Tag Archives: TN

Vintage Shopping – East Tennessee

I took a day last week to revisit an old shopping haunt, Kingsport,Tennessee.  Kingsport is like a lot of small towns across America, with businesses moving out of the downtown areas and onto the side of highways leading in and out of town.  Many of the downtown buildings now house antique malls, so that it is easy to spend an entire day wandering through lots of great old stuff.

Unfortunately, the one store that has a large inventory of vintage clothing was closed the day I visited, darn it!  Still, there was more than enough to keep me amused.  And on the way home I made a stop in Jonesborough, Tennessee, which is the oldest town  in TN.  They have a nice antique mall there as well, with a good selection of vintage clothing.

This is in the Jonesborough store, looking down on a booth of vintage clothing.  Sometimes it is worth going into these old places just to see the great old architectural features.

When I spotted this hat rack I got excited, but then noticed that it was dated 1991!

They had this super Pendleton mannequin, , dress and odd tie belt included.

I tried really hard, but just could not get a photo that did these lovely wedge sandals justice.

It is impossible to get a good photo of a halter dress with a full skirt that is just hanging, but check out the beautiful detailing on it:

You can tell that the ribbon is woven though the fabric, right?

I see this print all the time, and it always makes me smile.  I had this, and a few others in the same series, on my walls as a little girl.  My great-aunt had ordered them from an ad in a magazine.  I believe it was from Scott bathroom tissue.

Debbie Reynolds Dress Designer Kit Colorforms.  I loved Colorforms.

Before there was Project Runway, there was the Betsy McCall Fashion Designer set.

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Mattie’s cheerleading dress.  It’s made of wool flannel and lined in heavy satin and weighs a ton.  I can’t imagine jumping around wearing it.  At some point someone thought it would be fun to add a ripped fringe.  Just weird.

And what about this little early-mid 1960s cutie?  It has a function.  Can you guess what it is?

More and more, I’m seeing antique malls with booths that are selling new things that are “antiquey”.  The hard part is that sometimes these booths have a smattering of old stuff, and so one is forced to browse it anyway.  I know it is hard to make a living selling antiques and vintage items  these days, but I really hate when booths are allowed to sell any new thing.  Just my opinion.







Filed under Shopping

The Tennesee Aviation Museum


A few weeks ago I went with Tim to that most tacky of American places, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.   It’s a quick getaway from our home, and despite the presence of a sinking Titanic and Dollywood, and way too many cheap outlets and souvenir shops, the place has a few things going for it.  There are several great antique malls in nearby Sevierville, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just down the road.  For the past several years Tim has wanted to visit the Tennessee Aviation Museum, and I’d always been grateful (having already spent quite a bit  of my life looking at antiquated aircraft) that we were in too big a hurry to actually stop.

This trip though, he was determined to make that visit, and I’m not too proud to admit that I was wrong to resist.  Yes, there was a hanger full of old planes and plane parts, but there was also a wonderful exhibition hall with all kinds of historic artifacts, including of course, clothing.  It was all very interesting, as there was a whole section devoted just to World War II, but it was not, strictly speaking, a military museum.  There were exhibits about early mail planes, and flying preachers and women pilots.  All in all, it was time well spent.  It just goes to show that fashion history can be found in the oddest places!

The top photo is a flight suit of an early mail pilot.  Do you think he looks like Lindburgh?

There were lots of uniforms, as might be expected, and I liked that included were several uniforms from the Women’s Air Corps and Women Air Force Service Pilots.

I  was happy to see another example of a silk escape map.

Probably the world’s most perfect shorts.  These are Korea era Air Force exercise shorts.  Can’t someone reproduce these?

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Filed under Museums

Made in the USA – L.C. King Manufacturing Company, Makers of Pointer Brand

This is the L.C. King Manufacturing Company  in Bristol, Tennessee.  It was opened in 1913 as a maker of jeans and overalls.  That’s not so unusual, because at one time there were dozens of small jeans factories scattered across the South.  What makes L.C. King so unusual is they are still in operation today.

I had no idea there was still a jeans company still making jeans in the US, especially not one a short drive away.  But thanks to The American List located at A Continuous Lean, I found out about the company, and proceeded to invite myself over for a look around.

What an experience!  Though I write about clothing history, and live deep in textile country, I had never been in a clothing manufacturing plant.  I was amazed by so much, especially by the mix of the old and new, by tradition and computer-age technology.

The photo above shows the original building, built in 1913 by Landon Clayton King.  The factory was later enlarged to the size they have today.

I was met by the plant manager, Marinda, who took me around and showed me the operation.  She explained not only the process of making the products, but also told me about the company.

Things like, why the company’s brand name, Pointer, comes from a dog.  Well, Mr. King loved his bird dogs, especially Carolina Jack, who became the model for the company’s logo and advertising posters.  The old sign above hangs in the factory.  And you still get Carolina Bill’s likeness on every pointer product.

And this is Jack – Jack King, that is, the owner and fourth generation King to run Pointer Brands. He was working, filling orders.  One thing I learned, everyone works hard in a clothing manufacturing plant.

This is the original office of the company in the oldest part of the building..  Today, this is the pattern making room, a process Ill show in tomorrow’s post.   You can barely see LC King on the wall on the far wall.

Above the pattern room is the cutting room.  It runs for most of the depth of the original building.  The denim is stretched out on the long tables in an many as 42 layers.

And here is a view of one of the sewing rooms.  There is a room for dungarees and overalls, and another room for jackets.

In tomorrow’s post I’ll show a bit of the process of cutting and sewing the garments.  In the meantime, you should check out the Pointer Brand website.  It’s incredible to see a site where almost everything is made in the US.  The only imported product is one ball cap.  Also the denim itself is made in South Carolina, with the exception of the Fisher Stripe.  Unfortunately, they could no longer source it in the US, and so it has to be imported.

Here’s another look at the handsome Carolina Bill.



Filed under Made in the USA, Road Trip, Textiles

Battleground Overlook, Circa 1922

Today has been such a perfect summer day that it reminded me of this photo I’ve been meaning to post.  Time: 1920s.  Place: Lookout Mountain: Tennessee or Georgia.  I can never remember where that battle took place.  Anyway, it overlooks the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and judging by the number of vintage photos one finds taken around this particular cannon, it must have been a popular spot.

I imagine this family was on a summer Sunday afternoon outing.  I love outing photos, and search them out.  It always amazes me to see how dressed they all are.  Today, they would probably be the object of many stares and not a few giggles.  But how special they look, and it must have punctuated the specialness of the trip.  In today’s go as you please atmosphere, it’s refreshing to see people who took pains to look their best when going out in public, even it that meant the side of a mountain.


Posted by Shay:

Georgia (it’s confusing because it is right on the border, looking down at Chattanooga, Tennessee), sight of “the battle above the clouds” during the Chattanooga campaign of 1863.

Monday, July 6th 2009 @ 6:18 PM

Posted by Shay:

“SITE” not sight. (sigh)

Monday, July 6th 2009 @ 6:18 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Thanks, Shay. I remember passing the state line sign, but wasn’t sure where the battleground fit into the picture. I didn’t realize that there is an actual town up there!

Tuesday, July 7th 2009 @ 6:56 PM


Filed under Proper Clothing, Vintage Photographs

Roadtrip: Chattanooga, TN

I just returned home from a little trip I took with my sister.  We went to Chattanooga, TN, and then ended up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama.  This was a general all-purpose vintage shopping trip, but we managed to throw in a bit of scenic splendor.  This is a view of “Lover’s Leap” at Rock City.  Rock City is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the country, opening in 1932.  It has a very interesting history that you might want to read about on their website.

We didn’t go in, because we had too many other things to do, but we did take the ride up Lookout Mountain for old time’s sake.  Our parents had taken us there around 1966 or 67.  My sister was pretty young, so she only remembers a little about the trip, but I was 11 or 12, and to me it is one of the highlights of my childhood.

The birdhouse symbolizes the 100s of barn roofs around the South and MidWest that were painted to advertise Rock City.  Some of them still exist.  And below is the original ticket house, constructed in 1930,  And yes, that is a rare sighting of me!

The Unclaimed Baggage Center is an outfit in Alabama that buys all the lost bags and their contents from the airlines after 6 months goes by and the owners cannot be located.  It was pretty amazing some of the stuff they had for sale.  There was everything from a 2008 Dior gown (Originally $5670, they had it for $250!) to bottles of partially used shampoo.  I actually found a pair of great Kedettes, circa 1966.  They looked to be practically unworn.

If this had been our only hope at shopping, I’d have been pretty disappointed.  I spent a grand total of $10.71 there.  But the town also had quite a few nice antique stores and we managed to pick up the slack!  And we stopped at every antique and shop we could on the way home.  My favorite place?  Sweetwater, Tennessee.

I’d been to Sweetwater before, so I knew how great it is.  There are three antique malls, and several more smaller stores.  Here is a shot of one:

And on the top floor of that building is this wonderful room:

I could just picture that fab space converted into a modern home.  Loft living in the little town!  And in closing, I did manage to make a new friend…


Filed under Road Trip, Shopping

Girl Friends

I spent the afternoon yesterday with one of my very best friends, and it reminded me of a group of photos I recently found.   The girls above were students at Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee in the early 1920s.  There was an entire photo album, but the seller had split the pages apart, keeping some of them for herself.  What the pictures show is a tight-knit group of young women, not just getting an education, but having the time of their lives.  They hiked, swam, went to parties, flirted, played tennis, and just hung out together.  All the photos are labeled, and a group of friends emerges: Ruth, Gert, Mae and Eva.

According to the captions, the girls were taking a “hike around the Loop.”  I’m not familiar with Maryville, but it seems as though the Loop is still there, a path of just over a mile.  The girls happened upon a big plie of sawdust that was just begging to be climbed, and so you can guess what happened next:

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Filed under Camping and Hiking, Sportswear, Vintage Photographs