Were Smoky Mountain Grist Mills a Tech Thing?

Making the Most of the Daily Grind by Ria Nicholas In the late 1800s, scattered Appalachian [apple-AT-ch’n] farm communities consisted of independent, resourceful, God-fearing people, scrappy enough to wrest a living from the hardscrabble soil under their feet. If the Church acted as the spiritual head of the community, and the family epitomized its heart,Continue reading “Were Smoky Mountain Grist Mills a Tech Thing?”

Houston’s Puttin’ On the Ritz!

The Majestic Metro Theater Is the Bee’s Knees! By Ria Nicholas Just a few days ago I went with Jim Zura to help video a musical performance (without audience) at Houston’s Majestic Metro Theater at 911 Preston Street. I’d never heard of the place before, let alone been there. What an unexpected surprise! It wasContinue reading “Houston’s Puttin’ On the Ritz!”

12 Galveston Time Capsule Adventures

The Little Island That Could by Ria Nicholas Galveston, Texas is a microcosm of some of the greatest social upheavals in U.S. history.  In a sense, the narrative of an entire nation is distilled in the sands of this diminutive 200-square-mile barrier island. Tattooed Natives, shipwrecked explorers, determined slaves, brazen pirates, and barons of industryContinue reading “12 Galveston Time Capsule Adventures”

A Photo Essay on Jalopies

Truck #1 was located at an antique shop on Newport Highway (US 411), between Sevierville and Newport, Tennessee. We think it might be a 1951 or 1952 International Harvester truck. What do you think? Witnesses to the American Road by Ria Nicholas I know, I know! Jalopies are not a destination we can visit. ButContinue reading “A Photo Essay on Jalopies”

Battle of Vicksburg, MS: Civil War Victory Wasn’t Ironclad

The Sinking of the USS Cairo by Ria Nicholas Were they awestruck as they boarded her? Or skeptical perhaps, those Union soldiers? Did they brim over with excess pride, like the kid riding a brand new motor scooter on Christmas day, when everyone else just has a bike? Impossible to tell now. But all thoseContinue reading “Battle of Vicksburg, MS: Civil War Victory Wasn’t Ironclad”

Asheville, NC: A Little Castle for Three

Luxury and Excess at the Biltmore By Ria Nicholas The road trip from Knoxville, Tennessee to Asheville, North Carolina snakes its way down I-40 through the verdant Smoky Mountains.  We made the trip in winter, when gossamer shrouds of mist, prompted by the crisp December air, billow up from among the dips and hollows andContinue reading “Asheville, NC: A Little Castle for Three”