Here are a couple of photos with me, Sherri, and Haley at various Carter County/Elizabethton Car Club Cruise In events. We attend weekly if it is not raining or if we don't have to work. We enjoy hanging out with our hot rod enthusiast friends and participating in charitable events. I will be putting many photos up to the photo site today from many of the cruise ins we have attended this year.
We participated in the last E-Town car show this year handing out candy for the "Trunk or Treat" event. We love doing anything to help out kids. It was a great event, but due to the cold I believe the turn out wasn't as good as it could have been. Check out the photos of some of the Mustangs that we parked with.
I was lucky enough to attend the Microsoft TechEd 2011 conference in Atlanta last year. It was a great trip, even though I missed a great deal of the conference due to problems at work. I hope I get to attend this year without interference. What little bit I was able to attend was a great learning experience. I think this year will be even better considering the soon to be released new version of Windows, System Center, and other Microsoft products this year.
I was able to buy some Braves memorabilia and clothing, go to the Coke Museum, visit the Georgia Aquarium, and visit various and sundry areas of downtown Atlanta. We also stayed a couple of extra days to visit the Atlanta Perimeter Center. While at the conference we stayed at the Omni, which I do not recommend. The beds were like rocks, the rooms had a smell I cannot describe, and the rooms were very small. While at the perimeter we stayed at Hampton Inn, which was OK, but was not the best.
While there we ate at Ruth's Chris, Cheesecake Factory, Hooters in downtown Atlanta, Taco Macs which had the best cheesecake ever, some eateries in the Phillips Arena, and the restaurant at the Omni which was actually very good. Believe it or not Taco Macs was the best.
When I think of Hampton, the first thing that comes to mind is all of the scenic wonders it has to offer such as Grindstaff Caves, Laurel Fork Creek Falls, Watauga Lake, Willow Stream House, Butler Mansion, Browns Castle, Hampton Springs, the Appalachian Trail, and all the beauty and grandeur that each of these places bring to Hampton and the world. All of these places fill my mind with grand memories of my childhood and how I would visit these places every chance I was given. My childhood would not have been the same if these historic sites had been left out for some reason. All of my life I have often wondered how each one of these sites came to be. As years passed by, I began to collect photographs and artifacts from these places. I began to ask my parents, friends, family, and neighbors about how these great places and Hampton itself came to be. In order to answer these questions, we must go back to the 19th century when most of the first documentation about Hampton begins.
Hampton is a fairly small town nestled in a bowl shaped valley of the Appalachian Mountains. Until after the end of the War of 1812 this area was a rich, fertile, unsettled valley said to be teeming with Wildlife. There are conflicting stories of how the land came to be owned, but one common thread and fact is that the originating family name attributed to the ownership of the land is Simerly. One story states that the land was given to Henry Simerly as an end of commission bonus. He was not that interested in the land, or in settling here, so he traded the land for a horse and a gun. This is almost hard to believe considering the value of the land now, but back then land was plentiful and cheap.
The story of land from this point is uncertain until about the middle of the century when Elijah Simerly bought the land from a man named Badgett. The only other two families living in the area at this time were the Lacy's and the Campbell's. Elijah Simerly went on to design the layout of the streets and then named the town after his wife Mary whose maiden name was Hampton. His vision led to the settlement and growth of the area and made Hampton what it is today. Elijah was an investor in the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad and also served as President of the that very same railroad from 1867-1871.
The railroad was good to Elijah. The Simerly's had 13 children, so the need for a home was great. Around 1867 Simerly built a home that at the time was considered a mansion. The home is located at 107 Main Street and is perhaps the most important historic site Hampton offers. A photo is included of the old Simerly/Butler Mansion.
As I grew up here in the wonderful world of Hampton Tennessee, I was exposed to many things, good and bad, but in life you must take the good with the bad. One thing I can say is that my childhood memories are filled with many great and historical sites where I played as a boy. One of the most important and most memorable places was the old Willow stream House. It was located directly accross the road from one of the two churches I attended regularly in my youth, the Hampton Christian Church. Not only was it one of the places I attended to learn the ins and outs of religion and spirituality, it was also the place where all of my Boy Scout meetings were held. Yes, believe it or not, I was a Boy Scout and I was a damn good one at that. So needless to say, I spent alot of time there. This meant that every day I was there for Sunday School, Prayer Meeting, or a Boy Scout meeting, directly afterwards I went running to the pond accross the road to see the huge trout in the pond at the old Willow Stream house.
The house got its name from a huge Weeping Willow tree that grew out front and hung over the strem and pond. It cast a great shadow accross the pond which helped keep the cool water that flowed out of the ground from Hamtpon Springs even cooler. It was a great enviroment for those beautiful trout which came running at the site of a person in hope of catching a tasty morsel of Purina Trout food from anyone willing to feed it to them. All of us would stand in amazement as we watched these fish swim by, some seeming to be monster fish to us. Keep in mind we were kids, and all we wished for was the time the day would come that we would catch a fish just like one of those in the old pond.
As I stated earlier, the good comes with the bad. It seems the bad this time is the end of the old Willow Stream House. It is scheduled to be demolished in order for the Hampton Water Department to have land in case the need arises for the construction of a water treatment facility. The tree is gone too, fallen many years back. I have taken the time to stop by and take a few pictures and I will be adding more as time goes along. It would be easy for me to say I hate change, but I don't. It would also be easy for me to say that I think that this shouldn't happen, but I do not feel that way. The house does need to go. The flood in the 90's damaged the house to the point of no return. It would cost well more that it would be worth to attempt repairs. We also need this water treatment facility in order of our community to cope with the increase in population. So, change it is. Come back here to see the pictures, and maybe even video as I get it: