My husband and I went to Knoxville yesterday for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. Because of the rock slide on I-40, we went by way of highway 25 into Hot Springs and then over into Tennesse to Newport where we picked up I-40 into Knoxville. It’s a longer trip, but beautiful and really ineresting, at least to me. When I was a kid, back before I-40 opened, this was the way my family traveled to visit our grandmother and great aunt so it brought back a few memories. Also, when we crossed over the border into Tennessee, there’s an interesting little saloon there. Though most people wouldn’t pay much attention to this small building, the fact that it’s in the Paint Rock area and on the border of North Carolina and Tennesse thrilled me.

Why? Because my sister and I are writing a book about our great aunt’s life growing up in Hot Springs back in the late 19th century. Her father, or Papa as she called him, was the constable of Hot Springs and he also built houses and worked as a blacksmith on the side. One of the chapters in the book deals with a story we heard many times growing up, both from our own father and from our aunt about her going on a trip to the Paint Rock area with Papa who had some business with a saloon owner.

Christy and I have been up to the Hot Springs area several times. The last time we went, we knew we we going to include that story in the book so we looked for Paint Rock, hoping to find some information about the saloon or at least get an idea of the general layout of the town. What we found was that there isn’t actually a town called Paint Rock. There is a Paint Rock, or Painted Rock as some people call it, which is interesting in its own right but…no town.

Yesterday, when my husband pointed out the Rock House Saloon which sits right on the border, very close to the Paint Rock, I immediately began wondering if that was the saloon. It’s an old building made of river rock and it looks like it could’ve been built way back in the 1890’s when the story took place. So I’m going to put on my researcher’s hat and see what I can find out about the Rock House Saloon. Oh, and the next time we go home for the holidays, which should be in a couple of weeks, I’m going to stop there and if they’re open, talk to them about the building. Maybe someone can confirm my suspicions or at least give me more information about the place. And hopefully, I’ll remember to take my camera with me!

Hope everybody had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!

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