Uncle Bob's Travels

Places I've hung out in, sometimes briefly.

Archive for the tag “Greeneville TN”

Diamond G

Diamond G Fabrics (along with Diamond G Farm and Diamond G Aviation, and, maybe, others) were all established by the Austin family of Greeneville TN.  This family kick-started the rise of Greeneville to being, at one time, one of the largest tobacco markets in the nation.  Apparently, Clyde Austin was quite the businessman.  And many thanks to the antique dealer in Greeneville who gave me this card.  The Diamond G logo can be seen above the “AUSTIN” on at least two prominent brick smokestacks in the downtown area.

Nolichucky Dam Today

Taken 9/2/17.  It was overcast and drizzling, but the water coming down the front of the dam looked like snow.  I took this picture from the middle of the 2005 bridge.  The earlier bridge, built in 1937, about 10 years before this dam was constructed, was named in honor of  Oscar Byrd Lovette – lawyer, Republican, banker – who defeated Carroll Reece in 1930 for the 1st District seat in the U. S. Congress.  Reece came back to defeat Lovette in 1933.
The place where the earlier picture was taken is no longer accessible.

Tobacco Warehouses

This card shows a tobacco auction sale at a warehouse in South Boston VA.  According to the note on the back, the auction started on September 23, 1946.  It’s a “Natural Finish” card made by Graycraft Card Co., Danville, Va.  Interesting, because Danville was one of the early tobacco markets in the southeast.

This is the only card I have that shows a tobacco auction in progress.

I got interested in the tobacco auctions, long gone since 2005 or so, after I chatted with the owner of a former warehouse.  Tobacco warehouses and auctions and allotments…these were just part of the landscape that I barely noticed growing up.  I tied some tobacco for drying once when I was a kid.  My hands and anything else that came in contact with the leaves got all tarry.  Hello, Lava soap!  Luckily, we didn’t grow tobacco and I managed to avoid that duty again.

Morristown, New Tazewell, Johnson City, Mountain City, Greeneville (among many others) were large markets.  Tobacco was a huge cash crop.  The tobacco would be harvested in July or August, then wrapped in bundles and hung on rods in barns to air dry (there were other ways to do this).

The auctions in this area ran from October to late January.  Professional graders and auctioneers would go from town to town to take care of it all.  Literally millions of pounds of tobacco would be bought by the big companies, re-dried and packed in hogsheads for shipping by rail or trucks.  If it had been a good year, the farmer took home enough money to do Christmas and get through to the next year.

Then it all went to hell.  The major companies decided to deal directly with the farmers on a contract basis, the campaign against tobacco use got serious, and the federal government politely stepped away from the whole thing.  Tobacco is still grown. We have good soil for Burley.

White Burley tobacco (for all intents and purposes, the “cigarette tobacco”) originated in Ohio (natural mutation) in the late 1800s. In 1884, the Duke family in North Carolina let loose a cascade of perfectly rolled machine-made cigarettes.  R. J. Reynolds introduced Camel cigarettes in 1913 and need for good “Virginia” burley (bright) to blend with Turkish tobacco increased, prompting farmers in this area to go for it.  And the tobacco companies spent fortunes in advertising their products.  Literally millions and millions of pounds of tobacco changed hands each of the years that smoking was rampant.

Mid-1930s to early 2000s.  Now the warehouses are either gone or used for storage and/or flea markets.

Fake!

fakegate

Well, it’s a fake of necessity.  This “YE OLDE TOWNE GATE Greeneville” sign goes over Tusculum Boulevard at Sevier Street in Greeneville TN.  The original sign was put up by the Cherokee Club, a women’s group, in 1925.  It was replaced by this aluminum replica when Tusculum Boulevard was widened.  I can’t pin down a date on that.  Rats.

Norris Dam

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“571:-T. V. A. Proposed Norris Dam and Lake on Clinch River, Tennessee”
This is an Asheville Post Card issue that was developed from a TVA pre-construction drawing of Norris Dam.  Norris was built between 1933 and 1936.  If you go to Google Earth and enter “Norris Dam” you’ll see that the finished dam looks pretty much like this.  Not bad for nearly 80 years.
However, this is what makes this card interesting:
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This is an RPO, a railroad post office, processed card.  In the round postmark: CIN. & CHAT. TR 43 APR 23 1935
In the blue inscription:
T. V. A. NORRIS DAM AND LAKE ON CLINCH RIVER
The proposed Norris Dam project is being built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (T.V.A.) and is to be the center of the power development of the South by the U.S.  It is located on Clinch River in Tennessee, just below the point where Cove Creek joins, therefore was originally known as Cove Creek Dam.  The dam proper of reinforced concrete will be almost 250 ft. high and 1800 ft. wide.  The estimated cost is thirty-five million dollars and will take approximately three years to complete it.  The lake will flood around 80 sq. miles of land and will have a shore line of over 800 miles.

In the message area:

6:00 P.M.
Danville KY
Still going strong.  Bill

Addressed to:

Ota Looney
Route 9
Greeneville Tenn

Apparently, Asheville Post Card Company’s slogan in the 30s was “In the Heart of the Blue Ridge”.  It’s in the blue circle to bottom left.
The blue circle on the right is a union designator, I think.  I dislike being vague, but I can’t tie this down to any specific thing…in the past, I’ve seen symbols in this area that clearly were union originated.

 

Sunnydale School

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This building housing a still-active general store on the Old Asheville Highway coming out of Greeneville TN (36.06565, -82.81470) began life as the Sunnydale School, a one-room educational facility from the early part of the 20th century up into the 1930s.  The current proprietor’s father bought the building in 1944 and began the general store.  She told me that her grandfather was associated with the school, perhaps as a teacher.  My stepdad ran several general stores…it’s a daily struggle.

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