Saturday, June 14, 2008

South Knoxville Past

I was driving through South Knoxville last night, and as I passed all the sights and sounds that make up the south side of town, I got to thinking about the South Knoxville of my past. Places and things that had come and gone, and places that are still there and will probably always be there. Here is a rundown of what went through my head as I drove home last night...

...Man, how I miss Palace Lanes. For those of you who don't know, Palace Lanes, was a bowling alley in South Knoxville, close to the intersection of Chapman Hwy and Stone road. I remember growing up as a young child, I spent many Friday and Saturday nights there. My dad was a youth pastor, and of course one staple youth group activity is bowling. Now, I wasn't old enough to be in the youth group, but I went along, and I'm pretty sure that is the first place I ever got my hands on a bowling ball. I can still close my eyes and picture what it looked like on the inside and smell the burgers and fries cooking at the snack bar. One day, it closed down...I'm not sure why, and I was too young to read the paper and find out. Alas the building still remains...A reminder of an old haunt that I wish were still around. In it's place now is the "Southern Car Emporium" (I don't know so don't ask), but the sign still stands...a bowling ball and a bowling pin atop a beacon left for those like me who treasure remnants of some memories.

...Good 'Ole Tennessee Valley Skating Rink. Man was this place a South Knoxville Staple. Still open until just a couple years ago, this was another place that I frequented as a young 'en. It was close to the intersection of Chapman Hwy and John Sevier Hwy. A youth group activity must, again I went plenty when I was a kid with my dads youth group, I went for countless friends birthday parties and then of course I went plenty with my own youth group when I got older. Lock ins there were always fun! I can still remember the joy of ordering fries and air heads from the concession stand and of course, the carpeted walls. While this place sometimes hosted the scummy people of South Knox, it was still a fun clean place to go and skate. Now, it's torn down, and in it's place a new shopping center arises. Not even a building to look at and remember anymore here folks...just memories.

...Putt Putt Golf and Games. The sign still stands, as does the building on Chapman Hwy across from Burger King and Nova Information Systems. It closed down when I was still very young, but I do remember going for many birthday parties as a child. For the longest time, this building stood vacant, and I had dreams that someone would take it over and remodel it, and clean up the old putt putt course, but alas it never happened. Now, it's taken over by Nova, who has taken over most of the buildings around that stretch of Chapman Hwy...

...Speaking of Nova taking over buildings in that area, I remember 3 stores that once were places I went frequently...most of the time with my mom or grandma, but still pretty frequently. There was the Lowe's on the left side of Chapman Hwy...closed down, and eventually taken over by Nova...there was Kroger and K-Mart on the right side of Chapman Hwy, both now taken over by Nova. Kroger closed down when the store in Seymour was built, and K-Mart pretty much went the way of the Buffalo. I still remember the joy and excitement of going to that K-Mart for an Icee and some pop corn...Oh, the good 'ole days....

Well, reminiscing about old times pretty much took up the rest of my drive home last night, and while there are many other places I could list, these are just a couple that top my list. If you have lived here your whole life and are somewhat familiar with South Knoxville, I hope this has brought back some fond memories. If not, I hope it gives you a glimpse into the past of what used to be.

One of these days, I'm going to write about the old haunts in Pigeon Forge that have fallen by the wayside...Magic World anyone??

4 comments:

Rachel B said...

yes yes! a magic world blog! Do you remember birthday parties at the Burger King on Chapman Hiway? We used to think that slide was so awesome and big...

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Jim said...

Putt Putt was the best place ever! I managed it in the early 90's until the corporate office closed it down to sell it. The buyers backed out after I told them the area was slow and would take another 5-10 years to develop enough to make a profit. It was a blast while it lasted though, so many people walked out with smiles on their faces, made it all worthwhile = )

Jessica Brown said...

I lived in West Knoxville growing up, yet I found myself quite a bit in South Knoxville as a youth for TN Valley skating and Putt Putt golf. Good times! Sad that these and other South Knox iconic places have gone away.