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Hard Knox Histories

The following was written by Tom Fraser, mastermind behind the Hellbender Press: The results of an ambitious effort by University of Tennessee Libraries to capture the history and personal memories of the devastating 2016 Great Smoky Mountains...
It’s Football History Time in Tennessee! This week, local historian extraordinaire Jack Neely and our editor, J.J. Stambaugh, take a look at the humble origins of Volunteer football and how it evolved into the Big Orange...
In this week’s Hard Knox Histories, local historian Jack Neely and editor J.J. Stambaugh discuss the background of one of Knoxville’s most prominent landmarks: Old Gray Cemetery.  The main entrance to the sprawling cemetery lies directly...
Once upon a time, it was the part of town that most Knoxvillians had forgotten about, if they knew about it at all. These days, of course, the few blocks around Central Street and Jackson Avenue...
Disasters — both natural and manmade — have dominated the news in recent weeks. Hurricanes, wildfires, the tragedy of Afghanistan, the ongoing COVID pandemic….it seems as though Fate has an unquenchable thirst for horror as...
As hard as it is to believe today, entertainment of any sort was once a rare and treasured commodity. Our modern world immerses us in entertainment on a constant basis, enabled by technology and driven by...
For local history buffs, the Mabry-Hazen House is a treasure trove unlike any other.   It’s not the 130 years worth of furniture, paintings and fine China that grace its stately rooms that make it so...
“Beyond in the dark the river flows in a sluggard ooze toward southern seas…. afreight  with the past, dreams dispersed in the water someway, nothing ever lost.” — Cormac McCarthy, Suttree The Tennessee River doesn’t loom...
The people who like to talk about East Tennessee’s “mild” winters and summers have presumably never been here in January — or July.  From May forward, daytime highs usually start their inexorable climb through the 70s...
Deadly shootouts, devastating fires and a bit of vaudeville thrown in for good measure… there are far worse ways to spend an evening in downtown Knoxville. That was the verdict of more than 60 history buffs...