Friday Nights in the Park

The Sewanee Business Alliance (SBA) is hosting a series of free concerts in downtown Sewanee.

Kicking off the event on Friday, June 21, is The Secret Commonwealth. The Secret Commonwealth has been Middle Tennessee’s most enduringly popular Celtic band since their inception in 1993. Influenced by The Pogues, The Chieftains, and traditional Irish pub bands, The Secret Commonwealth’s music mixes original material with traditional music and many styles of American and European folk.

The rest of the lineup for Friday Nights in the Park is: VOLK on June 28; Jess Goggans Band on July 12; and Towson Engsberg on July 19.

University Avenue will be closed at 6 p.m. each of these nights for the annual outdoor family event, with food and drink from local vendors available for purchase. The entertainers play from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Angel Park Pavilion.

The events are free and open to the public. Bring a blanket or a chair and enjoy the show in downtown Sewanee. Rain location is the American Legion Hall.

The SBA is also sponsoring a reverse raffle to benefit Sewanee Angel Park, Community Action Committee and Housing Sewanee, with a chance for participants to win up to $5,000.

Tickets for the reverse raffle are $100 each and are for sale at the following local businesses: Beauty by Tabitha, Big A Marketing, The Blue Chair, Fine Arts at the Mountain, the Lemon Fair, University Realty and Woody’s Bicycles. Tickets are also available at the Friday Nights in the Park.

During each Friday Nights in the Park, there will be a drawing for a special prize. The ticket drawn will be placed back in the pool for another chance to win. The $5,000 grand prize drawing will take place during the ninth annual AngelFest on Oct. 4. Participants do not have to be present to win.

For more information go to

​Monteagle Fire Hall Design Gets the Green Light

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“We’re really excited,” said Monteagle Fire Chief Mike Holmes. “We’ve been in a rented building almost three years.”

At a special called meeting June 18, the Monteagle Regional Planning Committee approved the site plan for the new fire hall. Discussion stalled last February when the design under consideration was downsized to conform to the budget. The downsized plan wouldn’t accommodate the department’s equipment.

The site plan, prepared by American Engineering Solutions (AES), calls for a 6,000 square foot metal building with three bays, an office, kitchen, training room, and men’s and women’s bathrooms with showers. AES constructed the Whitwell fire hall and offers both design and building services, resulting in a cost savings for the city, with the total bill for design and construction coming in under budget at $365,200.

Slated for construction on the site of the former fire hall, which was demolished, the building will sit back further from the College Street entrance than the former facility. The 35-foot setback was needed to give the department space to pull out the trucks for washing and other maintenance. The longest truck is 31 feet, 6 inches.

Planning Committee Chair Carter Underhill asked for the special called meeting so the site plan could be approved and forwarded to the Monteagle City Council for final approval at the June 24 meeting. Monteagle building inspector Earl Geary reviewed the plan and found it in compliance with all city codes and building requirements.

“Construction is expected to begin in as soon as two weeks,” said Kenneth Gipson, Monteagle alderman and planning committee alternate.

The rented building currently occupied by the fire department costs the city $1,100 each month. The projected completion date of the new fire hall is early November.

​Pearl’s Fine Dining Under New Ownership

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Charles Broad took over as executive chef and managing owner of Pearl’s Fine Dining after almost 20 years in the business. A Mississippi native, Broad has been on the Mountain for nearly two years. He grew up eating his mom’s southern, Cajun dishes, and said her cooking created a love of food for him.

“I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. I have had a stutter all my life, and back in the kitchen, I do not have to talk often. I can talk through my food,” Broad said. “There are a lot of Mississippi and New Orleans influences in my food, but I really cook with one thing in mind—the Southern mantra of ‘cook everything with love.’”

Broad has been serving from the Pearl’s menu since taking over as executive chef and managing owner, but he said he has hopes of offering a new menu within the month—one that is inspired by his roots and blends Cajun, Creole, European and Southern flavors.

“I had to learn the foundations of different cuisines before I could start creating things on my own. You have to learn where food has been so you know where you might go next,” Broad said. “We’re also working on getting wine, liquor and beer permits, and eventually, we want to build a Speakeasy-style lounge and bar.”

Broad said nearly everything will be either locally sourced or made in-house, and he has recruited some friends from the area to make this possible. He is sourcing his ingredients from vendors at the South Cumberland Farmers’ Market and from Wildberry Farms in Decherd.

“We’re working with Hannah at Wildberry Farms to get arugula, San Marzano tomatoes, garlic shoots and popcorn shoots,” he said.

Kyle Larsen will be doing all the bread baking at Pearl’s using yeast local to the area on Jump Off Road. Larsen, who previously dabbled home brewing beers, said bread making is like the inverse of brewing. You just switch from fermentation to baking.

“We’re work shopping some of the menu items as we roll everything out. I’ve made some French bread, a big country-style sourdough, Kaiser rolls, beignets,” Larsen said. “Bread making just brings me back to the way that people have eaten for so long.”

Pearl’s is located at 15344 Sewanee Hwy., Sewanee. Hours are Wednesday and Thursday, 5–9 p.m., and Friday–Saturday, 5–10 p.m. Reservations are recommended. For more information or to make reservations, call (931) 463-2222 or visit

​Talent Abounds at Locals

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

The summer season at Locals in Sewanee is well underway, providing a space for artists and craftsmen from the Mountain area to display and sell their work.

Locals will exhibit a curated collection of career bests through Saturday, Aug. 3.

Ashley Charlton, gallery manager, has been with Locals since May of 2014. She said the gallery provides an opportunity for creators from the area to share their work.

“This area specifically has a whole lot of artists that are involved with these age-old traditions, such as our ceramicists, sculptors, our woodworkers—all of those are centered around Southern craft tradition. This area, unlike some others, has an exceptional group of diverse styles, materials, in terms of our artists. We are very lucky to have such an array — copper, wood, stone, paper, wax, and all these different mediums. There is too much talent here not to have some place to exhibit,” she said.

This season’s featured artist is Larry Todd Wilson, who has been sculpting and painting for more than 20 years.

Wilson said his process of creating involves leaning into the natural curiosity of the artist’s mind, seeking to offer an opportunity to become more aware of what captivates the observer.

“My process is a flow activity, with minimal mind chatter and a great deal of physicality and curiosity. I paint with my hands, not brushes. For sculpture, the method is direct carving with hammers, chisels, rifflers and rasps,” he said. “My goal is to show engaging, layered color in mixed-media paintings and show elegant, sculpted forms in alabaster.

Wilson’s pieces will be displayed alongside the work of 15 other artists, including Jim Ann Howard, G. Sanford McGee, Jimmy Abegg, Susan Church, Jamey “Otis” Chernicky, Connie Ulrich, Thomas Spake, Jeanie Stephenson, Bill Mauzy, Bean & Bailey, James Tucker, Melodie Grace, Nick Fletcher, Hal Broyles, Nancy Wallace and Phyllis A. Narus.

Locals is open from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, visit or call (865) 567-5563.

Sewanee Grand Marshals Announced

Sewanee’s Fourth of July Parade Committee is proud to announce that John and Bonnie Green are the Grand Marshals for 2019.

John and Bonnie were both born at the old Emerald Hodgson Hospital.

Bonnie’s parents left the Mountain for Chicago, where she was raised until eighth grade. She returned to Sewanee to attend eighth grade and high school. The couple met at Franklin County High School and were married in 1958, their senior year. They moved to Chicago but returned to Sewanee after a year. John was the produce/delivery man at the University Supply Store until 1969. He was the first Little League coach in Sewanee. Bonnie worked at Emerald Hodgson Hospital in medical records before taking a position with the College Board.

In 1969, the College Board moved from Sewanee to Atlanta, and John and Bonnie followed them there. John worked at Overnite Transportation until his retirement in 1997. Bonnie worked with the College Board until her retirement in 1995.

The couple loves to travel, especially to sporting events of their children and now grandchildren, and did so extensively for three years before returning to live in Sewanee in 2000.

Bonnie and John pride themselves on their volunteer work. Bonnie worked on the opening show of the 1994 Super Bowl in Atlanta, when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills. She was offered a paid position with the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta but chose to volunteer instead. She worked the opening and closing ceremonies in the costume department and still gets chill bumps when describing the experience. She is currently the treasurer at the Sewanee Senior Center and Golden Heights Apartments in Winchester. She also volunteers with Almost Home in Winchester. John is the go-to person if you need help with anything. They are both members of New Beginnings Church in Monteagle.

The Greens have attended every Independence Day celebration in Sewanee from its inception 34 years ago, except for one summer they spent in Alaska. They were in charge of decorating the leaseholders’ float for 15 years. Bonnie has held several volunteer positions with the Fourth of July Committee over the years.

We are honored to have them as the 2019 Grand Marshals. Please join us on Thursday, July 4, to celebrate Bonnie and John, two of Sewanee’s finest!

The 33rd Annual Sewanee Fourth of July

Street Dance

The celebration will begin on Wednesday, July 3, with the Street Dance at the Sewanee Market at 8 p.m. featuring Bad Nayber. Stay until midnight to start the Fourth off right! The rain location for the Street Dance is Cravens Hall.

Sunrise Yoga

The Sewanee Community Center is hosting a Sunrise Yoga session at 6:15 a.m. in Manigault Park. The class is free and for any level of yoga ability. Mats, bolsters, blocks and straps will be provided. The rain location is in Sewanee Community Center.

Flag Raising

The morning of the Fourth of July begins with music and song at 8 a.m. at the 47th annual Flag Raising at Juhan Bridge in Abbo’s Alley. Come join us to sing patriotic songs accompanied by the Sewanee Summer Music Festival’s brass quintet and watch our local Scout Troop 14 raise the flag. Our sponsors, The Friends of Abbo’s Alley, will offer coffee and juice.

To complete the celebration, please bring your favorite breakfast finger food to share (or simply make a small donation). The event takes place amidst the Smith, Gardner and Beaumont-Zucker homes at 139 and 143 Florida Ave. For more information or to volunteer to serve coffee or juice, call Margaret Beaumont Zucker at (931) 598-5214.

Pub Run

Join the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly in celebrating their 42nd Annual Pub Run starting at 8 a.m. Runners will meet at the MSSA Front Gate and run to Shenanigan’s (6.4 miles) on the Mountain Goat Trail. Walkers may start at Dollar General. The fee for the run is $20. Pre-register at the MSSA Office or call 924-2286 for more information. All are welcome to participate. There will be awards for winners and beer at the finish line.

Arts & Crafts Fair

We invite you to participate in our Arts & Crafts Fair beginning on Thursday, July 4 at 9 a.m. in Shoup Park, where you can view the parade without leaving your booth, rain or shine. There is a $20 non-refundable fee and spaces are limited and pre-assigned, so sign up early. Go to <> under Event Registration for more information and for your entry form or contact Bracie Parker at <> with any questions. Come spend the day with us, sell your wares, and enjoy the parade and other fun activities.

Mutt Show

Enter your favorite pooch in the 2019 Fourth of July Mutt Show! All dogs are welcome to compete—no talent necessary. The Mutt Show will begin in Manigault Park at 10:00 am. You may pre-register at <> under Event Registration. You may also register on the day of the event from 9 to 9:45 a.m. Ribbons will be awarded for these canine categories: Best Dressed, “Grooviest” Doggie, Owner/Dog Look-Alike, Best Trick, and Judges’ Choice. There will also be an award for Best Dog Joke. Entrants may register to compete in two categories. The registration fee is $5 per category, and all proceeds will go to help fund the fireworks display. There is a suggested donation of $1 for audience members—those proceeds will go to help our furry friends at Animal Harbor and MARC. We are looking for volunteers to help with set-up, registration and doggie line-up. If you are interested, please contact Sarah Butler at <>.

Cake Decorating

Calling all cake bakers! Have a favorite cake recipe or a talent for cake decorating? Put your skills on display this Fourth of July by entering your cake in the Sewanee Woman’s Club Annual Cake Contest! Entering is free of charge, and the winner of the Best All-Around Cake gets $100 cash, courtesy of IvyWild Catering. But there’s more!

Adult winners of the Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Best Representation of the Theme cakes each get a ribbon and $50 gift certificate from Octoπ. Under-13 winners of the Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Best Representation of the Theme cakes each get a ribbon and a gift card. There will also be a Best All-Around winner for the children’s cakes.

Winners of the Best Tasting, Best Decorated, and Best Representation of the Theme contests will be entered in the Best All-Around Competition. Thanks to Ken Taylor for his ribbon sponsorship.

Show up to register and set up your cake between 9–9:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, in St. Mark’s Hall at Otey Parish.

Winners will be announced at noon. All are invited to view the cake entries, and there will be a cake tasting party on site afterwards. Enter as an individual or as a team. One entry per person or per team.

Questions? Please call Susan Peek at (615) 504-5404.

String Blazers Performance

The String Blazers ensemble under the direction of Jess Wilson will perform in Shoup Park at 10 a.m. Come listen to music while you browse the Arts & Crafts Fair offerings.

Children’s Games

Children’s games and bounce houses will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Quad. If you are interested in volunteering to help with the children’s games, send a message on <> under Contact Us or send an email to <>.


Vendors along University Avenue will begin selling food and drinks at 10 a.m. To sign up as a food vendor, visit <> under Event Registration to download the Food Vendor Application form with instructions to mail in a check to reserve your spot. There is a $20 fee per event (Street Dance, Parade and Fireworks).

Leave Us a Memory

The Sewanee Trust for Historic Preservation invites you to Leave Us a Sewanee Memory - you have 4 Minutes! from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Folks at Home office just below Reed Lane and Sewanee Elementary School. The STHP wants to gather residents, visitors, former residents, relatives of residents, and anyone else who has a story to tell about people, places, or events in Sewanee. The participants in this oral history event will need to provide their name and signature allowing the recording for future use. We hope those who “Leave Us a Sewanee Memory” will have fun telling their stories — and maybe they will want to have a longer interview with STHP members later in the summer - information on the Oral History program for the community and the Sewanee Trust organization will be available.

Corn Hole, Craft Beer and BBQ

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., hang out downtown and get ready for the parade with fun games of corn hole, refreshing craft beer and delicious barbeque.

Patriotic Photo Booth

This is a new event at the new store 1866 Revival (next to Taylor’s). Come have your picture taken with a vintage VW bus staged by Heirlooms Vintage Rentals. You will receive a free mini Polaroid picture while supplies last.

See Sewanee’s Future

From noon to 2 p.m: See Sewanee’s Future at The Blue House. This will be an open house featuring the downtown development project plans. Take the opportunity to see the future of Sewanee and learn about the Master Plan for the additions to downtown Sewanee. This project has been in the planning stages since 2012 and is now on the brink of action with specific projects to vitalize the Sewanee Downtown. University Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Frank Gladu and Director of Implementation from Town Planning and Urban design Collaborative, Becky Timmons, will be on hand to describe the plan, the projects and answer questions. All are welcome including developers and investors who are needed to bring the plan to life. Learn more at <>.

Breslin Tower Bells

Also at noon, The University of the South Guild of Change-Ringers will perform at Breslin Tower.

Picnic Contest

The Sewanee Fourth of July Committee is proud to announce a new event for this years’ festivities - a Picnic Contest. For those of you who have a great setup for the Fourth and like to host a party for your family and friends, why not enter our contest to see if your picnic is the best. The winner will receive a brand new Picnic Basket set. Participants will setup their picnics in their usual spots up and down University Avenue and then starting at 1 p.m. on July 4, judges will visit each entry. If you are interested and would like to enter or if you have any questions regarding the contest, please contact Amanda Bailey at <>.

Carillon Concert

Charlene Williamson, Hannah True and Raymond Gotko will perform a Carillon Recital at 1 p.m. Bring a chair to All Saints’ Chapel to enjoy the music.

Parade Entries

The Fourth of July Parade Committee has been working for months on the biggest, best, most arms-open-wide parade Sewanee has ever seen. There will be fire engines, police cars, the grand marshal (soon to be announced), candy galore, and this year they want you and your organization to be recognized and cheered on in the Peace, Love, and Fireworks parade.

Sewanee’s Fourth of July Parade celebrates America and its origins at a time when the ideals of freedom and good citizenship were agreed upon by all. The parade is an event where everyone feels welcome and respected—where spectators and participants alike feel proud of our town for its creativity, diversity, and mutual respect.

The committee wants you to know there are so many creative ways to strut your stuff up University Avenue, and they range from traditional and elaborate to simple, elegant, memorable, and bizarre. Anything with wheels is good: flatbeds, cars, convertibles, golf carts, wagons, wheelbarrows, bikes, big wheels, scooters; but on foot (or hooves) could be even better, especially if you’ve got a colorful banner (and/or signs, big hats, confetti, giant pinwheels) declaring who you are and what you do for this diverse community. The parade committee will do all it can to help you find materials and get you organized on the big day.

The parade begins at 2 p.m on Thursday, July 4, with line-up on Lake O’Donnell Road starting at noon and ending at 1 p.m. This is when and where the judging will be: trophies for best float, best decorated vehicle, and best horse; and blue ribbons for best decorated bicycle, best banner, and best costume.

If you’re interested in showing how your organization keeps alive the American spirit of opportunity and hope for all, please fill out the entry in the Messenger or register online at <> under Event Registration. Let’s see what Sewanee comes up with in the name of Peace, Love, and Fireworks!

Parade Observers

PLEASE DO NOT PARK ON UNIVERSITY AVENUE. All vehicles must be moved before 1 p.m. to make room for the parade.

The parade will begin at 2 p.m., starting at the Sewanee Market and will travel through town, turning on to Hall Street and ending in the parking lot behind the Hospitality Shop. All sirens will be turned off at Texas Avenue.

Air Show

Weather permitting, the Air Show will take place at 3:30 p.m. at the Sewanee Airport.

Airplane Rides

Airplane rides will be available for adults and children after the parade until 6 p.m. at the Sewanee Airport. Parents must be present to give written permission for children ages 16 and under to ride. A $20 donation is requested.

Volleyball Tournament

Everyone ages 13 and up is invited to participate in a volleyball tournament starting at 5 p.m. at Lake Cheston. Each team must have at least four players and at least two females. Register online at <> under Event Registration to reserve your team’s spot in the tournament or register on July 4 at the event. There is no fee to participate, and the grand prize is $100 cash.

Patriotic Celebration

The Sewanee Summer Music Festival students will perform a Patriotic Celebration at 7 p.m. in the Quad.


After dark, the Fireworks Show will be at Lake Cheston. There will be a suggested donation of $1 to contribute to next year’s fireworks. Parking at the Lake will be limited to handicapped and special needs only. Chief Marie Ferguson asks that if you need a handicap or special need parking pass for the fireworks show, please go by the Sewanee Police Station. Simply go to the window at the station, give your name, and you will be given a pass. If you have a permanent handicap tag you will not need a temporary one.

A shuttle will be available at the EQB Monument to transport people to and from the fireworks. The cost per person is $3.

​Updates on New Middle Schools, the 2019-20 Budget Deficit

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“We’re making good progress,” said construction manager Gary Clardy, updating the Franklin County School Board on progress in the construction of the new middle schools at the June 10 meeting. The optimistic news contrasted the anxiety expressed by the board about the $2.28 million draw on the school system’s reserve fund balance to keep the schools operating next year. Director of Schools Stanley Bean called the situation, “Sad.”
Clardy said the pads for the new construction were 95 percent complete. He noted “asbestos abatement” has to be done at both schools due to discovery of asbestos on the gym ductwork. According to Clardy, there are sufficient funds in the contracts to cover the $3,500 cost, explaining there was some money set aside for unanticipated expenses. “We should be very successful in keeping the project in budget.” The schools are expected to be student-ready by the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.
Urging board members to attend the upcoming county finance committee meeting, Bean said, “I’m fairly certain our budget will pass,” but added, “I don’t think the county commission realizes how dire it is. We can’t keep drawing down the fund balance.”
At the June 4 meeting, the finance committee refused the board’s request for $226,784 to cover one-third of the cost of pay raises, 1.5 percent for contract bus drivers, 2 percent for support employees, and an average 2 percent for certified employees based on years of service and degree advancement salary increases.
At a special called meeting June 6, the board voted to fund the pay raises by cutting funds designated for technology, elementary and secondary curriculum, and the long-overdue improvements to the Franklin County High School auditorium PA system.
To keep the schools operating, the 2019-20 budget will draw nearly $2.28 million from the reserve fund balance, leaving only $2.3 million in the account. State law requires the Franklin County Schools keep 3 percent of its budget in the fund balance account. A similar draw next year will drop the account to nearly zero. The board would need to authorize a $1.38 million reduction in educational service to meet the state requirement.
“The only place we can get more money is property taxes,” Bean said. He cited statistics demonstrating the schools’ percent of the property tax revenue divided among county departments had steadily decreased over the past seven years.
Board member Sara Liechty bemoaned the loss of Sewanee’s Pre-K program due to lack of funds. “Pre-K has been our one avenue to make a difference in how children do in second and third grade,” Liechty stressed.
“When people go to work at Nissan, they look at which county has the best schools to decide where to live,” board member Chris Guess said, pointing out failure to fund the schools ultimately resulted in less property tax revenue for the county.
Addressing regular business, Bean announced the decision to switch from six weeks to nine weeks grading periods at all schools. Huntland School and FCHS already have nine weeks grading periods. Bean said he consulted school principals who favored the change.
“Nine-weeks grading periods result in more instructional time since teachers spend less time on testing and end-of-period progress reports,” Bean said.
The board thanked Adam Tucker for his service on the board. Tucker turned in his resignation, citing occupational commitments as city attorney for Murfreesboro requiring him to move his primary residence to Rutherford County.
“We hate to see him go,” said board Vice-Chair Lance Williams.

​SSMF Celebrates 63rd Season

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
This weekend, more than 200 young musicians will gather on the Domain to settle into their summer homes in campus dorms. The students, however, are not on the Mountain for summer classes at the University. They are here to take part in one of the nation’s premier summer training programs in orchestra and chamber music.
Since 1957, musicians from all over the world have converged on the Mountain for the Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF), which serves as a home for students to work closely with renowned artist-faculty, develop leadership skills and refine their approach to repertoire.
Each summer, the festival maintains two full orchestras, each rehearsing daily. The orchestras perform weekly to promote high standards of performance and introduce a distinguished array of internationally renowned guest conductors to the community.
Held the first week of the festival is the Jacqueline Avent Concert Competition, which was established by Walter E. Nance and Mayna Avent Nance in memory of Jacqueline Avent. The competition serves as an opportunity for students to earn scholarships for future seasons. Winners are featured with the orchestra during the final week of the festival.
The festival also promotes student learning through chamber music ensembles, which develop leadership skills, foster collaboration among artists and promote high-level musical thinking.
In addition to orchestral and chamber music opportunities, students selected to study composition at Sewanee will see their own compositions performed, work shopped and coached. This program is capped at four student composers in the composition track to allow ample time for reading sessions, rehearsals and performances.
During the 2019 season, the Sewanee Summer Music Festival will explore the beauty of the natural world and the initiate connection between music and nature. Orchestral literature and chamber music programming will reflect a broad range of music that is inspired by the beauty of the natural surroundings.
Every SSMF student receives several chamber music assignments during the festival working regularly with a faculty coach, along with time to work independently.
At the end of each week, ensembles perform for the public on Student Chamber Music night at 7 p.m. each Friday.

This year’s season of the SSMF will begin at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 15. Season tickets ($125) and tickets for individual events ($20) are on sale now. For a complete list of events or to purchase tickets, visit The season will run through Sunday, July 14.

​1866 Revival Set to Open

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Mandi Oakes has had a love of antiques since she was a little girl. She remembers fondly the first piece of antique jewelry she found, and now years later, old rhinestone brooches have a way of catching her eye.
Oakes owned her own antique store in Chattanooga until she met her husband, Joseph Oliver. He also had an antique store. With the two businesses between them, there was little time for breaks.
To settle into a slower way of living, Oakes and Oliver moved to Sewanee. They brought with them their love of antiques, something they hope to share with the rest of the Mountain by way of a new store opening this month, 1866 Revival.
Drawing inspiration from the second founding of Sewanee, 1866 Revival will offer primitives, industrial, mid-century modern design, as well as other home decor pieces and locally-made soaps, candles and art.
Oakes said the couple found the building, which is the former location of Julia’s, about three months ago. Ever since, they have been transforming 24 University Ave., into their vision for the store.
“My husband and I have done similar stores on larger scales before, but we’re just trying to slow it down. We were open 7 days a week previously. We’ll only be open Wednesday to Saturday in Sewanee,” Oakes said. “We adopted a 2-year-old and we’re trying to step back. Coming to Sewanee was really about us looking for the small town atmosphere and the community. We’re also just trying to bring in something different to the area.”

Oakes and Oliver plan to open the store toward the middle of the month. For updates, visit or call (931) 463-5001.

​Hammer’s in Winchester is Closing

by Baily Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
After nearly 65 years in business, Hammer’s Department Store on the square in Winchester is closing.
Hammer’s is a chain of family-owned department stores with locations in Ft. Payne and Scottsboro, Ala., and in Winchester, Clinton, Wartburg, South Pittsburg and Sevierville, Tenn.
The Winchester store has been under Earl Hammer’s ownership since 1955. Joshua Hammer, spokesperson for the store, said the store is closing to allow his dad to enjoy his retirement.
Other store locations will remain open.
Joshua Hammer said there is no specific timeline for when the family will turn over the closed sign on the doors for the last time, but discounts will continue.
“Discounts will be getting deeper every week as we try to get dad’s money out of it and get it back to him,” he said. “When we get to that point, we’ll close the doors and be done.”
In 1942, A. B. Hammer Sr. opened the first store in Guntersville, Ala. In 1947, the second store was opened in Haleyville, Ala. One year later, the Scottsboro location was opened. Fast forward to 1955, Winchester’s landmark location opened its doors on the square. Today, all remaining locations are operated by second, third and fourth generations of the Hammer family.
“We appreciate all the customers we’ve had over the years. We’ve really come to love everyone,” Hammer said. “We appreciate this community and all the opportunities they have made possible. We are still here even after the store is gone.”
Visit Hammer’s Facebook page to keep up-to-date on weekly ads and special sales.

​Remaking Sewanee’s Black History: Digitization Days

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

On Memorial Day, African-Americans with a Sewanee connection converged on St. Mark’s Community Center to remake Sewanee’s African-American history. They digitizied photos and documents, located places of personal significance on a huge town map and recorded oral histories capturing for the future memories and recollections.

The Digitization Day event occurred in conjunction with the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation, headed up by University history professor Woody Register.

Rita Bean and her daughter Tina Dumasis were in town for a family reunion on Saturday and stayed for the Digitization Day event. Both were born in Sewanee. Tina grew up in Atlanta, but the family visited often.

“We had so much freedom here. In Atlanta, we were not allowed to leave the yard. Here the only rule was ‘be home before the lights came on,’” said Tina.

Rita and Tina are the daughter and granddaughter of legendary Dora Turner. Also on hand was another of Dora’s children, Sandra Turner Davis of Winchester. Dora and Willie Turner’s children were among those named in the 1960s lawsuit that brought about the desegregation of the Franklin County Schools.

Dora Turner made history by joining the lawsuit and was an archivist and historian in her own right. Sandra brought her mother’s scrapbook. The thick volume spanned decades and included news clipping and mementos not just about friends and family, but numerous articles and fliers detailing other events and local figures, both non-white and white, capturing Franklin County history first hand. The entire volume was scanned.

The scanning station offered two scanners to create electronic copies of photos and documents.

After being scanned, the photos and documents were returned to the individuals who brought them along with an electronic copy. With the donor’s permission, an electronic copy will also be added to the University archive.

The University archive is notably short of data on Sewanee’s black history and that realization was the impetus for the Digitization Day event.

In addition to scanners for copying images and documents, a light box was available to enhance photographic reproduction of images and objects by optimizing lighting conditions.

At another station, visitors circled a huge map of Sewanee attaching flags to mark the location of family homes and sites meaningful to them. Event assistants recorded pertinent information for each flag along with the name of the person who placed it.

Conversation flowed freely, with people sharing Sewanee stories and memories about family and friends.

Cynthia Wilkerson Kelley grew up in South Pittsburg, but recalled coming to Sewanee every Sunday as a child to visit relatives. “Sewanee is my comfort zone,” Cynthia said, remarking on her connection to the natural beauty of the forested mountaintop.

Those who wanted to record oral histories made their way to the quieter ambiance of the oral history trailer outside St. Mark’s. Interviewers were trained to ask questions geared to elicit not so much the literal truth but the emotional truth. Long-time Sewanee resident Lula Burnette talked long and openly during her oral history session. Inspired, Lula promised to go home and search for photos to have copied and archived at the next Digitization Day event on July 5.

The two Turner siblings and three of their childhood girlfriends posed for a photo, with Sandra displaying a photo of the five of them along with other children gathered on the steps of the old St. Mark’s Church.

The church on a hill on Oak Street was next door to the black Kennerly School and black community center. All three buildings were torn down. The St. Mark’s Community Center never became a hub of activity like the complex of buildings on Oak Street.

Until, that is, on Memorial Day 2019 when Sewanee’s African-American history was both remade and made.

American Shakespeare Center at SoL

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Players from the American Shakespeare Center will perform alongside students from the School of Letters (SoL) in a Friday night production of select scenes from “The Merchant of Venice.”

As part of a partnership between the American Shakespeare Center (ASC) and the Sewanee School of Letters, co-founder and director of mission, Ralph Cohen, and director of education, Sarah Enloe, spent a week with Ross MacDonald’s SoL Shakespeare class. They engaged “The Merchant of Venice” through a series of exercises intended to consider how Shakespeare in performance enriches our appreciation of his words on the page.

“The Merchant of Venice” is neither comedy, romance, nor tragedy—it is known as one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, which are characterized by complex, ambiguous tone, psychological drama and straightforward comic material.

A young Venetian, Bassanio, needs a loan so that he can woo wealthy heiress, Portia. He approaches his friend Antonio, the merchant. Antonio is short of money because all his wealth is invested in his fleet, which is currently at sea. He goes to a Jewish moneylender, Shylock, who hates Antonio because of Antonio’s anti-Semitic behavior towards him.

“The problem plays center around moral or ethical dilemmas,” said James Ross MacDonald, assistant professor of English at the University and faculty member at the School of Letters. “

In one way, the plays we sometimes think of as problem plays, Shakespeare knows they are problematic. He intends that the problem be the pleasure for the audience. It’s kind of hard to know. ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is described on its original title page as a comedy, but for people reading now, it’s impossible to see it as that,” he said.

“In exploring and workshopping some scenes, members of the class get to explore the text from the perspective of a theatrical practitioner, rather than the way a reader does.”

The partnership will bring the company’s national tour to the university each year, and the American Shakespeare Center will host Sewanee students and scholars at its home theater, Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Va. On-campus workshops, covering topics from stage combat to unraveling Shakespeare’s text, will also be offered by ASC actors in residency.

“What I’ve really enjoyed about working with Ralph, Sarah and others from the center is they’re really imaginative and really rigorous,” said MacDonald. “Their artistic vision is one that is very textually-grounded and is looking to extract from close attention to Shakespeare’s text a kind of vision of the character. Often, the things in their performances that seem new are really rooted in close attention to the text itself. What’s great about them in my view is that they never lose sight of Shakespeare’s language, even as they allow it to flower into all kinds of new imaginative visions of how to realize the play on the stage.”

At 8 p.m. on Friday, June 7, ASC players and students from MacDonald’s class will present a public performance of various scenes from the play. Alumni, friends and the community are invited to see the performance in Gailor Auditorium.

​Sewanee Village: New Amenities for Downtown

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Donors who contributed to the Tiger Tuesday fundraiser generated $24,360 earmarked for enhancing downtown Sewanee. Thanks to their generosity, comfortable Adirondack chairs will soon be located throughout the Village and residents and visitors will have access to free Wi-Fi in Angel Park. Frank Gladu, who oversees the Sewanee Village project, announced the new downtown amenities at the June 4 Sewanee Village update meeting. Gladu also reviewed new developments in the priority initiatives guiding the Village five-year plan.

The Sewanee Business Alliance will collaborate with the Sewanee Village project to purchase the chairs. Discussing use of the remainder of the Tiger Tuesday funds, Gladu said other amenities under consideration included picnic tables, hammocks and Adirondack chairs in front of Shenanigans; pole banners; flags; landscaping in front of the American Legion Hall; water bowls and waste bags for pets; a trailhead with a message board or brochure rack for the Mountain Goat Trail; a mural on the side of Taylor’s Mercantile; and bike lanes.

Gladu acknowledged bike lanes could reduce the limited parking downtown and the wall at Taylor’s would need refurbished in order to accommodate a mural. “We don’t have enough money to repair the wall,” Gladu said.

Gladu likewise cited limited resources as a problem in response to proposals to use the Tiger Tuesday funds for flowerboxes and trash and recycling receptacles. Gladu explained he lacked the manpower to tend flowerboxes and maintain trash and recycling receptacles.

Melissa Watkins recommended asking the Sewanee Garden Club for assistance. Stephen Carter pointed out scouting programs were always looking for service projects.

Updating the group on BP Construction’s plans to build a mixed-use food market and apartment building on the corner of U.S. Hwy. 41A and Lake O’Donnell Road, Gladu said the developer had priced out the cost of construction and was working with the Franklin County Planning and Zoning Commission to determine site costs. Once the total cost is known, BP will be able to determine rental rates. According to Gladu, BP wants to lease 60 percent of the space before proceeding with construction. The proposed building will have 12 apartments on the second floor and 8,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, with probably 5,000 square feet devoted to a food market, twice the size of the current Sewanee Market.

Commenting on the single-family housing proposals received from developers, Gladu cautioned, “We don’t want to overbuild.” The marketing study showed demand for a dozen faculty-staff single-family units. The University recently released 13 home building sites, 10 of which have been spoken for. Like the sites released by the University, Village housing will be offered for sale first to University employees and then to permanent residents, Gladu said. “Second homes are not a priority.” Village housing will be offered for sale to second homeowners only if the units do not sell in the other markets. The developers under review proposed both spec houses and pre-sale homes.

Gladu announced plans for a new 250-foot road connecting U.S. Hwy. 41A to Ballpark Road on the south side of the Sewanee Market. The new road will be a county project, Gladu said, but “we’ll need to come up with the funds.” He speculated preliminary design of the road might proceed, since the road design would need to be completed before the village green design could proceed. The green is proposed for the current Sewanee Market lot. Gladu stressed, however, the Sewanee Market would not be torn down until the mixed-used food market and apartment building was completed.

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