Winchester: More by the lakeshore

Winchester recently completed an extensive renovation of its downtown area.
Winchester recently completed an extensive renovation of its downtown area.

This city of nearly 9,000 by Tims Ford Lake is bathed in history but mixes it with progress, as evidenced by the recent completion of the Winchester Downtown Facade Renovation which includes the addition of two clothing boutiques, a dance studio, a Christian gift store and a furniture and decor store.

One of Winchester's landmarks is the Oldham Theater, a renovated old movie house showing new films in a classic atmosphere.

Interesting architecture in the city and the varied natural beauty surrounding it make Winchester an alluring place, highlighted by Tims Ford Lake and the Elk River and an assortment of recreational activities. Among those, on a peninsula jutting into the lake, is one of the Bear Trace golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus' company.

The town is named for James Winchester (1752-1826), who was a U.S. Army captain by the end of the Revolutionary War and a brigadier general from Tennessee in the War of 1812. He was the first Speaker of the Senate in the Tennessee Legislature.

photo The Oldham Theater is a Winchester landmark showing new-release movies in a renewed classic atmosphere.

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*FAST FACTSPopulation: 8,530Location: Just off Interstate 24, about an hour’s drive from ChattanoogaDate founded: Nov. 22, 1809Famous residents: Davy Crockett, who moved his first wife, Polly, and three children to the Beans Creek area in 1811; Sir John Templeton, who became president of Phi Beta Kappa at Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar and who established the Templeton Growth Fund for investors and the Templeton Prize for spiritual research and discovery, the largest annual award to an individual; and beloved entertainer Dinah Shore. All three have area roads named for them. And Phillip Fulmer went from Winchester to play and coach at the University of Tennessee, winning a national championship and entering the College Football Hall of Fame.*Source: Suburbanstats.org; Franklin County Chamber of Commerce

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DINING VARIETYJohn T’s BBQ opened in the spring of 2016 with much more than barbecue among its varied “down-home” food specialties, and an atmosphere of historic collectibles in a historic building.San Miguel’s Coffee Company offers charming antiquity with its gourmet coffee and cuisine.For an assortment of tastes, there’s also Reggie’s Fish-N-Chicken, Los Alamos and Oasis on South College Street, Evergreen Chinese Super Buffet and Raphael’s Pizzaria & Restaurant on Decherd Boulevard, Camino Real Mexican Restaurant on Dinah Shore Boulevard and JD’s Country Buffet on David Crockett Highway.* John T’s BBQ: 115 First Ave. NE; 931-967-9600* San Miguel’s Coffee Company: 18 S Jefferson St.; 931-967-9197* Reggie’s Fish-N-Chicken: 11 S. College St.; 931-967-8809* Los Alamos: 586 S. College St.; 931-967-7007* Oasis: 708 S. College St.; 931-962-4411* Evergreen Chinese Super Buffet: 2625 Decherd Blvd.; 931-967-0988* Raphael’s Pizzaria & Restaurant: 2659 Decherd Blvd.; 931-962-4997* Camino Real Mexican Restaurant: 1106 Dinah Shore Blvd.; 931-968-9930* JD’s Country Buffet: 626 David Crockett Hwy.; 931-967-9952Source: City of Winchester website

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*ANNUAL ACTIVITIESThe High on the Hog Festival leading into the third weekend in April includes a Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned competition, a Family Attractions Carnival and Midway, a “world-class” horseshoe contest, a motorcycle run and a free concert in Winchester City Park.The three-day International Dogwood Festival the first weekend in May branches out with a car show, a tractor show, a dog show, kids’ activities, live music and a lot of food and merchandise for visitors.Thunder over the Lake has become a sparkling Fourth of July tradition with great views of the “fireworks extravaganza” from Winchester City Park and from boats on Tims Ford Lake.The first weekend in November brings the Merchants Christmas Open House with inviting pre-holiday window displays and bargains from the downtown stores.

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THINGS TO SEEThe transformed downtown combines tradition with modernized looks and things to try or buy, including a dance studio, clothes boutiques, a furniture and decor store and a Christian gift shop.Harvey’s Garden, about four blocks from downtown, is a gorgeous place free to the public and open every day. It fulfills a vision of the late Harvey Templeton, and it keeps growing.The Old Jail Museum, Old Winchester Cemetery and Confederate Memorial Cemetery all offer interesting looks at the area’s history. So does Falls Mill, built in 1873 on Factory Creek as a cotton and woolen factory and still used as a mill-grinding facility with one of the nation’s largest operating water wheels. The mill and its museum are open year-round.

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