Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Clarksville Tennessee MCM and Googie

Clarksville Tennessee MCM and Googie

I split this part of my narrative out because it is a bit more personal - I grew up in Clarksville from the time I was in grade school though 2 years of college (I attended Austin Peay as a Computer Science major). I was able to experience a lot of change in the city through the 60's, 70's and 80's. We first moved to Clarksville in 1968 (I was 5) - Clarksville is primarily a military support town, being the closest city to Fort Campbell Kentucky - many of the businesses and the primary economy centers around supporting the army troops stationed at Fort Campbell. We ended up there while my father completed his military service and retired (he was a 21 year man). Because of the town's dependence on the military, the economy has fluctuated with our governments war (aka "peacekeeping") efforts. Through the Vietnam era, Clarksville prospered - thus quite a bit of construction occurred during the 60's - prime time for MCM and Googie. Another aspect more related to architecture in general for Clarksville, is the cheap and abundant access to brick and concrete - much of it being processed locally (Clarksville is riddled with limestone - not good for an unprocessed building material, but great for the creating of brick and the like). Between Clarksville proper and the northern end (where most of the military ended up - closer to the base), there is a strip that catered to the military - mostly cheap motels and the like - there were many Googie and MCM buildings here - many of the buildings of my childhood are still standing. Here are a few I thought might be of interest:

First American Bank of Tennessee:
This building originally held a bank (First American Bank of Tennessee if my memory hasn't failed me) - it was one of the first banks in Clarksville that featured drive-through service. The roofline forms a 4-sided diamond pattern to the rectangular building, with points jutting to the front, back and sides. The side "wings" formed the drive-through section to the left and a covered entry to the right. In now houses a motorcycle retail business.

The Mart:
Slightly further North of the bank, is "The Mart" - one of my favorite shopping strip malls (it housed a "Houchen's" store that had a great model and toy selection) - the sign is still standing (even though much of the neon is gone):

Vacation Motor Hotel and Cumberland Motel:
South of the bank are two "Motor Inns" - The Vacation Motor Hotel and the Cumberland

[Update 2007.10.28]: Since I took this image the Cumberland Motel has fallen victim to a bulldozer - seems there's some perceived "need" for additional retail space in New Providence (what the area is called). From the general disrepair, I'd say there was little hope for any restoration, but it's still a shame to see another 50's roadside remnant bite the dust).

Morgan Building Supply:
Traveling further South, you'll come across the Morgan Building Supply offices (they made concrete and concrete formed blocks, etc):

APSU Student Housing:
Finally, there are a group of APSU (Austin Peay State University) Student Housing buildings that I thought were interesting:

I hope to take more pics, including some interesting MCM homes in the future.

-- Best, John

John Eaton (Originally published 2005.03.27 in the thread: "Clarksville Tennessee MCM and Googie" on the Lotta Living forums) .

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