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A beautiful year
Wanamaker's calendar full of local landmarks
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Local artist Monty Wanamaker has published a 2014 Landmark Calendar. They are currently available.
“I have had several people express that I should create a 2014 Landmark Calendar, which I am very proud of,” said Wanamaker.
Given its current fate, that being demolition, Wanamaker included the Blue Building’s auditorium and gymnasium.
Built in 1869 for Louisiana owner James Pickett, the grand residence has known a number of owners before it was purchased in 1915 by the McMinnville Board of Education and converted after a $28,000 expansion and renovation into a 12-grade school.
In 1977, the city transformed the building into the Franklin P. Blue Municipal Building with the first floor devoted to McMinnville City Hall and the basement serving as McMinnville Police Department.
After abandonment by the city in 2008, the building has sat in disrepair as officials debated and wrangled over its future. In October 2013, officials voted to tear down the gymnasium which began by removing the stage curtains, seats and other items on Oct. 21.
Landmarks included in the calendar:
• Blue Building Auditorium – The auditorium was built in 1915 during the early expansion of the residence into a school. This view is from the balcony looking down onto the stage area of the auditorium which reportedly featured near-perfect acoustics.
• Blue Building Gymnasium – This “ultra-modern” gymnasium was officially opened on Feb. 6, 1948 with a price tag of $125,000 with 2,000 people attending its opening ceremonies. The 100 x 100 foot gym included a full-sized basement containing three classrooms as well as showers and dressing rooms, ladies’ and men’s restrooms, lounge and smoker.
• John and Hallie Nelms Home – After acquiring the property in 1891, attorney Erwin W. Smith built this picturesque eight-room house around the turn of the century. Located on Sparta Street, one mile from downtown McMinnville, it was purchased in 1925 by John W. Nelms and served for almost 30 years as the home of John and Hallie Wanamaker Nelms and their eight children. The house was eventually torn down and a Holiday Inn motel built on the site. It is now the site of Best Western Tree City Inn.
• Rock Island’s Great Falls Dam – At the confluence of the Caney Fork and Collins Rivers, the Tennessee Electric Power Company began to build this hydroelectric dam in 1912 which was completed in 1917, creating Great Falls Reservoir with its 125 miles of shoreline. Tennessee Valley Authority purchased the dam in 1939.
• McMinnville’s First Church of Christ – Prior to the year 1845, McMinnville’s Church of Christ had held worship services in the Warren County House located in the center of what was the city park. In that year, the congregation was formally organized and a lot purchased on the corner of Morford (then known as North) and College streets and this small, brick meeting house was erected on the site. In 1877, H.L. Walling undertook the responsibility to build a larger, better House of Worship, which replaced the “little meeting house” in 1878.
• The Bragg Home at Forks of the Pike – Sometime around the 1880s, Thomas Perkins Bragg built this charming Victorian home for his family at Forks of the Pike and made it their home until the turn of the century when they moved to the Dibrell Community to take advantage of the area school. Forks of the Pike is located near the intersection of Highway 96 and Highway 70 just West of Liberty.
Calendars are available at the Southern Museum and Galleries of Photography, Culture and History, located at 210 East Main Street for $20. As always, they will be printed in limited edition.
For more information, call 507-8102 or email southernmuseum@frontier.com.