Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Utopia of Temperance

Utopia of Temperance

The Smarty and I went riding around last weekend, looking at houses in the country with huge tracts of land. This is not because we are selling our house and buying anything out in the country with huge tracts of land, but because for some reason we like to dream about having a house out in the country with huge tracts of land.

Usually, we go out and see how much land 34 acres really is and then laugh ourselves silly at the thought of actually taking care of so much land and then we drive around and just enjoy the scenery around here in east Tennessee. Then we say things like, "But Father...I don't want the land...I only siiiiing!!"

Bonus points for knowing what the heck I'm talking about.

Anyway, on our travels about the rurality of our region, we stumbled across Harriman, TN. We had, of course, heard of Harriman, but hadn't ever had reason to visit there. On this day, though, they were having a car show right on the main drag, and Dr. SmartyPants can't pass up an unexpected car show any more than I can pass up an unexpected art show.

Harriman's downtown is just as cute as a button, people. It has everything that makes small town Americana so sweet and quaint, including a half-restored theater and a couple of antique shops and a group of grannies line-dancing to "Boot Scootin' Boogie."

But the most interesting thing to me was the historical marker I spotted in the middle of the town. While there have been other towns established in Tennessee as utopias, this one takes the prize for being the most high-falutin'. Can you read it?

Harriman: Utopia of Temperance
Incorporated in 1891, this was to be an ideal industrial city, an object lesson for thrift, sobriety, superior intelligence and exalted moral character, where workers would be uncorrupted by Demon Rum. Named for Union General Walter Harriman, former governor of New Hampshire. Leader of movement was Union General Clinton B. Fisk, founder of Fisk University and Prohibition candidate for president in 1888.

Love it. It actually remained liquor free until 1993, although I'm not too sure how they did with the superior intelligence and exalted moral character thing. Such interesting places all around can read more about Harriman, TN here.