On May 22, 1926, the news came out that the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was rapidly becoming a reality. The project grew from the dream of a few enthusiasts to the actual and determined intention of the majority of the citizens in this section of the country, generating more supporters than any other project ever launched in these parts.
Today’s column is dedicated to my uncle, Ray Reaves, who passed away recently at the age of 97. In the early 1950s, Hazel and Ray Reaves, my aunt and uncle, introduced their young son, Larry, and me to a card game known as Authors. Hazel taught fifth grade at Boones Creek High School for years and never missed an opportunity to impart knowledge to youngsters who visited her home. Her sparking our interest in the pastime was obviously aimed more at education than entertainment, but we received a healthy dose of both.
A Johnson City Staff-News writer, Carroll E. King, took an East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (Tweetsie) Railroad pleasure trip on July 9, 1933 between Johnson City and Linville Gap, North Carolina to enjoy the stunning, rarely seen surroundings that were inaccessible by automobile.
Most area folks are probably unaware that a record was made in New York City on Oct. 21, 1926 that told of an alleged fox chase on beautiful Buffalo Mountain. Jointly owned Vocalion and Brunswick record company released the classic song, “Governor Alf Taylor’s Fox Chase,” by the Hill Billies (a.k.a. Al Hopkins and His Buckle Busters).
About 1955, my dad sparked my interest in a unique leisure pursuit when he brought home a “Paint by Number” kit, consisting of two French city scenes. Each canvas was solid white and subdivided into numerous small areas, each containing a light blue handwritten number. In order to bring the picture to life, the artist had to paint it. The product was cleverly advertised as “Every Man a Rembrandt.” (Sorry ladies.)
On Saturday, May 16, 1915, an entourage of 631 school children and other excursionists boarded a CC&O train in Spartanburg, South Carolina to make the approximately 130-mile mountainous rail trip to Johnson City.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, residents and tourists had a wide variety of options for spending restful vacation time in the statuesque hills of East Tennessee. They ranged from pricey upscale hotels to affordable rustic lodgings.