The City of Alcoa’s 100-plus years of history are now reflected across the City with the erection of a series of wayside exhibits.
The waysides are a long-time dream of City Historian Judge David Duggan. However, funding and interest for the project never seemed to be on the forefront until the City’s Centennial. The Centennial budget provided funding for historical monuments but not enough to do it justice and cover all the areas Duggan wanted to encompass.
Enter Arconic and the Arconic Foundation. Who better to assist with such an undertaking than the company whose roots founded the City? Thus, with additional monies provided through an Arconic Foundation community enhancement grant, the project was able to come to realization. With the funding in place, the hunt was on for a vendor. After completing the City’s bid process, Pannier Graphics was chosen for the project. Pannier, known for its high-quality durable products and reputation, provides most of the signage and exhibits for the National Park Service. Its products can be viewed in several museums, parks, aquariums, and interpretive exhibits. Duggan wrote the text and chose the images for each of the 19 exhibits designated for various historic sites around the City. By definition, a wayside is the side of or land adjacent to a road or path. Where possible, the City’s wayside exhibits are placed near or along the greenway trail where an event or structure of historic significance once happened or stood. Each recounts and preserves the story of Alcoa the city, and ALCOA (Arconic Corp.), the company.
Triple pedestal exhibit located along Rankin Rd near the Lincoln Rd. intersection. Traditional-T pedestal exhibit located at the Springbrook Park ballfield.
The waysides vary in style. Most waysides residents will see are of the traditional T style, but also a triple pedestal, triple offset, and one kiosk (3-sided) – all styles typically seen in the national parks. Eleven are installed with 5 located in Springbrook Park along the Greenway Trail. Others are in the Holston Conference parking lot along Rankin Road, the rock garden area at the corner of Hall Road and Howe Street, the intersection of E. Edison St. and N. Wright Rd., along the Greenway Trail across from the former Nicely’s store (now the Masonic Lodge), the Duck Pond, and the entrance to Springbrook Pool. All were installed by a City public works crew, others will soon be in place. Some of the wayside exhibits will remain in storage until road and utility construction projects are completed in the areas of their designated location, such as one representing the West Plant and Springbrook Communities. It is to be placed in the Faraday St. and Mills St. area which is currently undergoing construction. Another being stored - the triple pedestal - represents Alcoa High School and its storied basketball and football programs and their players and coaches.
Of the project, Judge Duggan said, “I'm very excited to see these markers going up. So many people worked hard to make this happen, and of course we're grateful to the City of Alcoa and Arconic for funding. I wish they could all go up at once, but for some of them we're waiting on completion of construction projects, and for some we're working out agreements with private property owners. They will all be up soon, and they will make an impact in our community because these markers tell and depict much of our City's history. They're well done, and I hope our citizens enjoy them and are reminded of those who went before us and made our life here possible.”
Hall community kiosk located in rock garden at the corner of
Hall Rd. and Howe St.