Welcome to Knoxville Chronicles, a podcast series produced by the Knoxville History Project highlighting some of the most interesting of the city’s old stories that still have relevance today.
Three days before Christmas in 1893, Whittle’s sawmill by the river exploded and the disaster proved to be a portent of trouble ahead on the streets of Knoxville. While for some, Christmas was a quiet, family affair, with gifts and Christmas trees, for others it was a time for looking for some fun or for some trouble. The ensuing mayhem meant that it was a Christmas period like no other. Jack Neely chronicles the balmy twists and turns of the Christmas season that year when madness and mayhem prevailed.
Read by Todd Ethridge. Length: 11:39 mins.
Written by Jack Neely, this short account looks back on how Knoxville’s Christmas traditions were influenced by one of the most popular authors of all time, Charles Dickens, and his most beloved story, A Christmas Carol first published in England in 1843.
Read by Todd Ethridge. Length: 7:26 mins.
Written by Jack Neely, this short podcast looks back on how national and local events influenced the celebration of Thanksgiving in Knoxville, connecting seemingly disparate events such as the Siege of Knoxville during the Civil War, prohibitionist Carrie Nation’s visit in 1906, and later, even UT football.
Read by Todd Ethridge. Length: 6:22 mins.
Originally written by Jack Neely for the Knoxville Mercury, this short story focuses on the ghostly happenings at an old double-house, actually two small antebellum houses linked by a vestibule, at 309 East Cumberland Avenue, on the eastern fringe of downtown. The house was torn down at the onset of Urban Renewal in 1959, but part of its story remains.
Read by Rebecca Longmire. Length: 8:39 mins.
The pilot episode, The Printer’s Devil, written and narrated by Jack Neely, tells the story of Adolph Ochs, a kid who was scared of a graveyard while he learned the ropes of of newspaper publishing here in Knoxville as a Printer’s Devil. The lad went on to become the founder of a major American institution, a cultural leader who changed a whole profession, established a landmark, and introduced a new way of celebrating a holiday. The story connects Knoxville in post-Civil War Tennessee to booming, electric New York in the 20th century. An extended written account of this story can be found on our Stories page. Length: 18.38 mins.
Special thanks to the Aslan Foundation for programmatic support.