of Clinton High School in life-size pictures with dramatic narrative.

The story begins with the community’s initial constructive approach to the historic event…then the arrival of outsiders with anti-integration propaganda… a week of growing violence… the formation of a home guard… the arrival of the national guard and martial law. Unlike the stories in Arkansas and Alabama, both the city and state governments supported the “Law of the Land”, represented by the desegregation ruling. The city’s white religious and economic leaders, such as the Rev. Paul Turner, a local Baptist minister, allied with the black students and their families, offering them protection in integration and challenging those they led to do the same in the face of rising violence. At one point, Rev. Turner was physically attacked for his heroic stand. The African-American community on Foley Hill became a rallying point for Clinton in the struggle for equal rights for all citizens. In retaliation, white supremacists bombed the high school in 1958, destroying the building, but not halting the progress of equality. Instead, the Anderson County community, citizens and students from Clinton and Oak Ridge refurbished an abandoned elementary school in Oak Ridge- and Clinton High School was back in session in one week, still integrated.

This documented history is not an independent account of Green McAdoo School, Clinton High School, the black community, the white community, or the Clinton 12, but the complete story of how all came together and became the success story that is deserving of preservation and national recognition.

Interactive screens will allow you to see the Clinton 12 and others in person and hear their recollections and reflections from interviews by Keith McDaniel, producer of the award winning Clinton 12: A Documentary, which was narrated by James Earl Jones.

Epilogue Room

In this room you can read the biographies of the Clinton 12 and others who played a role in the desegregation of Clinton High School. You can also watch the CBS broadcast of See It Now, entitled Clinton and the Law, narrated and produced by Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly, in January 1957, and a short sequel from CBS Reports which aired nationally in 1962. NOTE* Much of this information has come from the centers news info.

The Annual Clinch River Spring Antique Fair- May 6th-Something for Every Collector

AmericanPressTravelNews-May 12th-Downtown Clinton–Bob & Barb “On The Road Again” & “Stopping to View the Antiques.”  Over 100- antique dealers descended to Clinton’s historic downtown representing over 5-different states. There was also an antique car show during the Saturday fair. There were numerous local food vendors and the ambiance of the whole event had thousands of folks smiling all the way besides them bargaining and buying as well. Even with the rain showers, everyone we talked to had a great time as we did as well. On October 13-14, 2017 Clinton will have their fall antique show. Clinton is located off of I-75 exit 122 15-minutes north of Knoxville, TN. for information contact the Anderson, County Chamber of Commerce. Telephone no. (865) 457-2559 website is www.andersoncountychamber.org

New Book Now Available You Will Love it-Promise; “Florida Keys Best Restaurants.”

AmericanPressTravelNews–April 28th, Bob and Barb Epstein’s New book: “Florida Keys Best Restaurants” also includes best marinas, dive shop, water boards, gift shops, museums including a great dive museum. 141-pages in color plus cover and back of book of the images & descriptions of the best of the best restaurants from Key Largo to Key West. Historical images of fishing Presidents, early travel in the Keys, railroad, old cars, image of the old toll booth, the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Keys, Pennecamp Park underwater State Park, Robbies Marina and great, really great seafood restaurant, really worthwhile crafts and giftshops, and so much more, including best and juiciest Key Lime Pies. Book is being sold for 19.95 personalized if you like and that price includes postage anywhere USA. Go: bobandbarb@aptravelnews.com 

A platter that still brings salivation! Crab cake, coconut shrimp, cracked conch, ceviche of lobster and conch, conch fritters and mango sauces as well as other tropical dips.
At Sharkey’s in Key Largo-we had a blast and our taste-buds did too!