Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Tennessee’ Category

Founder of Piggly Wiggly Built Pink Palace

Piggly Wiggly pink palace

The Pink Palace was built in the 1920s by Clarence Saunders, founder of Piggly Wiggly.

   If you want to impress your friends and neighbors, building a pink marble palace might be one possibility. That is what Clarence Saunders decided to do back in the 1920s.

Piggly Wiggly trucks

Piggly Wiggly had their own delivery trucks.

   Clarence Saunders began working in Owen’s general store at the age of ten by cleaning, oiling, and trimming the kerosene lamps. When he was fourteen,  Owens hired him permanently at a salary of $4 per month plus room and board. A few years later, he received a job at another general store for $10 a month and worked there until he was 17.

Piggly Wiggly store

This is a replica of the interior of an original Piggly Wiggly.

   After working in the general store all those years, Saunders thought of ways to make it more customer-friendly. As a result, Saunders became the founder and sole owner of a new kind of general store. He wanted his store to be unique so named it Piggly Wiggly.

Piggly Wiggly Soup display

You could pick a can off the shelf all by yourself.

   This was the first true self-service grocery store. Previously, the clerk in the store retrieved the items for the buyer and brought them to the counter.  Now, the buyer entered through a turnstile and went down the aisles picking up the things they wanted and brought them to the counter to check out their total price.  By  1921, he had 615 grocery stores in forty states and many more franchises.

Piggly Wiggly Saunders

Clarence Saunders founded Piggly Wiggly.

   Saunders chose to use the fortune he had amassed through Wall Street stock to build a lovely home in Memphis, Tennessee. He purchased 155 acres across the street from the Memphis Country Club. He called his new home Cla-Le-Clare to honor his children Clay, Lee, and Amy Clare.  Since it was being built of pink Georgia marble, the Memphians called it the Pink Palace.

Pink Palace lobby

The Grand Lobby contains restored Burton Callicott murals.

   Sadly, his good fortune on Wall Street did not last. With only the exterior of the house finished, it was sold at public auction in 1925 and plans were to demolish it. However, the Garden Corporation stepped in and had the palace donated to the city with hopes of turning it into a museum.

Pink Palace star

Early controls for their planetarium are on display.

   A group of high school boys formed the Memphis Astronomical Society in 1953. They gathered weekly to look at the stars from the lawn. The city wanted to construct a planetarium and it was finally decided to put it in the Pink Palace. Due to a lack of funds, the high school boys ran the planetarium on the weekends for many years.

Pink Palace shows

Interesting films are shown on a large 3-D screen.

   The Mansion Theater has shows running throughout the day on a large 3-D screen. When visiting, the Dinosaur movie projected creatures flying into the audience and walking close by. Apollo II was to be shown later in the day.

Pink Palace General Store

Take a walk through an old general store where you were waited on personally.

   Explore an old general store like Clarence worked in as a boy. Then visit his first Piggly Wiggly store and see the improvements. His advertisement contained stories like these:

   A customer wants 5 pounds of granulated sugar put up in a cloth bag. She is in a hurry so she runs into Piggly Wiggly and helps herself. She pays the cashier and away she goes.

Piggly Wiggly circus

Enjoy a moving miniature circus in the Clyde Parke Circus Gallery.

   Upstairs the Clyde Parke Miniature Circus filled an entire room. This is a 3D model of a real circus done to 1:12 scale. Parke carved each of the figures from white pine he salvaged from packing crates. There are animals, clowns, a lady on a trapeze, and an audience of 1500 people. He donated the circus so people would remember “when the circus was the biggest show in town.”

Piggly Wiggly bear

This polar bear attracts plenty of attention.

   A large male polar bear from Alaska was donated to the museum forty years ago for educational purposes by Dr. Harold Misner. The bear has been a popular presence at many weddings in the Pink Palace. When the Memphis Grizzlies make the playoffs, he is lit with blue lights.

   The Pink Palace captures the history of not only Piggly Wiggly but that of early natural history in “A Walk Through Time” and the history of the early days of the South. Take time to visit their theater, have lunch at Metro Eats, and take home a memory from the Museum Store.

   “There’s Lively Learning for All at Pink Palace Museum.”

The Pink Palace is located at 3050 Central Avenue, Memphis TN. Your GPS should come in handy to find this location.

 

 

 

Music City Trolley Hop Tour

Trolley SignWaiting for the red trolley car to arrive, there was time to visit the Farmer’s Market in Nashville, Tennessee. Downtown parking seemed rather expensive at $20 for the afternoon but it was free to park at the Farmer’s Market and hop on the trolley at that point.

TrolleyThe driver and guide made the trip fun with a great assortment of historical facts, stories of businesses and some downright corny jokes. The Trolley Tour is a hop-on tour so you can get off at seventeen various stops and hop right back on later in the day. Sure saves fighting downtown traffic.

Trolley CapitolGetting on at this point, the first stop is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Not sure if the guide was stretching the truth or not, but he said the fountain of water supported a large granite ball weighing 18,000 pounds!

The view of the capitol building brings out everyone’s cameras. The capitol building is framed by the 50 columns, representing the 50 states in the United States. The 95 bell carillon rings out on the hour and represents the 95 counties in Tennessee.

Trolley Piggly WigglyAttention was given to the local Piggly Wiggly as this chain began in Memphis, Tennessee as the first self-service grocery store back in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. Previous to this time, shoppers gave their orders to the clerk and the clerk then gathered everything from the shelves. Saunders rearranged the stores to make shopping much faster for the customer and the clerk. Today there are 600 Piggly Wigglys in 17 states.

Trolley RCARCA Studio B created Nashville magic for over 35,ooo songs, making it an international recording center  known as one of the cradles of the “Nashville Sound”. Popular artists, such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Eddy Arnold recorded their songs here.

Trolley ColumbiaNearby, the historic site of Columbia Records Studio A displays large guitars indicating the Carter Family and Johnny Cash recorded many of their songs here. Today both of these formerly popular studios are learning centers for Belmont University.

Trolley StationAt Riverfront Train Station, the trolley takes a short break before continuing on the rest of the route. This site was previously the home of another train depot which was build in 1902. The present station was built in 2005 and they have attempted to capture the Old World flavor.

Trolly Honky TonkStraight across the street from the station is Honky Tonk Row. This is where many stars and hopefuls play during the evening hours as entertainment in many local clubs. They provide encouragement,  a stage, and a tip jar for musicians.

Trolley StadiumThe beautiful Cumberland River flows behind the station and gives a grand view of the Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans football team, on the other side. You can actually walk across the river to the stadium on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. The Cumberland River is 688 miles long and eventually joins the Ohio River in Kentucky.

Trolley SculptureA beautiful sculpture brightens the waters also. Ghost Ballet East Bank Machineworks received its name because as you look at the sculpture from different angels, it suggests movement, similar to that of a dancer. This gives a little time to watch the river flow by and gain a little peace from the busy day.

Trolley Art CenterOn our way back to Farmers Market, evidence appears that Nashville hosts more than country music. A glimmering bronze statue, The Recording Angel, stands at the corner of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony, which provides classical music entertainment. But they are no snobs, as often country music favorites appear accompanied by the orchestra.

This tour will perhaps be taken again someday when there is more time to visit various stops along the way. It is the perfect way to see Nashville…without fighting downtown traffic or trying to find a parking place! Try the Hop-On Tour the next time you visit Nashville.

 

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park Nashville, TN

 

TN Capitol View

View of the Capitol building from Bicentennial State Park

An unexpected abundance of Tennessee history is located in Nashville just outside the Farmers’ Market near Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. This collection of strategically placed monuments appears in the historic French Lick, where Native Americans, trappers and settlers camped in those early days.

In 1997, Tennessee’s Bicentennial Celebration, planners noted that this was the best place to get an unobstructed view of the Tennessee Capitol Building. Then the planning began for preserving the state’s history in this nineteen acre park.

Its 95 Bell Carillon  plays a song of Patsy Cline, a favorite Tennessee daughter. “Crazy” rings out every hour. The bells represent the 95 counties of Tennessee as well as its musical legacy. A 96th bell rings in answer from the Capitol building symbolizing the government answering to the people.

Farmer's Market Granite Wall 2

Granite walls along Pathway of History

The Pathway of History displays 1400′ of granite stones engraved with memorable events and pictures in chronological order so you can easily follow the development of history for the last two centuries in Tennessee. The tall columns to the right indicate the date so you can see the accurate timeline.

TN Lincoln stone

Civil War section of the wall

The wall breaks at the time of the Civil War to show the impact it had on the state.

TN WWII

WWII Memorial to Tennessee military

A World War II Memorial lists Tennessee men and women who lost their lives fighting for our country during WWII. A gigantic 18,000 pound granite ball with a map of the world is supported by the water of the fountain.

TN Centennial Memorial

Centennial Memorial

The Centennial Memorial stands in the center of the park. Beautiful trees stand in its center, surrounded with the words of Governor Bob Taylor when he greeted President McKinley during the 1897 Centennial Exposition.

“Our honored guests shall see today the triumphs of our brain and brawn and the tangible evidence of our activity. And some of them who saw our ruined country thirty years ago will certainly appreciate the fact that we have wrought miracles.”

A large outdoor Tennessee Amphitheater seats 2,000. Keeping with the Greek heritage of the Parthenon nearby, the amphitheater was designed with terraced lawns replicating the theater in Epidaurus.

 

TN Farmers Market

Sliced Tomato metal art outside Farmers’ Market

The Nashville Farmers’ Market is along the edge of Bicentennial Park. This metal sculpture  of a sliced tomato draws everyone’s attention. Here you find a wide variety of popular local dishes as well as fresh fruits and vegetables in season. It’s a great place to visit for some real Tennessee treasures..

TN Pathway of History

Tennessee History Walk

Every state has a story to tell and Tennessee history is certainly being kept alive along this Pathway of History in its capital, Nashville. It’s a great place to stroll through history.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is less than two miles from I-24E in Nashville. Take Exit 47 for 1st Street South, which leads to Jefferson Avenue. After crossing over the beautiful Cumberland River, make a left turn on 6th Street. The park will be on your right. Enjoy a trip through Tennessee History.

Parthenon Full-Scale Replica in Nashville, TN

Parthenon

The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee attracts visitors from all over the world.

The Parthenon doesn’t seem to belong in Nashville, Tennessee, yet this full-scale replica was the centerpiece for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. For this special occasion, Nashville wanted to promote themselves as a cultural and educational “Athens of the South”. They were successful, as today there are twenty-one universities located there.

After the Centennial celebration, which nearly two million people attended, all the buildings were torn down except for the Parthenon. even though it was made of temporary materials. After the turn of the century, Centennial Park was created by the city of Nashville. By 1920, it was decided to make the Parthenon a permanent structure of aggregate concrete.

Parthenon Front

No straight lines exist in the original Parthenon or this full-scale replica.

Powerful and perfect describe it well. Built as the world’s only full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece, they were careful to use no straight lines in its construction – just like the original. Even the steps are curved.

When you step inside the Parthenon, the first floor is being used as was intended. An art gallery features many local and national artists.The collection of James Cowan is permanently housed here along with special, changing  exhibits.

Parthenon Athena

The appearance of Athena on the second floor is striking.

But be prepared to be stunned on the second floor. Here stands a dramatic figure of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Prudent War, and Useful Arts.

The addition of the statue of Athena Parthenos is rather recent. In 1990 it was decided to commission the figure while remodeling the building. The artist had everything he needed to commence work except the long pole to be part of her spear. While sitting at McDonald’s over a cup of coffee one day, he looked out the window and noticed their flagpole. It looked like it would be perfect. When he contacted McDonald’s, they agreed to provide one of their flagpoles, which is today her spear…covered in gold.

Parthenon Shield

Athena’s shield has figures of Amazon women surrounding the head of Medusa.

This Goddess of Righteousness measures 42′ tall and is covered in gold…eight and a half pounds of gold leaf. She is protecting the snake, representing the people of Athens, with her shield, which has Amazon women on the outside of it and the head of Medusa at the center. At the time of the original statue, Athena was at peace as the shield is down, the flaps on her helmet are up, and the spear rests on her shoulder.

Parthenon Nike

Athena holds Nike. Note that her wrists have bracelets of snakes.

In her right hand, she holds the 6’4″ figure of Nike, Goddess of Victory. Nike’s wing shape is today used for the symbol of speed and flight for Nike shoes.

Parthenon Base Statue

Adena’s pedestal is rimmed with historic figures.

Along the bottom of the statue is a golden wall of drawings depicting life in those times. The artist included faces of several family members in the drawing: his father, mother, wife, best friend, and himself.

Parthenon Gryphon

These 4′ tall Gryphons guard the gold statue.

On each side of the statue stand Gryphons for protection. With the head and wings of an eagle and the body and tail of a lion, these strange creatures were called the hounds of Zeus. They can also be found at the four corners of the Parthenon’s roof.

Parthenon Doors

Each solid bronze door weighs 15,000 pounds – that’s 7.5 tons!

At each end of the upper chamber, bronze doors cover the opening to outside. While the original doors in the Athens Parthenon are believed to have been wooden, decorated in bronze, these solid bronze doors each weight 7.5 tons, measure 6.5 feet wide and 24 feet high, and are twelve inches in thickness. Yet even a child can open or shut them on their intricately designed ball-bearing collars.

Parthenon Pediment 2

Each piece has notation, in English and Braille, of where it appears on the pediment.

In the outer chamber of the temple, plaster replicas have been made from direct casts of the original sculptures adorning the pediments of the Athens’ Parthenon.The originals can be found today in the British Museum in London.  Of course, all the figures were not available, so knowledge of Greek sculpture helped create the missing pieces.

The advanced scientific knowledge of 500 BC surprisingly had great understanding of astronomy. The opening to the temple was built facing east. At that time there was a reflecting pool in front of the statue. When the sun came in that east door, it hit the reflecting pool to light up the golden statue of Athena. No modern day lighting system could compare.

The beauty of the past lives on in Centennial Park today.

Centennial Park is located in Nashville, TN just west of I-40 at 2500 West End Ave. Admission to the Parthenon is very reasonable.

 

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