United in preservation: Three groups work together to document Greenback’s history
When three organizations come together in a common
goal, the results can be quite satisfactory.
Just ask the members of Greenback’s historical community — the Greenback Scrapbook Committee, the Greenback Heritage Museum and the Greenback Historical Society. They are three distinct and separate entities although their activities, memberships and even the office-holders overlap.
Representatives of all three groups met Wednesday at the Greenback Heritage Museum to talk about their roles and the importance of preserving the history of the area that was once a part of Blount County. It now lies in Loudon County, which was established in 1870 from portions of Blount, Monroe and Roane counties. Greenback was first established when the railroad came through the area. Formerly known as Thompson’s Station, the post office was moved to the stop which came to be Greenback.
The focus of this meeting was a “new” addition to the museum’s holdings, a scrapbook with newspaper clippings from circa 1914 through the 1940s.The scrapbook itself is a repurposed jewelry counter sales book, a heavy book with thick pages. Some of the jewelry sales information is visible between the newspaper clippings.
Betty Carroll, president of the Greenback Heritage Museum and also chairman of the Greenback Scrapbook Committee, said, “This is out of Billy Jones’ family,” adding that the research is still being done to determine who the keeper of the scrapbook was.
Preliminary information is that the person was “Mrs. Ferguson,” the mother of Jones’ wife Louise Ferguson Jones. The scrapbook was donated by Joanne Heaton Greenway. Carroll said, “She was good friends with the Jones family. She helped the Jones sisters, Roberta and Fleda Mae Jones. She took them to the doctors and different things, and they gave her this scrapbook.”
When Greenway began downsizing, she decided the scrapbook would be best preserved at the Greenback Heritage Museum.
Carroll said one of the clipping that caught her eye was the report of a Baptist minister happening upon a moonshine still and reporting it to the sheriff. The sheriff said he’d take some men and check it out. With the minister guiding them to the site, the group eased closer to the still in the dark of night while the moonshiners were at work. Carroll said, “The sheriff asked, ‘Do you see anybody you know?’ and the preacher said, ‘Oh, wait a minute! That’s one of my deacons!’ and the sheriff said, ‘I don’t care who it is, they are going to be arrested!’”
Museum volunteer Sharron Hamilton, looking through the scrapbook with historian Roy Goddard and fellow volunteers Linda Bailey and Pat Lupardo, said, “It looks like it’s got a lot of interesting people in it. Lots of obituaries,” as well as weddings, engagements, historical tidbits, news items and whatever caught the eye of the person who compiled it. The clippings are from local newspapers surrounding the Greenback area and give glimpses of what was going on in Greenback, Lenoir City, Loudon, Knoxville and Maryville as well as state and national events.
The scrapbook, locked in a display case, will be available for public viewing soon.
This latest donation to the museum is a perfect addition to the other scrapbooks available for viewing, including the three volumes of “The Heritage of Greenback, Tennessee, An Historical Scrapbook,” compiled by the Greenback Scrapbook Committee. The Scrapbook Committee was the first of the three historical preservation groups that originated with the Greenback Community Club’s decision to form a committee to gather photographs, documents and newspaper clippings since 2004 and create scrapbooks for inclusion in the Greenback Public Library and the Greenback Heritage Museum.
Volume I covers 1800 to 1900 and was completed in 2006. Volume II followed about two years later and goes through 1929, and Volume III, published this year, continues with 1930-1960. Volume IV is now being compiled and will cover 1960-2000.
Putting the scrapbooks together was Roy Goddard’s idea. The Community Club had already started keeping a scrapbook of its events, but Carroll said Goddard then suggested going back as far as they could find information and compile all the historical information possible. He made the motion to make Carroll the chairperson, the motion was seconded and carried. Carroll said, That’s how the scrapbook got started, from the Greenback Community Club,” which has since dissolved.
The community came together so well in providing items for the scrapbooks that the idea was then proposed for a museum to tell the story of Greenback in both words and relics. Several people, including Carroll, approached Greenback Mayor Tom Peeler about the need for such a place. Both Peeler and his wife, Norma, were enthusiastic about the idea.
Carroll said, “Norma said, ‘I’ve always talked about a museum. I want one in Greenback.’ I said, ‘Now’s the time to start one because we’re doing a scrapbook and going back as far as we can.’
“The Lord was in all this, because it wasn’t long until Sammy King called the mayor,” Carroll said. “He owned this building. So that’s how the museum got started.”
Sandra Tipton, museum treasurer, said, “It was a little overwhelming at first. You’d come in here and there was this big, long building with nothing in it. Tom (Peeler) had his collection of eagles, and that’s all we had here in the beginning.” They spread the word about the museum through Greenback’s churches, businesses and the local newspapers, including The Daily Times, and donations began pouring in. “People would come in and be looking around and say, ‘Oh, I’ve got so-and-so up in my attic, and before we knew it, we had enough together for grand opening. Probably about seven months prior to the grand opening. We opened the doors on March 6, 2006, and the grand opening was March 18 and 19 in 2006.”
The community continues to make donations. As of today, 471 items have been logged in. Some of the largest collections were donated by the King, Best and Greenway families as well as from the Greenback Drug Store’s former owners, Ray and Marilyn Smith.
Volunteer Linda Bailey said, “We’ve had people come in here from New York, California and other places,” and Roy Goddard added, “We had some people come in here from Alaska.” They are interested in tracing their family roots, not only through the scrapbooks but through the cemetery listings complied by Robert McGinnis on Loudon and Blount County cemeteries, yearbooks from Greenback High School and other sources.
For more information
What: Greenback historical preservation
Who: Greenback Scrapbook Committee, Greenback Heritage Museum and Greenback Historical Society
Where: Greenback Heritage Museum, 6725 Morganton Road, Greenback; open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday except on holidays, other hours by appointment; free admission, donations accepted; for information, call 865-856-3467 or visit http://gbmuseum.webs.com
Greenback Historical Society: www.gbhistorical.webs.com