sabrina img 2

Sabrina Out On the Town – July/Aug

We had a great time the issue at the Patrons’ Party & Phoenix Ball.sabrina img 2Cumberland University Associate Vice President & Dean of Students, Stephanie Walker with her Phoenix Ball date, Troy Davissabrina img 1Sabrina and Dallus get ready to cover the Ball in Style!

So many pretty ladies & gents, we had to add pages

so we could share all the festivities with you.

Thanks for the invite Cumberland University . . .

Until next year,


 sabrina img 4sabrina img 3Kirsten Harris, Necole Bell, and friends were happy to dance the night away at the 31st Annual BallKirsten Harris, Necole Bell, and friends were happy to dance the night away at the 31st Annual Ball

sabrina edit imageCU students prep the silent auction before cocktail hour beginssabrina img 7For Linlee Allen the fun didn’t stop at hosting the Patrons’ Party, here Allen is all smiles with Phoenix Ball attendee, Monica Alsup

sabrina img 8Before taking to the dance floor, longtime CU supporters, Troy and Beth Putman and Kim and John Bryan take time out for a quick photosabrina img 9Phoenix Ball

Upcoming Events


10-17 CABA World Series Lebanon, TN

18 – Early voting begins.

19 – Historic Lebanon Tomorrow Tomato Fest www

26 – 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Run in Watertown to register go to www.watertownwarriorrun. com

29 – First full day of School for Lebanon Special School District

31 – First full day of school for Trousdale County Schools


1- First day of school for Wilson County Schools

3 – First full day of school for Smith County Schools

8 – First full day of school for Macon County Schools

7 – Election Day for County General and State Primaries. Wilson County

9 – Summerfest 2014 at Charlie Daniels Park Mt Juliet Call 415-1740 for more info

15-23 – Wilson County Fair James E Ward Fairgrounds

Go to the calendar tab for details on all events listed

Phoenix Ball

sabrina img 10Rick and Necole Bellsabrina img 11Shawn Smith and Lindsay Beardsabrina image 12Matt and Betsy Pierucki

 sabrina img 13Scott and Denise Jaspersabrina img 14Jack and Susannah Lowerysabrina img 15Jeremy and Genensis Goodman

 sabrina img16Mark Lee and Susan Leesabrina img 17Dr. Edward and Betty Thackstonsabrina img 18Spencer and Kristi Pope

 sabrina img 20Bernie and Mig Christiansabrina img 19Andrea Wilke and Sue Vanattasabrina img 21Camille Burdine and John Walden

 sabrina img 22Bob and Susan McDonaldsabrina img 23Howard and Menda Holmessabrina img 24Robert and Deborah Williams

 sabrina img 25Kirsten and Scott Harrissabrina img 26Sam and Debbie Holmsabrina img 27Nathan and Debbie Massey

 sabrina img 28Danny and Susan Bryansabrina img 29Geoff and Amber Hurdlesabrina img 30Mr. and Mrs. Chris Smith

 sabrina img 31John and Kim Bryansabrina img 32Just one of the beautiful and delicious spreads guests enjoyed at the Patrons’ Party

Patrons Party

 sabrina iimg 33 529x433Patrons’ Party guests enjoy sampling spirits from the Moonshine Barsabrina img 33Moonshine barsabrina img 34 440x422 440x422Rusty & Kathy Richardson at the photo booth provided by the Art Millsabrina img 35 600x493CU President Dr Harville Eaton, Super T and Dr. Eaton’s wife, Lois Eatonsabrina img 36 582x487Super T and the Tyrone Smith Revue belting out the hits and keeping PP guests entertained Rusty & Kathy Richardson at the photo booth provided by the Art Mill Patrons’ Party guests enjoy sampling spirits from the Moonshine Bar Patrons

 sabrina img 37Cumberland University President Dr. Harvill Eaton along with Cumberland University’s, Rusty Richardson, welcome guests to the Patrons’ Partysabrina img 38 600x467 600x467Patrons’ Party host, Linlee and Brandon, outside their home

 sabrina img 39 600x556 600x556CEO of First Freedom Bank, John Bradshaw & his wife, Karensabrina img 40 600x350 600x350Cumberland University development officer, Camille Burdine and Cumberland’s Executive Director of Development & Alumni Relations, Jonathan Hawkins celebrate a job well done with Patrons’ Party guest, John Walden

 sabrina img 41 600x519Rochelle Price and Delaine Smithsabrina img 42 600x425Patrons’ Party hostess, Linlee Allen is flanked by friends and PP guests Beth Scruggs and Susannah Lowery

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America, an Exceptional Nation

By Roy W Harris

If asked what one thing crosses all walks of life and is essential to the success of every endeavor, what one thing would you choose? Some might choose the great inventions of mankind such as the wheel, electricity, the computer etc. Others might choose philosophy and the compiled knowledge and wisdom of mankind gained over thousands of years. Still others might choose great strides gained through medical discovery and the remedy of certain diseases, which plagued mankind since his beginning. All of the above are important and all have one thing in common. That one thing? They are successful because they were built on strong foundations. Foundations are crucial in every walk of life.

The term American Exceptionalism is not new, but in recent days has become the topic of renewed discussion and debate. Ian Tyrrell in his blog defines American Exceptionalism as the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based upon democratic ideals and personal liberty. Is America really an exceptional nation? I believe she is. 

Why is America an exceptional nation? 

There are many reasons we could allude to, but all flow from one tremendously important one, America’s foundation. America’s solid foundation consists of three great pillars upon which America was conceived, constructed, and continues to this day.

The first pillar of America’s foundation is the Declaration of Independence, adopted in Congress on July 4, 1776.

Declaration of Independence  When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be selfevident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Our founding fathers believed that God endows all men equally with specific rights. The belief in these rights guided our founding fathers in the creation of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of United States, and the Bill of Rights. 

The Declaration of Independence spells out three God-given rights – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Another way of saying this is every man should be able to live, be free to live as he chooses, and pursue avenues that he believes will bring him happiness. America is exceptional because it offers every man and woman an opportunity to pursue his or her hopes and dreams. They are not limited because of who their parents are or where they were born.

The second great pillar of America’s foundation is the United States Constitution. 

Preamble to the Constitution

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, Establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

The third great pillar of America’s foundation is the Bill of Rights.

The ability to amend the Constitution is found in Article 5. It provides a means to change the document as the governed saw the need. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are affectionately known as the Bill of Rights. These 10 amendments provide safeguards for our individual freedoms, which make this nation different from any other on the face of the earth now and in all of recorded history.

Bill of Rights

First Amendment – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Second Amendment – A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Third Amendment – No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner; nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Fourth Amendment – The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fifth Amendment – No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

Sixth Amendment – In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed; which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Seventh Amendment – In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law.

Eighth Amendment – Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Ninth Amendment – The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

But one thing is for sure… Is America an exceptional nation? You bet she is. America may not be perfect, none of us are. One thing is for sure, we should be thankful to live in America where we are afforded life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed in writing.

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Never Lose Sight of Your Shore

By Amber Hurdle

Q Amber, I feel so overwhelmed. I don’t know how I have gotten in this place of running myself to death and not being able to tend to what I really know is important. How do I dig myself out of this hole?

-Layla, Gladeville, TN

So many people get caught up in the busyness of life and obligations they committed to until they suddenly realize they have little time for what matters most. In our constantly connected world, this is so easy to do! 

It reminds me of the time I was at Newport Beach in California and had a very scary moment. 

My dad took us to the beach frequently as we were growing up. I was a strong swimmer and I could handle riding even a ten-foot face wave with ease. I was a total beach bum and body boarding pro for a kid. I’m sure you have a level of experience that gives you a sense that you have a great capacity to take things on, as well.

Like any afternoon at the beach I was one of the furthest out in the ocean. I rode in wave after wave. I was RIPPIN’ it!

I felt so good about the perfect surf conditions of the day and getting nods and accolades from fellow surfers that I started focusing on being competitive and self important.

In doing so, I ignored my dad’s main beach rules:

1. Respect the ocean. It is powerful.

2. If you can’t see me, I can’t see you, and you need to get back in my line of sight.

You see, when you’re in the ocean the tide naturally causes you to drift. With each wave that crashes around or on you, you are taken further from what you are supposed to be focusing on.

And I drifted FAR from my focus.

In fact, I had drifted so far from where our towels and coolers were and I had gone so far out to prove that I could handle it, that when I got into trouble I was past the point of return.

A monster wave was swelling and my adrenaline was rushing.

I jumped on my board and started paddling, ready for the gnarliest ride of the day…until I realized that I miscalculated. I didn’t get into the pocket fast enough and instead of riding the wave in to shore, the wave crashed right on me…far from shore…far from any of the surfers…even farther from my dad.

It was one of the scariest moments of my young life. The wave pushed the nose of my board down, and since the board was connected to my ankle by a cable, my body was thrust downward with it. I felt sand on my face, so I knew I hit the bottom of the ocean, but it was pitch black, so as I floated back up I didn’t know which way was up or down.

Do you ever feel like you have gotten so far off track, that the waves of life are crashing all around you and you don’t know which way is up or down? Have you ever taken on so much that you miscalculate your next steps until you find your life is out of your control?

Fortunately, a strong surfer watched what happened to see me and dragged me out of the water.

Of course, I was an even spunkier redhead then than I am now and I acted like everything was OK. The reality was I could have drowned. Trust me, I downplayed it to my dad, too, when I knew he was already disappointed in me for my poor decisions!

Do you ever downplay just how much you’re drowning to the people you love most so they won’t expect you to change your behavior?

Do you ever negate the fact that the problem isn’t always the ocean of life drifting you away from your focus, but perhaps it’s that you keep saying, “yes” to things that aren’t in line with your life’s focus?

Are you afraid to say “no” because then you won’t look like the expert or feel important and needed?

Now, I’m not picking on you, Layla. I understand where you are coming from and have to take my own medicine regularly. What I want to point out to you and especially to women in general, is that it is easy to get busy trying to be everything to everybody and find personal value in doing so. Before you know it, you find yourself drowning because you veer so far away from what is most important and have taken on more than you can handle. Then the craziest thing is you are determined to prove that you can handle it!

What you need to remember is your own values. Your life’s “beach rules,” if you will.

So I ask you, Layla, what are the most important parts of your life? What values do you personally hold dear?

Now, what are you committed to that doesn’t align with your answers to those two questions?

Eliminate anything that doesn’t support your life’s priorities. That might mean telling someone, “no” or backing out of something you previously committed to. While I know you don’t want to let the people down that you have made commitments to, how much more are you letting the people down you love the most by continuing with the commitment? Eliminating what keeps you from your highest priorities might mean changing jobs or even careers.

I was lucky that day that someone found me struggling and then saved me from drowning; but I challenge you to save yourself before you drift too far away and have to depend on luck, too.

Find your shore and stay close to it. Be sure those who are most important to you are in clear focus, and be sure you are highly visible to them, as well.

When those things are in order, THEN you can finally enjoy the gnarliest ride of your life, too!

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The Snow White Drive In Diner 1960

Lebanon Landmark Here To Stay

By Tiffany Cunningham

Snow White Drive-In, a Lebanon tradition for over six decades, has been “the place to be” for many locals, for going on two generations. Many still fondly remember spending their teenage years cruising through the parking lot, while others reminisce about their parents taking them there for ice cream and milk shakes. Today, these same adults are taking the grandkids to Snow White and it looks like that tradition is here to stay.

The Snow White Drive In Diner 1960This old photo was taken of the Snow White Drive-In in 1960 when there were no indoor dining facilities. Patrons could place their order with a car hop or walk to a window. Few walked.

Earlier this year the iconic diner was in jeopardy as a gas station was in negotiations to purchase the land from the owner. However, just recently, Snow White owner, Billy Wyatt, received word that, for now, that isn’t going to happen. With much relief of the owners, staff and patrons this means business as usual and the signing of a new lease for Snow White.

Snow White was built in 1951, by Wesley and Myrtle Vantrease. Jerry Vantrease, their son, remembers that the first order his parent’s business ever received was when “I was running the curb service myself; the order was for four hamburgers, four orders of French fries and four Cokes. It was $2.12. They almost went nuts. They thought that was high.” After the Vantrease family, Lindell Poitevint, a retired Air Force Sargent known for cleanliness and running the joint with his military training in mind became the owner. After which Don Hall leased the restaurant in the 1970’s, then Glen Taylor, before local businessman Jimmy Reed purchased it in 1979. He owned the property for more than a quarter of century until late 2008. There were one or two more short term property owners in the mix until the latest owner, Greg Dugdale. He continues to lease Snow White to Billy Wyatt’s family. Between Ann Birdwell, Edie Oats and Billy, Snow White has been in his family almost 20 years.

Reed noted he didn’t change a thing when he purchased Snow White in ’79. “Ran it just like it was. It made money the first day. It still looks like the 1950s, and so many people have gone down there and dated, drove around. People would come in and act like they had known me their whole life. And the kids I served, who were once babies are now grown, married and bringing their own kids. Reed notes, “It was good to me. I worked hard, and I helped a lot of young kids with their first job.”

Snow White Drive InSnow White Drive In

Before she passed away, Ann Birdwell spoke fondly about her days at Snow White, considering many of the patrons to be family, Ann worked for Reed for many years before owning the restaurant herself and before selling it to her daughter, Edie. It was evident that the patrons loved Ann as much as she loved them, packing in the entire Drive-In and parking lot for her Celebration of Life party in 2013.

Keeping with the Drive-In’s 50’s theme nothing has changed with Wyatt’s ownership. Billy remarked, “We get people in everyday that had their first date here and they’ve got there grandkids with them now. It holds a lot of memories for a lot of people”. It was evident how many people care about the drive-in with the outpouring of support during the past few months but especially with the announcement they would not have to relocate. The Drive- In’s Facebook page received over 16,000 views and 600 likes with 147 comments. Billy posted, “Myself, my wife Kathy, our family and the Snow White family thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the support y’all showed during this crazy time we’ve been going through” The 50’s diner has held true to its family oriented roots and serves as a part of Lebanon history. It is also a source of notoriety for the community. Several movie scenes and commercials have been shot at Snow White. Wyatt joked, “If this old building had been torn down I would have to have it posted in the local obituaries”.

Currently, Snow White features cruise-ins where vintage cars are showcased on weekends through the summer. Billy says of the big announcement its back to business as usual. “Y’all come on down, we need to celebrate, I’m one happy camper”.

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TWELVE IDEAS FOR- Back to School

By Elizabeth Scruggs

As the new school year approaches,

here are 12 ideas to help get you off to a good start

Although I can’t wait for school to be out in May – I am equally as excited when pencils, crayons, and glue sticks begin to show up on store shelves again at the end of July. Similar to the beginning of the New Year in January, this “new start” comes with an endless array of multi-color pens and notebooks readily available in every store! For someone like me who still prefers pen and paper to a computer screen any day, it’s a veritable hey day out there!

Begin: Begin this year with routines in place. All children, (and most adults!) function better when they have routine.

Always: Always start each day with a good breakfast. My friend Mandy Pryor posted this a few years ago, and we love it: Muffins on Monday, Toast On Tuesday, Waffles on Wednesday, Thirsty (smoothie) on Thursday and Fruit on Friday. This works great, you don’t have to think about what’s for breakfast.

Countdown: A fun thing to start a week or two before the first day of school is a countdown. Check out a week’s worth of books and read one each night before the first day. Another fun countdown is to make a paper link chain and tear off a link a day until the start of school. Children always love any kind of countdown!

Keep: Keep the memories of your child’s school year with a first day of school and last day of school picture. There are many different ways to have fun with this. Take their photo by the same tree each year to watch how they each grow. Have them hold sign showing the grade they are starting that year. Have them make a serious photo, and then one with silly faces!

Teacher: Give your child’s teacher a teacher questionnaire. Ask them questions such as: What is your favorite restaurant? Favorite scent? Favorite store? Favorite color? You get the idea. This comes in handy when the holidays roll around and you want to honor your child’s teacher with a little thank you.

Organize: Organize a snack shelf in your pantry and/ or refrigerator. Have proportioned snacks such as goldfish, pretzels, grapes, and juice boxes, grouped together for easy reach when hungry kiddos get home.

Supplies: There are an abundance of school supplies at great prices in every store right now! Stock up on paper, pencils, glue and poster board so you will be project-ready when you learn that your diorama is due tomorrow.

Create: Create back to school traditions. One that I started with my girls the week before they started kindergarten is one we call “special days.” I spend the entire day with each of my children – one on one. They get to pick out whatever they want to do on their special day. We eat where they want, go where they want, and have a blast. The best part is we are spending quality one-onone time together! They look forward to it and start planning it at the beginning of summer.

Homework: Create a homework station where everything is on hand to complete homework. I have an old Pampered Chef tool caddy (you know you have one too) that I fill with pens and pencils, rulers and glue sticks, scissors, colored pencils and erasers. I keep it in the kitchen, and when we start homework we pull down the caddy and are ready to go.

Outfits: Now is the time to go through your kiddos’ closets and weed out anything you don’t need. Hang items together as outfits, so it’s easy for them to grab and go on school mornings.

Organize: Have a designated place for book bags, coats and school items. Organize this area every night so you’re ready to grab it all and go in the morning.

Lunches: I suffer in the school lunch department, but with the amazing ideas on Pinterest and Google, I have no excuse. Now is the time to create a lunch list so we won’t be scrambling the night before. If you have school lunch ideas that rock, please share on Wilson Living’s Facebook page with our readers!I need the help!

Just remember, every effort you make to prepare beforehand, will be rewarded with less stressful mornings when the school years is in full swing.Here’s to a successful year!

For more tips and hints, follow me on Facebook and Pinterest and at




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Cordell hull Bridge

Carthage heralds makeover of Cordell Hull Bridge


Cordell hull BridgeHigh above the Cumberland River in Carthage, Smith County historian Sue Maggart Petty and Mid-State Construction Company project manager Nick Davis stand on the Cordell Hull Bridge several weeks before the historic bridge was reopened to traffic.

It’s been more than six years since Sue Petty Maggart drove from Carthage’s Main Street across the Cordell Hull Bridge to where it runs smack dab into Highway 70 below a towering limestone bluff.

Cordell HullThis vintage photo captures part of the city of Carthage and the Cordell Hull Bridge sometime before 1975 Photo courtesy of Andy Reid III

She estimates that during her lifetime she has made some 30,000 crossings over the Cumberland River via the 88-year-old steel truss bridge, a trip she earnestly wants to take again. 

“I always loved the river. I loved the bridge. Debate was up: save it or destroy it,” said Maggart, forlorn that the structure has been shut to traffic since December 2007 when Tennessee Department of Transportation bridge inspectors discovered significant deterioration to the bridge’s steel truss, spans, and connections.

But her date to motor across her favorite bridge has come again.

The Mid-State Construction Company, based in Livingston,Tenn, has completed a 32-month long chore, the $9.5 million restoration of the grand old bridge. Among the details, workers removed and replaced the concrete bridge deck in all truss spans, replaced the bridge rails, performed structural steel repairs and bearing replacements and did concrete repairs on the bridge piers. The structural steel also was blast cleaned and repainted.

Over the decades, Petty, who has served as Smith County historian the past 24 years, was one of many who championed the bridge which features a 318-foot central Park Truss flanked on each side by Warren Trusses. Built by the Vincennes Steel Company of Vincennes, Ind., the structure, named in honor of Cordell Hull, Secretary of State under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, opened to traffic May 14, 1936.

Fifty-five years later, when the concrete Veteran’s Memorial Bridge opened July 27, 1991, about a mile upriver, the iconic steel dinosaur was marked for demolition. Thankfully, it dodged extinction.

“The first bridge was supposed to be torn down when the new one was finished, but Gov. [Ned Ray] McWherter wanted to keep it,” said David Bowman, Carthage Mayor from 1990 to 2010.

“It was a long way around,” he said, comparing the 2½ extra miles from downtown to Highway 70 using the new bridge, “and we needed two ways out of town in that direction. It’s a safety feature, it’s convenient, and it’s historical.”

Cordell Hull BridgeGeorge Emberton took his car out on the ice when the Cumberland River froze in late 1939 or early 1940, allowing Gordon Petty, right, to snap a photo. This image was taken by Petty’s brother Victor, who also captured the Cordell Hull Bridge in the background.

Bowman credits the late Pauline and Albert Gore, Al Gore Jr., historian Petty, former State Rep. Frank Buck, the Carthage and South Carthage city councils and the Smith County Historical Society for rescuing the bridge.Cordell Hull BridgePhoto by George Hornal, Tennessee Department of Transportation

“Miss Pauline Gore wanted it to stay, so she talked to Gov. McWherter, and Al Gore Jr. got bridge replacement funds,” he noted of work done before this millennium.

“Approximately 7,000 cars a day were using each bridge, so it’s pretty equal. If you go across the old bridge down Highway 70 to Lebanon, it saves you from going to Gordonsville and down the intestate. That saves time. Most people like going down the old road, and in the long run it’s faster, making it more convenient.”

While the fate of the old bridge was hanging in limbo for several years, Petty read an article by Carthage Courier editor Eddie West noting that the structure was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

“I thought if it was eligible, somebody should try. I thought it would be a small application but it was 40-something pages,” recalled Petty. “I started researching in the Courier and the county court minutes. My inspiration was Eddie’s article in the paper.”

Her quest paid off when the bridge was placed on the National Register on Nov. 20, 2009.

“I was very elated, I was very excited. I felt the work I had done was justified,” Petty said. “The bridge was closed about the time Wal-Mart opened, and downtown looked like you see it today. It was so important for people who live on the west side to be able to bring their children to school. The differ-ence is about five miles a day.” 

Convenience and nostalgia aside, TDOT puts safety first. 

“Every two years our inspectors have to inspect all bridges in Tennessee on public roads. The [Hull] bridge had deteriorated to a point where it drew our evaluation of that steel. We felt that it was unsafe for that bridge to carry vehicular traffic any longer, and so we decided to close the bridge to traffic,” said Wayne Seger, director of TDOT’s division of structures, about one of the last 50 truss bridges in the state open to traffic.

Gordonsville High School, Laken Winfree, Smith County Boy Scout Troop and Cub Scout Pack 367, presented the colors to open the ceremony. Photos by Jennifer Bush, Photojournalist for the Carthage Courier


The historic bridge began its lengthy rebirth in October 2011. Overseeing its gestation period and delivery was the Mid-State Construction Company.

“This could be one of the oldest bridges I’ve worked on,” said project manager Nick Davis, who has labored on about 50 bridges. “We’re a repair contractor. We travel across the state. This is kind of our niche.

“We had to first take the deck off and take the beams up. All the girders were replaced. It’s kind of like working in the bones of the structure before getting to the visual part,” he says. “We had to remove all the old rivets and connecting plates in some areas. These areas had to be cleaned and processed and new plates were installed. We had approximately 475 locations where that was done.

“The bridge was raised at the pier. After the deck was off, we had to jack up the bridge to replace bearings. It was jacked in six locations, from one to two inches to give them working room to get the old out and slide new bearings in.

“The biggest challenge was the structural steel repair. There are places where every plate was different. We liken this to remodeling a house where you don’t know what’s behind the walls until you get in there,” Davis said.

“It’s basically a brand new bridge on the Carthage side. About 70 percent of the bridge is original. The deck is new and all the substructure, diagonal beams and lacings are original. We’ll have brand new lighting.”

Among other obstacles, workers faced long days in the heat and cold and often dealt with 30 mile-per-hour winds. Of course, the men who fashioned the bridge in the mid-1930s faced similar hurdles beginning with the funding.

It was Hull who helped the city and county get the money through the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Works Progress Administration.

Once the state designed the bridge in 1934, the Vincennes Bridge Company began work on December 4 that year with 16 men on the job. Among other chores they drilled about 90 holes 70 feet deep into rock for the foundation.

By May 1935 they started erecting the trusses. The Courier reported the new Carthage Bridge “is going to be tall and handsome, and one of the great improvements that has come to Smith County in a very, very long time.”

During the project one man died after he was hit by a falling timber beam. A citizen shared his opinion in a letter to The Carthage Courier: “No, the bridge is not as large as the Brooklyn Bridge that has a center span of 1,595 feet, but the work is just as hazardous. Workers have to crawl over the steel work like squirrels hopping from limb to limb in the treetop. One man lost his life when a piece of timber fell several feet, striking him on the side, causing internal injuries.”

With this month’s rebirth of the Cordell Hull Bridge, there should be positive effects for the sister cities, Carthage (population 2,300) and South Carthage (1,300), separated by the Cumberland.Nevertheless, May 14, 1936, proved a day for jubilation when County Court Clerk Ed High became the first man to officially hike across the 1,412-foot-long structure as it opened for traffic to cars, trucks, tractors, beasts and barefoot boys and girls.

Local businessman Bill Markham opened his Markhams Department Store on the Carthage square in 1971 but locked the doors about five years ago when the traffic flow across the bridge came to a halt.

“It closed about everything,” he recalled. But Markham is optimistic there will be sunnier days ahead, thanks to the reborn bridge. “We’re planning on opening the store as soon as possible. We always had a good business there, and we expect it to return.

Cordell Hull BridgeFacts for this article were gleaned from “Smith County History” by Sue W. Maggart (1986) and “Tennessee’s Survey Report for Historic Highway Bridges,” prepared by Martha Carver, Historic Preservation Specialist Manager, Tennessee Department of Transportation (2008).

Cordell Hull Bridge by the numbers

Cost: 1936: $199,083   2014: $9.5 million

Time to build: 1936: 18 months

Restoration: 2014: 32 months

Length: 1,412 feet

Curb-to-curb width: 24 feet with bridge tapering to 60 feet wide at the south end

Height: Approximately 120 feet from water to top of the overhead truss

Amount of metal used in restoration: 400,000 pounds of rebar and more than 200,000 pounds of new structural steel for the new girders, stringers, and connecting plates

Paint used in restoration: Approximately 4,000 gallons (three coats)

First bridge

• Before the Cordell Hull Bridge spanned the Cumberland River at Carthage, local businessmen Wint Williams and Ed Myer formed the Williams-Myer Bridge Company in 1906 and began construction of a toll bridge. This bridge opened Feb. 11, 1908.

• Fees charged to cross the bridge were five cents for a pedestrian; 10 cents for a man on horseback; 15 cents for horse, buggy and rider; and 20 cents for a loaded wagon, team and driver. The first toll keeper was Jim Highers.

• In 1927 the county and state purchased the bridge and began to allow free passage. Citizens held a picnic on the Smith County courthouse lawn to celebrate. After the Cordell Hull Bridge opened, the last span of the old bridge was pulled down on May 26, 1936, as hundreds witnessed its last breath. Old-timers recollect the bridge was built of steel overhead, while the roadway was constructed of wooden planks and “rattled like thunder” whenever a vehicle drove across. 

cordell hullCordell Hull 

Cordell Hull Born in 1871 in a log cabin in Olympus, Tenn. (today part of Pickett County),
Cordell Hull served 11 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and part of one term as U.S. Senator. Appointed Secretary of State in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Hull served in that capacity for a record tenure of 11 years. A graduate of the Cumberland School of Law at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tenn., he resided in and practiced law in Carthage during the early decades of the 20th century. In 1945 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in helping organize the United Nations. He died in 1955 at the age of 83 and was buried in the vault of the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea in the Washington National Cathedral. The Cordell Hull Birthplace & Museum State Park is located near Byrdstown, Tenn. For details, go online to

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Tina Brady


By Becky Andrews

It’s been a busy year for Lebanon resident, Tina Brady. For starters, her son, Rush, is getting married and daughter Mia,will be moving to Chicago soon to begin her first year in college. Then there’s managing her home, that includes caring for a menagerie of pets, spending quality time with her husband of nearly 30 years, Dr. Stan Brady, the list goes on and on. Lets not forget the TV show either. Early in the year, Tina, along with six other powerful women living and working in Middle Tennessee, starred in the first season of TNT reality series Private Lives of “Nashville Wives”. Now after years of creating her own signature style, Tina decided to launch Music City Bling, a collection of custom jewelry and clothing she designs. Recently, Tina took time out of her hectic schedule to share details about “Private Lives” (Will there be a second season?!) and gives tips on how you can get your “Swanky Southern Style” on.

Tina BradyTina Brady

Wilson Living Magazine: What inspired you to start your own line of accessories?

Tina Brady: I have a certain signature style. So many people have commented on the jewelry and accessories that I personally wear so I thought there was a niche for my sort of “blingy” over the top kind of fashion!

WLM: How are your distributing the line? Retail shops, private parties?

TB: My line is distributed solely at this time through the internet, specifically through my online store,

WLM: How involved are you in the process?

TB: I’m totally involved in every step. I select all the jewelry and design the custom pieces myself. I name all of my pieces, write the descriptions, and I do a portion of the photography. I do have a fulfillment center that packages and ships all my orders. I love to blog about my style, fashion and jewelry and everything you see on my website, I have personally written. I can’t wait to share more with you soon.

WLM: What are your favorite pieces?

TB: My limited edition pieces. The bigger the better, my statement necklaces are a huge hit. Statement necklaces are shouting out loud once more. With just a short absence from the trend scene, a big bold necklace is a key piece to make your looks ‘larger than life’. They can be a well-planned accessory worn to an event to induce conversation. Mine sure do, and boy, it’s a lot of fun! I recently donated one of my favorite pieces, “Opening Night” to be auctioned off at Cumberland University’s Phoenix Ball. Several of my pieces were recently worn on stage at CMA fest!

WLM: You recently starred in TNT’s new reality series, “Private Lives of Nashville Wives” which has a huge following. What’s the status of a second season?

TB: I had a hoot with the cast and filming the show! Jenny is the first one that nicknamed me ‘The Queen of Bling’ it fit perfectly with my plan for my jewelry and accessories! Right now, there has been no official word from the network about Season 2 but no news is good news. We did hear that Australian television is going to run Season 1 again. We’re all hopeful and we’ll see what happens! I can say that we (the cast) are closer than ever and we’re doing a benefit for Agape Animal Rescue at the Hutton Hotel at the end of July!

WLM: Speaking of Private Lives, how did that happen?

TB: My family and I were vacationing at the Portofino Hotel in Orlando a few years ago and we happened to ‘be in the right place at the right time’… There were several casting agents at the hotel who happened to ‘notice’ me and my family. When they approached me, I was not interested but after thinking about it I decided to contact them when we got back home. One of the Executive Producers flew in for a weekend to hang with us. He loved my style, our home, our animals- He said that TNT would love for us to be part of their family… After that, game on! We had fun with the cameras – My moments were fun, not stressful at all! We filmed lots of blonde moments and had fun with the cameras riding and jumping my horses. After that, the network offered me a contract and we filmed Season 1.

WLM: How was the experience being on a reality TV?

TB: It was a blast. I loved being a part of the cast. It was an amazing experience and as a bonus, I had my own ‘show’ on WANT FM with my fabulous and fun friend, morning personality MJ Lucas. Each week we would have a live segment on the radio recapping the previous week. My favorite segment was having the twins, Ana and Betty on and having my buddy Delaine bring in a live piglet as a surprise. It was a hoot.

WLM: What is the most wonderful thing that’s happened as a result of starting your own line?

TB: Wow, I would have to say the wonderful support and interest in the jewelry that I designed and selected to be a part of my line. It’s so gratifying to know that there’s a whole wide world of ‘bling lovers’ out there!

WLM: You are going to be an empty nester soon with your youngest, Mia heading to college in Chicago and now Rush getting married. This is something that most of our readers can relate to. What›s your advice for parents who will soon face an empty nest?

TB: I wish I could tell you that I’m going to send her off with a smile but I fear there will be a lot of tears. My daughter is my best friend. I take comfort and consolation in knowing that Stan and I made a couple of really great people and that they have taken the completely natural steps toward independence and adulthood. What I would tell anyone else in my position is that this is also a beginning to a renewed relationship with my husband and I’m excited about the freedom that we’re going to have. Just remember that your children leaving home means that you did your job well. That’s what their supposed to do.

WLM: Where can we see more of your designs?

TB: I love to share my sparkle! Get your fab on with my Southern Swanky Bling! – you can read my latest blogs, see what I’m wearing, see my horses and get the latest scoop on the show and my bling.

Click on ‘Music City Bling’ to see my collections.

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