All they have to do is dream

Originally — we’re talking 1856 here — it was Coal Creek, after the stream that runs through the town. You might even remember the Coal Creek War, which kicked off in 1891 when owners of area coal mines got the idea of replacing their paid labor, which might at any moment unionize, with convicts leased from Tennessee prisons. The conflict lasted over a year; the memories persisted a bit longer, and in 1936 the town was renamed Lake City, there being a new lake not too far up the road, thanks to the TVA’s Norris Dam.

Now comes the possibility of a third name, this one courtesy of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant:

Seriously. Lake City wants to be Rocky Top:

[I]n Lake City, supporters hope a name change would have them tuning in newfound prosperity.

Development plans include a Disney-style interactive, 3-D animated theater; a Branson, Mo.-style live music venue; an indoor-outdoor waterpark and a 500-seat paddleboat restaurant on an as yet-to-be-constructed artificial lake, according to Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel.

Of course, it’s not just for the bling:

At city hall Thursday night, a standing-room-only crowd broke into loud applause after the council took the first step toward making the change, voting to ask the state legislature for authorization. State Rep. John Ragan was at the meeting and said he thought it would pass easily in Nashville.

One of those in attendance was Gordon Cox, a long-time Lake City resident whose grandfather served several terms as mayor. Cox said the city has lost so many businesses in recent years that it is in danger of becoming unincorporated and losing its police force.

“Only good can happen from this name change,” he said.

The Bryants, who supposedly wrote “Rocky Top” in ten minutes, weren’t available for comment, having long since passed on; however, BMI, I’m pretty sure, wouldn’t have any complaint.







1 comment

  1. LCB »

    11 November 2013 · 8:33 am

    Got to meet the Bryants at their motel in Gatlinburg years ago. The motel is still there (The Rocky Top). Somewhere we have Boudleaux’s autograph. We had no idea who he was…until we asked the clerk at the counter who owned the Rolls Royce in the parking lot. He pointed at Boudleaux, who was sitting in the lobby, and told us who he was. He was a very, very nice man. My in-laws still stay there when they go to Gatlinburg even though the place is showing its age. It’s still nice…just not fancy compared to what’s there now. I’m not sure, but I think the family still owns it…

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