Today is Sunday, August 20, 2017

The ABCs of Lebanon

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C is for Cedars of Lebanon State Park: About 8 miles south of town, awaits a splendid forest with miles of hiking trails and an abundance of flora and fauna. The main lodge, erected in the late 1930s, proves to be an architectural delight, while the campsites and cabins beckon those who enjoy getting close to nature. 

D is for Don Fox Community Park: This family-friendly park has been a major hit since Day One with its playground, mile-long asphalt walking-biking track, toddlers’ pool, sandy volleyball courts and picnic pavilions.  

E is for Edwards Feeds: One block north and one block west of the Square, the Edwards family business peddles practically everything a farmer needs. An agricultural institution since 1939, it reminds urbanites that most of us have our roots in the country while it services those hard-working men and women who keep America fed.     

F is for Fiddler’s Grove: This historic village, located at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center, boasts more than 50 original and replicated buildings from turn-of-the-century days. Stroll back into Wilson County of yesteryear. It’s guaranteed to tug at the nostalgia string for those who lived in “the good old days.”

G is for General Hatton’s statue: The most famous soldier in Lebanon history, Gen. Robert H. Hatton, gave his life in the Civil War. This memorial to the general and other native sons who sacrificed themselves in the War Between the States has stood in the center of the square for 99 years. 

H is for Castle Heights Military Academy: Known by most as simply Heights, the school operated from 1902 until 1986 and gave thousands of cadets a valuable education from the books as well as from life. Its restored main building now provides Lebanon with a majestic city hall.

I is for an Ice Cream cone at Snow White: “Happy Days” meals and moments have been flowing strong at Snow White since 1957. Come inside and sit yourself down or just blink your lights if you want curb service. Burgers, fries, banana splits and soft-serve ice cream cones will keep you coming back. Great family memories are still being made here.

J is for “the Jimmy,” aka the Jimmy Floyd Family Center: This facility offers locals a marvelous place to exercise and keep in shape with everything from an indoor track to indoor and outdoor pools and exercise programs and classes for all ages. Pop in for the health of it.

K is for Country K-9 Rescue: This non-profit charity with an all-volunteer staff rescues abused, injured and homeless animals. It also accepts donations of blankets, dog and cat food, cat litter, dog houses and cleaning supplies. 

L is for Lebanon Woolen Mills: Established in 1908, the Lebanon Woolen Mills produced blankets in every decade of the 20th century and provided jobs for hundreds of Wilson Countians, some of whom worked here their entire careers. Renamed The Mill at Lebanon, it today serves as an event facility and home to boutiques, a pub, a café and an auto museum.

M is for the Mitchell House: This majestic stone mansion was erected in the early 1900s by David Mitchell, one of the co-founders of Castle Heights Military Academy. The house later served as the junior school of the academy and most recently was used as corporate offices by Cracker Barrel Restaurants.

N is for Neddy Jacobs Cabin: Early Lebanon settler Edward (Neddy) Jacobs was a legendary fiddler who fiddled around at his cabin at the Town Spring. A recreation of his cabin sits near the northwest corner of the Square. 

O is for Pratt’s Orchard: The third-generation orchard and garden center on Trousdale Ferry Pike features apple and peach orchards as well as strawberry and blackberry patches where can you pick your own fruit in season.

P is for Historic Pickett Chapel, the oldest brick building in Wilson County (1827). Used as Pickett Chapel Methodist Church for more than 150 years, after renovation the structure will house the Roy Bailey African American History Center and Museum.

Q is for Tom’s Blue Moon Bar-B-Que: It’s the new kid on the BBQ block, but the briskets have already earned an out-of-this-world reputation.

R is for Race track, meaning the Nashville Superspeedway. The motor racing complex seats 50,000 and brings NASCAR drivers and fans to the Glade for high speed entertainment. 

S is for Sunset Restaurant: For more than 40 years the Hodge family and their faithful waitresses have served the best home-cooked meals in town. From meats and veggies to salads and desserts, everything here is a taste bud pleaser.

T for Train, as in the Music City Star: For 4-½ years the commuter rail has delivered Wilson County workers to downtown Nashville, and the number of passengers steadily increases. All aboard!  

U is for University: Cumberland University possesses a rich history as a law school that dates back before the Civil War. Today it offers a liberal arts education while nurturing its largest enrollment ever.

V is for Leslie VanHook’s Old Mill Arts and Crafts Shop. This oft-overlooked cabin with a working water wheel on Highway 231 South is crammed with paintings of mules and three-dimensional carvings of trains, wagons, birds, cowboys and fish. Most remarkable may be this humble carpenter’s Folk Carvings of the Bible Museum with 22 separate displays in carved wood that recreate famous scenes from the Bible.

W is for Wilson County Fair: The greatest little fair in the world just gets bigger and better and is everything a county fair should be. This year it runs Aug. 12-20.

X is for eXit 238: This is the main exit to Lebanon, Tenn. When you turn off of Interstate 40 to this stretch of asphalt, you know you are just about home, a great place to be.

Y is for Yard Sale: The mile-long yard sale belongs to Watertown, Lebanon’s neighborly community to the southeast, but over the years the sale has stretched and stretched until it’s more like a 20- to 30-mile-long sale. The sale loosely begins on Highway 70 just off of Interstate 40 and extends nearly to Smithville along this historic Broadway of America. The 23rd annual spring Watertown Mile Long Yard Sale is April 9.

Z is for piZZA at Painturo’s: The locally owned restaurant on West Main serves magnifico everyday pizzas as well as lots of delicious Italian dishes. It offers large pizzas at half price on Tuesdays. Make mine pepperoni.    

Feature Writer Ken Beck may be contacted at

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