Journal of 100 Miles

Celebrating the communities and culture along the 100 miles of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee.


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Meriwether Lewis Remembered

FIRST NATIONAL MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR MERIWETHER LEWIS
Commemorates 200th Anniversary of Lewis’ Death

It will be an affair to remember as hundreds will gather to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of Meriwether Lewis of the exploration duo Lewis and Clark. A true American hero whose death remains a mystery, Lewis will finally receive a much deserved official memorial service on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 at 2:30pm.

At the end of the winding lane off milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Hohenwald, is the peaceful setting of Lewis’ gravesite and memorial where the event will take place honoring the man who sacrificed for his country and for his achievements and contributions to our nation.  Among those joining the event will be family descendants of both Lewis and Clark, government officials, tribal chiefs, representatives from Monticello, re-enactors from the Lewis and Clark Expedition bicentennial and people from across the country along with a moving performance from the 101st Airborne Infantry Band and a drum and fife corps.

Following this historical event are weekend festivities in the surrounding area of Hohenwald which include the town’s Oktober Heritage Festival (Oct. 9-10), a performance at the Strand Theatre (Oct. 9, 10, 16, 17) bringing to life the story of Meriwether Lewis and a festive time at Amber Falls Winery with their Meriwether Lewis commemorative wine release along with entertainment through the weekend.

What a great time to experience Hohenwald!  For more information visitwww.hohenwaldlewischamber.com.

October 2009


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The Strand Theatre- Circa 1938

It was a misty Saturday this past March as we ventured to Hohenwald, a quaint town of just over 3,700 people, to visit The Strand Theatre.  Built in 1938, the splendid building, in earlier days, was home to popular Hollywood movies and live performances from members of the Grand Ole Opry.  Even more remarkable were the news reels that played as family members watched hoping to catch a glimpse of loved ones overseas during WWII.  Soldiers on leave would even make surprise appearances.  Wilda Lawson, 72, whose family owned the theatre at the time, recalls working in the theatre when she was a young girl. “I remember popping popcorn and standing on wooden Coca-Cola trays so we could reach the popper,” says the local resident.  “I first sold tickets by myself when I was in the fifth grade,” she adds, “That’s how times were, they could trust you.”  Wilda can also remember when ticket prices were a mere 35 cents for adults and 11 cents for children.

This particular night of 2009 was a performance by the Highland String Quartet, four classical players with impressive credentials.  Collectively, they have performed at Carnegie Hall, with Opera Companies and Symphonies around the US and the world, are graduates and faculty of top music schools, Grammy winners and members of the Nashville String Machine who have recorded with the likes of Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Carrie Underwood, Bruce Springsteen, Rascal Flatts, to name just a few. The acoustics were pure and beautiful resonating the sounds of their evening program, “Music Through the Ages from Mozart to Zeppelin.”  It was a true display of art and talent with a timeless sensation.

When the original theatre had closed many years ago, the building was turned into a general store. The theatre space, however, would remain hidden and unused until recent renovations recovered the stage with new shows brought to life.  Original brick and floors still remain throughout parts of the historic structure.   The re-opening of the theatre in 2007 was a grand celebration.  And, Wilda was there. “We started having swing bands in the ’30’s, and the first one that played (for the re-opening) was a salute to the WWII veterans, and it just brought the house down,” she happily recalls.

The Strand Theatre is now part of the Hohenwald Discovery Center complex and a program of the Hohenwald Arts Council that is solely run by volunteers.  Definitely worth a visit, be sure to check their calendar of events to find a show you can take in like the old days.   Visit hohenwaldtn.org or hohenwaldlewischamber.com for more information.

May 2009