Step back in time to the turn of the 20th century just by taking a short drive up Monteagle Mountain to the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly grounds on Friday, July 18.
Six charming homes built in the late 1800s to early 1900s will be open to guests for the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly Women's Association's annual cottage tour. In addition to the tour, a bazaar of handcrafts will be held, and noted floral designer Ralph Null will give a demonstration at 1 p.m. CDT. All the designs he creates will be auctioned to benefit the women's auxiliary.
General manager Scott Parrish says the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly was founded in 1882 as part of the Chautauqua movement. Chautauqua combined the training of Sunday school teachers with a broader range of educational and cultural activities. While many Chautauqua groups were started by individual church denominations, Parrish says Monteagle Assembly was ecumenical from its beginning. Summer sessions are open to folks of any denomination. Parrish likens it to an adult-education summer vacation with college-level courses. There is also programming for children ages 3-18, he says.
More than 130 years later, adults and children still gather at the assembly grounds for eight weeks of education, cultural enrichment and recreation -- all with "a strong religious overtone," he says.
IF YOU GO
■ What: Cottage tour and bazaar.
■ When: Friday, July 18 -- bazaar, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; tours, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (all times Central).
■ Where: Monteagle Sunday School Assembly, 1 Assembly Ave., Monteagle, Tenn.
■ Admission: $15 if purchased today with credit card, $20 event day.
■ Phone: 931-924-2286.
■ Website: mssa1882.net (click on Program/Events, then 2014 Cottage Tour).
COTTAGES ON TOUR
■ West Side Story, home of Anne Byrn Roberts
■ Hallelujah, home of Frannie and Larry Smith
■ Point of View, home of Brant and Susie Lipscomb
■ Orr Cottage, home of Blythe and Wilson Orr Jr.
■ Leap of Faith, home of Margaret and Steve Rixham
■ MoJo, home of Ellen Moore
■ Fairy houses on Hummingbird Hill, made by children of all ages
The tour cottages are all within the assembly grounds. They are within walking distance of each other, but organizers will have golf carts available to shuttle visitors from one cottage to the next.
"We have 110 acres where it is residential, with 161 cottages. Most of them are Victorian or Queen Anne in design,"says Parrish. "The cottages were built to support housing for people participating in the summer program. Many are now residences of people who live on the mountain." Parrish adds that the assembly operates a cottage rental program, through which 90 cottages are available year-round.
Proceeds of Friday's tour of homes and bazaar help fund upkeep and maintenance of the Women's Association's building. A portion is also donated to local charities, Parrish says.
The Women's Association will sell box lunches at Winfield Porch for $15. Reservations for a box lunch must be called in today. The Edgeworth Inn will serve a "boarding house meal" on Friday for $14.95 per person. Contact the inn today, July 17, for reservations, 931-924-4000.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...