Oct 25 2009
07:07 pm
By: WhitesCreek

By Ray Collett

Hello Readers,
Our mountains are really beginning to put on their "coat of many colors" now. They should be at their full peak in a few days. I played in Luttrell, Tn. Saturday, and Maryville today, (Sunday) and our mountains have them all beat, in my opinion anyway. The only other place I might like to be, would be in Hawaii. Our friend, Jo An Howard Gaines, (Class of 1953) who is living in Hawaii, sent me an email recently.....She wrote....


While de cluttering, I discovered this, written by Harry Shamhart, ten years ago! Priceless history of his

memories of Rockwood. Perhaps a model for more of us to not only write our own memories but find

'living treasures' and ask them to commit their memories to history.

Jo An Howard Gaines
Thanks Jo An, I printed it out and am in the process of re-typing it to send out to our readers. Mr. Shamhart attended RHS from 1931 and graduated in 1935. To the best of our knowledge is still living in Signal Mountain, Tn.
Thanks to Jo An, this is what Mr. Shamhart wrote Dec.13, 1999.....

Dear Jo An and Jim, I have generated a document that relates my recollections of growing up in Rockwood. Jo An, this was a direct result of a comment made by you to me that such a document might be interesting. Here is a copy and I hope you will find it just that. Best wishes for the holidays and may the coming year be kind to both of you. Lets keep those emails flowing! Harry

Harry Shamhart
Before age 7..........., I remember, Dad, Wilmer, and next door neighbor, Charlie Acuff going bird hunting (Bob White quail). Mr. Charlie was the Director of the Boy Scouts of America Council Area in which Rockwood was located. They would let me watch as they cleaned the birds for mother and Miss Reece, to further prepare for cooking. Miss Reece was the daughter of E.T.Ingram Sr. Sometimes they would bring home rabbits and squirrels.
We raised a few chickens and one time when the setting hens hatched a new brood of biddies, I slipped into the small chicken wire enclosure to play with the biddies. A sizeable black snake had the same idea, but I am sure his intent was to have lunch. After a few screams mother arrived and I suppose her fears were as great as mine. Mr. Charlie was home, heard the commotion and dispatched the snake with a pistol shot to the head. It need not be said that was my last trip into the cage with the biddies.
Brother Jack and I, and I believe Carl Mee Jr.,( he lived across the street) decided to construct an in-ground cooking pit. This required removal of dirt for the fire pit which required using a pick to loosen the dirt and a shovel to remove it. I was selected as the pick user and Jack was the shoveler. After making some progress in digging the hole, Jack started shoveling while I was still picking --- the result was I hit him in the head !!! Mother took us to George's Pharmacy where Dr. Bowers examined the wound and declared it was not serious. The in-ground cooking pit project ended!
Mother took me along when Jack entered the first grade of school. The school was located on the second floor of the building that still stands on the SW corner of the intersection of Kingston Ave and Rockwood St. I believe the date was September 1919.
Sundays and holidays we would go to grandmother Acuff's house, located at 26 S. Chamberlain Ave. We would usually have lunch and family gatherings. Mother was the only married child of grandmother who was called Miss Mollie by all of her friends. One afternoon, everyone was sitting on the front porch talking and watching Jack and I play. I was jumping on a door that was on the ground for repair, when dad called for me to stop. His concern was that the door would be further damaged. I continued, (it must have been fun) soon fell and sprained an ankle. I believe there were a few taps with a small switch as well as the sprain.
The spur railroad track that connected the Southern RR to the Roane Iron Company ran alongside Miss Mollie's house. A small steam engine that powered the molten slag containers from the blast furnaces to the "cinder dump" also traveled on the spur to move supplies to and product from the "Furnace" A wooden fence enclosed the house property ; it was fun to climb the fence and watch the engine (we called it "The Dinky") as it traveled up and down the rail spur.. The engineer and fireman would wave to us. Steam engines were coal fired at that time and under heavy loads emitting small hot coal cinders along with smoke and steam. One morning Jack and I were on the fence and as the "Dinky" moved uphill under heavy load, a hot cinder fell on the back of Jack's neck. He immediately placed a hand on it and held it --- screaming and running to the house for help --- I remember the small scars on his neck and hand.
The Southern Railway ran through the center of town. There was a passenger depot, located about 100 feet south of Rockwood Street, also a freight depot, located just south of Rathburn Street. Both were very busy with travelers and movement of all sorts of freight. In the springtime, when strawberries were ready for market, refrigerator railcars loaded with crates of strawberries would stop at the freight depot to receive large quantities of ice into bins located at each end of the car. The ice had been formed into 500 lb. blocks and conveyed from wagons ( or later trucks ) to the bins. The " ice house" was located on South Chamberlain Avenue. Loading was done at night to minimize melting by the sun. The sound of ice blocks dropping 8 or 10 feet into the bins could be heard for great distances. Destination of the cargo was the Chicago area. A large water tank was located across the track from the passenger depot to store water for the steam engines. Other water tanks were located at Spring City and Oakdale, those towns were about 15 rail miles away from Rockwood. Engines would stop at the tanks and fill their tanks by gravity flow ; the transfer pipe was about 10 inches in diameter and a "water stop" required about ten to fifteen minutes. On Sunday mornings, the 9 AM northbound train engineer would blow the whistle to make sounds recognizable as church hymns. My favorite was "Oh, How i Love Jesus". Mr. McCluen, father of Judge L.G.McCluen, was the station master and an excellent Morse code operator. I frequently visited the depot to watch how he sent messages to other stations along the railroad and to watch the steam engines "take on water."....

We will leave Mr. Shamhart's "Memories Of Rockwood" until next week. I hope you are enjoy this as much as I am. Hopefully, this will encourage you to send in your "Memories". No matter how insignicant you might think them to be, trust me, a lot of readers will enjoy them....
My books, "Rockwood Memories" Volumes One and Two, can be found at "Shack's Restaurant (now home of Rockwood's best pizza), Gail Score's "Western Apparell", "Yonder Hollow" , O'Those Were The Days Antiques", and David Webb's "Rocky Top General Store." or by calling (865) 354-7680...
Until next week, keep the email coming......Ray

Memories of the ice house...

Yes, you sparked my memories of the "ice house" that once stood at the Harriman side of the "old bridge", now the newest bridge into Harriman. My dad used to take me there to get ice for making homemade ice cream. We would take a block home and chip it up using an ice pick and pack it in the manual crank ice cream maker. My job was to sit on top, keep the drain hole open, and add another layer of ice and salt as needed, while he labored at the crank.

Later, with the small black and white TV turned toward the window, we would sit outside, watch wrestling, and eat the sweet cream!


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