KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) History is all around us, sometimes we just have to look to find it. If you're a history buff, or slightly interested in knowing a little more about where you live, the annual East Tennessee History Fair is the place for you.
Old Federal Courthouse in Downtown Knoxville/(WVLT)
It's happening this Saturday all over Knoxville. The main events are happening in the East Tennessee History Center, Krutch Park and the Tennessee Theater.
The fair features exhibits, reenactors, films and hands-on activities making East Tennessee's history come to life.
Some our hidden history lies with in the walls of the old Federal courtroom found on the third floor of what is now the East Tennessee History Center.
The old Federal courtroom is now home to the McClung Historic Collection and the Knox County archives. Before being refurbished, the courtroom was the center of justice in the late 1800's and well into the 1900's, especially for moonshiners.
"It was illegal 'cause they weren't paying their taxes," Steve Cotham, Manager, McClung Historical Collection said. "They would have been charged, and probably easily convicted, if they had pretty good evidence. More than half the cases that were here involved some aspect of illegal liquor."
Kid Curry, a famous wild west bandit, making an appearance in the courtroom after being caught in town, but he didn't stay long.
"He was able to overpower the jailer, get the keys, get out of the jail, steal the sheriffs horse, and ride across the Gay Street Bridge never to be seen again," Cotham said.
The bench also produced one of our nation's highest judges.
"Edward Terry Sanford is the only just of the Supreme Court from Knoxville, from East Tennessee, and he was a judge here when he was appointed to the Supreme Court," Cotham said.
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