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Posts Tagged ‘civil war’

We didn’t go anywhere for Spring Break this year, except to the zoo.  Today’s planned trip to Dollywood was canceled due to illness.  So I got to feeling nostalgic about last year’s Spring Break trip, which I had never gotten around to sharing here.

Because I’ve waited a year to write about this, the details of the trip are less than clear.  So I’m going to dump a LOT of pictures here, with less explanation than usual.  But let me start by saying that if you live in Knoxville, and you’ve never taken a trip to Chattanooga, you are missing out.  If you live farther away, it’s still worth the drive.  We only did about half of what we wanted to do last year–the children’s museum, the nature center, the art museum, and more all await another visit.

So one year ago yesterday we packed up and drove 90 miles to Chattanooga, where our accommodations were cheap and convenient and that’s the best that could be said about them.

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Clearly, Echo was not in favor of our leaving!

Tickets to local attractions are available at reduced prices online, so we were ready to get started as soon as we arrived.  We began at the bottom of Lookout Mountain and rode the Incline Railway to the top.

I’ve ridden this thing before, years and years ago, but the cars were more enclosed than they are now and the . . . STEEPNESS . . . did not register with me.  It registered with poor William, though, and he was not a fan.

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Once at the top, the first thing to do is marvel at the beautiful views, which are not in short supply on Lookout Mountain.

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We also got a look at the machinery that runs the Incline Railway.

Our first stop was Battles for Chattanooga, right down the street.  On our way we enjoyed the beautiful homes and gardens we passed.  We browsed the gift shop which is replete with Civil War memorabilia while we waited for the show to start.

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The show itself is a combination of film and one of those models of all the battlefields that lights up to illustrate the various campaigns.  You may have seen something similar in Gettysburg or Atlanta if you’ve been there.  This was the first time I’d been to this attraction, and it was very instructive and provided context for Point Park, our next stop.

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History, rock formations, and views are plentiful in Point Park, which charges a small entry fee on the honor system.  There’s a little self-guided museum, and miles of walking trails which I am hoping to return to explore one day.  Seriously, it’s so beautiful and you could spend an entire day right here.

We had other places to go, though, so we rode the Incline back down (William had to be very brave!) and drove the car back up so we could SEE ROCK CITY, just like the barns say.

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Rock City is an attraction that is hard to categorize.  The brainchild of Mr. and Mrs. Carter above, what began as an extension of the garden around their home is now a network of trails, massive rock formation, nerve-wracking bridges, breathtaking views, and more.

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Above you see a nice solid rock bridge and a swinging bridge.  Can you guess which one I walked across?

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I bet you guessed right! 🙂

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Directly above you’ll see a shot of Lovers’ Leap (with the waterfall turned green in honor of Saint Patrick!) and then what Rock City is probably most famous for: the view of seven states which strikes me as totally possible on a clear day.

There are some rare white fallow deer housed at Rock City.  I didn’t get a picture but you can see Lorelei and William looking at them below!

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The white deer are part of the fairy tale motif for which Rock City is known.  Gnomes are plentiful, and there’s a whole gallery of nursery rhyme scenes.

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At the conclusion of our Rock City adventure, we found a family-friendly Asian restaurant nearby before retreating to our lodgings to rest up for the next day’s activities.

We started the second day of our trip with another iconic Chattanooga attraction:  Ruby Falls.

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All I can say is that it’s a good thing God chose Leo Lambert and not me to discover His handiwork and reveal it to the masses.  The story of his harrowing crawl through the pitch-dark and tiny passageways is terrifying. Luckily we can experience the beauty of the caverns without doing that.  I’m just sharing a few pictures because even with an iPhone (WAY better than the Kodak with flip-flash I had the first time I visited almost 40 years ago!) it’s just hard to capture good images in the low light.

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With Ruby Falls behind us, we headed down Lookout Mountain and into downtown Chattanooga with the Tennessee Aquarium next on our agenda.  They’d added a whole new building since our last visit.  One building showcases freshwater and the other seawater creatures.

I’d give more info on these creatures if I could, but it’s been a year and my memory of what things are is hazy.  William would be able to tell me if I asked him–it’s fun to hear him announce the names of obscure animals without reading the informational placards.

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These guys I recognize and you will too.  There are many of them in the bayou area and it was fun to watch them.

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I love all the beautiful colors and patterns–living art.

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Water creatures share the Aquarium with some other wild things.  This was taken in the butterfly room, where if you are lucky you may find yourself a perch for several butterflies!

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And while penguins seem a bit out of place to me I’m not going to complain because look how cute they are.  We had a hard time dragging the kids away.

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These guys though–they are creepy.

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The other-worldly, ethereal beauty of jellyfish is always fascinating to me.

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And there were more to come, as the Aquarium is currently hosting an art exhibit with jellyfish and art inspired by them.

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I’m pretty sure my kids would name the Aquarium if you asked them which part of our visit to Chattanooga they enjoyed most.

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We were there until closing time and then we hit downtown to search for a William-approved restaurant (Genghis Grill) before heading back to the motel.  We squeezed a lot of fun into two days and I was just talking to John today about how much more there is to see and do in Chattanooga.  We will be back!

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Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery isn’t exactly off the beaten track.  It’s right next to the church of the same name, not far from Kingston Pike on Lyon’s View, just down the street from Cherokee Country Club.  You’ve probably driven by it hundreds of times, like I had before I finally decided to stop there one day.  That was a few years ago, before I was blogging my graveyard adventures.  So last weekend I went back.

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Some changes have taken place since my last visit here.  At that time a portion of the cemetery was completely overgrown.  And I don’t mean with weeds.  There was a small forest on one side that had grown right up around the graves!  But that’s gone now.  The photo below shows part of the formerly overgrown area.  Some of the part I didn’t photograph has been planted with new grass.

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There’s more evidence of sprucing up going on, such as the replacement/repair of the chain link fence around the property:

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Of course there is still room for improvement . . .

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But I’m not going to complain since the hole in the fence led to another adventure.  If you are familiar with the area you will know what is right next door, behind a high stone wall.  Well, below is a photo of the INSIDE of that wall and  a couple more (quickly snapped) shots of what lies within.

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After experiencing that little thrill, I went back to the graveyard and explored some more.  This graveyard is quite old.  Although the plaque on the church above indicates that this new building replaced another built in 1887, other internet resources indicate that the church opened in 1870.  Yet the earliest interments were in 1858.  The majority of the burials took place in the first three decades of the last century.  There are a few as late as the 1970s, but I saw no recent burials.

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Of course, there were little ones.

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One of the interesting things about visiting local cemeteries is the fun of seeing familiar names, and realizing that the roads you’ve traveled your whole life, for example, are named after actual people, people who owned the land once upon a time, and here they are!  But the roads in nearby Sequoyah Hills are not named after the residents of this cemetery.

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery is an African-American graveyard, and many of the people buried here were born into slavery and freed by the war.  Their hard work for the most part was not rewarded by having local roads named after them.    I could not find the reference but I seem to recall having read that many of the people buried here worked at what was then known as the insane asylum, just down the road.  This was partly confirmed by a blog post I found while researching the stones below:

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I was interested in these stones because of the unusual names, which I also thought would be easier to research because they were uncommon, and also because of Mr. Crump’s military service.  I learned from his great-great-granddaughter’s blog post that Mr. Crump, born the slave of Martha Crump in West Tennessee, fought in the Union Army.  He bought property in Knoxville and raised a family here, with both his son and grandson working as bakers at what we now remember as Lakeshore.  She writes that “Lavon Crump [her grandfather] often repeated to his children the importance of a good family name . . . [when] he retired [after 50 years of service] he brought home a gold stick pin and his parking sign from the Hospital lot, it read: Honorable Lavon Crump. His placement of the sign at the corner of his yard was another expression of his pride.” Her mother, she says, stressed the importance of “[h]ow we transformed a slave brand into a meaningful family name.”

Names are important.  Remembering people is important.  Sometimes a grave marker is the only hard evidence that a person existed.  And that’s one reason I visit graveyards.

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