Where is ‘Rocky Top’?

April 4, 2007

With last night’s win over Rutgers, Coach Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee Lady Vols won their seventh national basketball championship. Several times during the game, the UT Band played “Rocky Top,” the University fight song.

Just where is Rocky Top? The song was written in Gatlinburg by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. Wikipedia claims that the song names one of the three peaks of Thunderhead Mountain, which, oddly enough, is located in North Carolina.

The folks in Leipers Fork, however, claim that “Rocky Top” is actually northwest of their town in rural Williamson County. In the early 20th Century, this was the poor end of what is now Tennessee’s wealthiest county, and moonshining was a common practice.

Wherever “Rocky Top” actually sits, it’s great to hear it on the winning end of national championships.


Confederate Museum should move to Tennessee

April 4, 2007

Today’s Washington Post has a wonderful article on the struggling Museum of the Confederacy, which is located in downtown Richmond, Virginia. The Museum has terrific exhibits, such as the hat below, which belonged to General J.E.B. Stuart. Visitation, however, peaked at 90,000 people per year during the 1990s, and the Museum now faces hard times. All but boxed in by the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, the Museum is hard to find, has little parking, and and is getting eclipsed by the nearby American Civil War Center.

The solution? Move the Museum to Tennessee and model a new museum on the very successful American Civil War Center, which looks at the war from three perspectives: North, South, and African-American. Tennessee has an abundance of battlefields and plantations and visitors who would line up and buy tickets.

Of course, this will never happen. Virginians will never let those artifacts out of Richmond. Nonetheless, Tennessee is ripe for a state-of-the-art museum with a comprehensive approach to the most fascinating period of American history.