It may be a small town but its persistence paid off. Spring City was chosen to be the second Tennessee city to host the traveling exhibit “Bagels and Barbecues.” Sponsored by the Tennessee State Museum and several Jewish state organizations, it was first shown at the State Museum from December to February. Now on tour around the state it highlights the history of Jewish culture in Tennessee.

Spring City Mayor Mary Sue Garrison heard about the exhibit during a conference in Nashville and she put her city on a list of possible sites. Because a brand-new Spring City Museum and Depot was to open in May she felt that improved their chance of being chosen. She was right and the exhibit is open to the public for the month of July in Spring City.

Famous Tennessee Jews include Adolph Ochs, a man known for his influence in newspaper publishing, first at the Chattanooga Times and then the New York Times. There is Dinah Shore and recently UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl has added to some exciting moments in the sports world.

The exhibit covers the period from the 1840s to the present. Hours at the museum are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. July 27 is the closing day. On that day the Knoxville Jewish Alliance will be there handing out food samples and in traditional Hebrew dress.

Those traveling route 68 over the mountain to Spring City should be aware of how much local history can be found along the way. First, the Homesteads, next is Grassy Cove. As you go from Cumberland County to Rhea County you pass the small mountain community of Grandview on top of Grandview Mountain.

It began as Piney Falls when folks started moving there in the 1870s. The name change was made in 1884 because Grandview Normal Institute opened. Many children from the Crossville area attended this private school operated by the American Missionary Association based in New York City. Three to four hundred students , kindergarten to 12th grade, from around the nation studied here. It served until the 1950s when a new school opened. The old school was purchased by a group of residents and in 1988 it was presented to the town as a community center.

There is also Carole’s Country Store, co-owned by Cliff Hamby. He and his wife Carole are fans of picking country music and music is often heard coming from inside.

Once you enter the Spring City Museum and Depot you will see the traveling exhibit but also memorial walls relating to the city’s history. One wall is devoted to the tragedy of August 22, 1955 when just after 3 p.m. a local school bus was hit by a train killing eleven children. Several years ago a granite monument was installed near the site of the rail crossing where the accident happened but when the museum opened a newly painted caboose bearing a plaque commemorating that terrible tragedy was placed near the depot.

Out of that tragedy a group of mothers traveled to Nashville to lobby for the law that is still in effect today. It requires school bus drivers to stop and look at rail crossings.

In the pleasant trip from Crossville to Spring City you pass through many years of local history.