With a nagging interest in Andrew Johnson because he shares my birthday, I couldn't resist the opportunity to learn firsthand about this most unusual of presidents when I realized we'd be near his adopted home town of Greeneville, TN. The town's Andrew Johnson National Historical Site, administered by the National Park Service, tells the story of our 17th president.
Born in poverty in Raleigh, NC, Johnson was apprenticed to a tailor at age nine, later leaving the apprenticeship to run away with his brother. According to legend, 17-year-old Andrew Johnson stopped to rest at a spring near the village of Greeneville one day in 1826. When he went into the village to buy supplies, locals learned that Andrew was a tailor and asked him to settle in Greeneville because the town tailor was retiring. Johnson decided to give the town a try.
|Early photo of tailor shop|
This reprieve was important to future presidents as well as to Johnson since it disrupted the efforts of Congress to gain unilateral control over federal policy. Moreover, Johnson's acquittal pre-empted future Congresses from using the threat of impeachment as a club to force the president into submission when political differences divide the two branches.
The Andrew Johnson National Cemetery sits atop what was formerly known as "Signal Hill." Johnson had requested to be buried on this hill overlooking the Tennessee mountains. Three years after his burial, his family erected a tall obelisk topped by an eagle. Thirty years later, at the request of his descendents, what had been a family plot was designated a national cemetery, which continues to be used for military burials.
|Grave site of President Andrew Johnson|
With our new historical lore, we headed west toward Bowling Green, where we have an appointment tomorrow. As Ken drove, I consulted the ever faithful Clue Tracker app for another few letterboxes along our route. One in Crossville, TN, grabbed my attention: World's Largest Treehouse. That certainly demanded investigation, and the location was just a mile or so off our path.
|The Minister's Tree House|
This remarkable structure was built by Horace Burgess, who has said that God told him to build a tree house and that God would never let him run out of supplies. Sure enough, as word spread of his project, donated supplies began pouring in, much of it scrap from sheds or barns. Burgess, who had himself ordained after his tree house vision, has invested $12,000 of his own funds, mostly in the quarter million plus nails used to hold the structure together.
|The House of Burgess|
|Combination chapel and basketball court (Rev. Burgess believes in physical fitness.)|
|Where's Kilroy? He must be here somewhere.|
|We saw Jesus in the garden. Do you?|
From serious to frivolous, it was a very interesting day that ended with yet another visit to Bowling Green, KY—our fourth in the last year. After we complete our appointment tomorrow, our project here should be done.
- Weather: sunny to overcast, 68° to 88°
- Letterboxes found: 8
- States: 2 (TN, KY)
- Scraps of board on tree house: 95,479
- Nails used in treehouse: 258,759
- Nail guns used in construction: 3
More Photos from Today
|Andrew Johnson's tailor shop with visitor center built around it|
|Is is OK for Lassie to sleep through the sermon?|
|A coffee tanker?|
|I-81, one of our favorite highways|
|Tree house graffiti, even on the windows|
|Tree house spiral entrance|
|Crossville, TN - definitely worth a stop|
|One of the kids hanging out near the tree house|
|A pair of farm friends|
|Easy way to climb a tree|