See Rock City

See Rock City

Saturday, August 30, 2008

McKinzie, TN

Aerial View of McKenzie

McKenzie's Downtown Veterans Memorial Park

The Gazebo
The gazebo is the central focus of the downtown park and the site of seasonal activities such as the annual Memorial Day tribute and McKenzie's Hometown Christmas festivities. The park is maintained by the McKenzie Park and Recreation Department and Beta Sigma Phi sorority.

Glynn Mebane and Ricky Chandler standing in high cotton.

Carroll County Farm Bureau Agency Manager Glynn Mebane and McKenzie farmer Ricky Chandler stand among lush cotton following a demonstration of the cotton picker's awesome contribution to modern agriculture.

Welcome to McKenzie - Welcome Fall

Fall's harvest and foliage decorate the Welcome to McKenzie sign on the city's southwest entrance.

Carroll County War Memorial in Downtown Veterans Memorial Park

This monument honors servicemen of Carroll County who have died in all of America's wars.

Dusty Carroll/270th Eng. Bn. Monument

Downtown Veterans Memorial Park

McKenzie lost one of its own beloved sons when Dusty Carroll was killed in Iraq on July 31, 2005.

Bethel College, Fall 2006

Bethel's beauty evolves throughout each season, here shown in fall regalia.

City Park

City Park is McKenzie's primary recreational park, featuring baseball, softball and soccer fields, a playground, a piered fishing hole (home to a family of ducks), and The Barn: a pavilion which is the site of many birthday parties, family gatherings and social events.
Several events take place at City Park each year. The Festival of Freedom, held on or near the 4th of July each year, attracts a huge crowd, with cars lined up for miles to watch the fireworks extravaganza. Earlier in the day bands play while crowds enjoy watermelon, grilled burgers, and picnic fare in anticipation of the main event.

The first weekend of June brings throngs to the park for North Carroll County's Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is a fun overnight event during which teams compete to earn the most money to fight cancer, offering food, games, entertainment and fellowship in a carnival atmosphere.

North and South Carroll Relays have ranked number one in the state, per capita, for two years running and were number one in the nation in 2005. This speaks highly to the people of our fair city

Mulberry Park

Located on Mulberry Street near the VynAll plant (the old "Pajama Factory"), the city's Public Works facilities (the old National Guard Armory) and historic Webb School, Mulberry Park has an illustrious history as well. Many middle-aged citizens and baby boomers recall games played on the fields that were the city's main sports region prior to the founding of City Park.

Mulberry Park sports two lighted ball fields, a playground, a paved, outdoor basketball court, and a walking trail.

Downtown Veterans Memorial Park

Named for the memorials that pay tribute to soldiers of Carroll County, the park, located in the central square downtown, is a place of beauty, with towering trees and peaceful park benches situated beneath old-style lamp posts amid flowers and greenery.
A central gazebo now graces the park where once a fountain stood, back when older gentlemen of the town sat and whittled, the cedar shavings from their efforts perfuming the air.

There is much to say about this historic park.

Triangle Park

A little beauty goes a long way during busy days. Triangle Park may be small but it is a welcome sight to drivers, pedestrians and residents of Main Street.

Festivals & Observances

Everyone loves a party. And we're no exception! The city hosts two main festivals each year: we celebrate our nation's freedom with the Festival of Freedom on or near the 4th of July and enjoy old time community spirit with McKenzie's Hometown Christmas on the first weekend of December.
We're also host to the annual Relay for Life celebration as members of our community join with those in neighboring cities for the main event, held at City Park.

We also appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans, service men and women, and their families. That's why we observe Memorial Day with the Day of Remembrance service, held in the Downtown Veterans Memorial Park, and take part and pride in the schools' celebrations of Veterans Day. We are proud that our teachers and school children elect to honor our service men and women in this way.

The Gordon Browning Museum is a publicly supported museum and repository for documents, images and artifacts that represent the history and culture of Carroll County, Tennessee. The museum is named in honor of the two time Governor of the State of Tennessee Gordon Browning and contains numerous papers, photographs and personal effects of the former governor. In cooperation with city, county and state organizations, the Carroll County Historical Society operates and maintains the museum and repository.

The Gordon Browning Museum and Genealogical Library is located in the City of McKenzie in West Tennessee. The City of McKenzie can be found near the crossroads of State Routes 22 and 79 in the northwestern part of Carroll County. The museum and library are situated in the old post office in the center of town adjacent to the city square.

Carroll Lake

Carroll Lake lies nestled in the southern reaches of the city off Highway 22 (the Jim Alexander Highway). The beautiful, 100-acre lake offers the serenity of nature close to home. Classified as a family fishing lake by the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency), the lake offers good fishing as well as picnicing and light hiking.
Carroll Lake is the site of Steve McCadams' annual Casting For a Cure kids' fishing rodeo. Proceeds from the event benefit the American Cancer Society.


Agriculture is a big part of McKenzie's history--and its future!
The Chandler farm is currently featured on our Website header...

The Holland Home

Pre-Civil War Era Holland Home in McKenzie, Tennessee.

Another historical farm whose owners have played and continue to play major roles in the city is the Holland farm.

First cultivated by Albert Gallatin Harris and his wife Lucy Permelia Gilbert in 1829, the farm has remained a part of the same family throughout the generations to come, and is today owned by Kermit Holland and his children, Jill Holland and Jack Holland. Except for eight years in which he served as a Marine in the Pacific theatre during World War 2 and stateside during the Korean War, 95-year-old Kermit (as of 2008) has worked the land at the Holland farm.

Until a decade ago, Kermit and his wife, Nancy, ran a dairy operation on the farm, but "age and help problems" led them to narrow their scope into beef cattle, row crops, alfalfa for the cattle, and three types of hay grasses: orchard grass, clover and fescue.

Both Jack and Jill have homesteads on the farm and Jill is a member of the McKenzie Board of Mayor and Council. The McKenzie High School fieldhouse was named for Kermit, who was also honored upon the dedication of Bethel College's new football stadium on September 2, 2006. Holland played on the McKenzie college's Mississippi Valley Conference Championship football teams in the 1930s.

Historically, Albert and Lucy raised nine children on the farm which, at 600 acres, was originally much larger than its current 200 acres. While Harris' brother, Thomas Larkin Harris, served in the Confederate Army (losing his life at Shiloh), the cotton farm provided food and fodder for General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Rebel forces while its blacksmith shod the cavalry's horses using shoes forged on site. In the extravagant writing of yesterday, handwritten receipts show that A.G. Harris sold to the Confederate States fodder, corn, wheat and services that included horse shoeing.

When later Union forces were approaching the farm, the family was terrified they would burn the house after pilfering what they could. They dug a hole deep beneath the cobblestones of the kitchen floor where they buried $1,000 in silver coins and hid their paper money beneath the troughs where the soldiers watered their horses. The family shared willingly provisions for the troops and took one officer into the home to care for him while he was ill.

The troops marched away leaving the house unmolested, a blessing that was offset by the confiscation of every horse on the farm, right down to a child's pony. It was a devastating loss in an age when horsepower, driven by the sweat of the farmer's brow, was the means of tending the soil. Albert died in 1866, a year after the war was over.

Holland Farm Trust

The Holland farm became the first in West Tennessee, outside Memphis, to join the Land Trust for Tennessee.

The children have also spent many hours in the basement kitchen where the dovetailed cobblestones hid the family's wealth. Though the flooring has long-since been replaced, the wide hearth below the fireplace still boasts the same bricks that once covered the floor, thick bricks that were fashioned and fired in the farm's own kilns. In the ceiling of the old kitchen, great, hand-hewn beams bearing the marks of the adze used to square them traverse the length and breadth of the home.

Upstairs, some of the original heart-pine tongue and groove flooring still graces the old homestead. Receipts show the lumber from Alabama was shipped to Wells Point. Other receipts from 1855 bear out the name "Wells Point" that apparently defined the community before it became known as "Dundas" and, in 1865, McKenzie. The town was incorporated as McKenzie in 1869.

Albert and Lucy's daughter, Ada Medora Harris, and her husband, Zachary Taylor Collier, from Cottage Grove, continued the ownership of the farm in the next generation, raising horses, mules and cotton. The Collier's thriving horse and mule business eventually moved to Memphis where Collier Mill was located at the present site of the Red Birds Stadium along the Mississippi River.

During the month of October, 2002, the 173rd anniversary of the historic farm, Middle Tennessee State University proclaimed the Holland Farm as a "Tennessee Century Farm" in a program that "recognizes the contributions of Tennessee families who have continuously owned, and kept in production, family land for at least 100 years."

In the same year, the farm became the first in West Tennessee, outside Memphis, to join the Land Trust for Tennessee, preserving the farm for future generations, forever.


Originally inhabited by the Chickasaw Indian Tribe, the first settlers started moving into this area during the early 1800s.

In the original settling of what is now McKenzie, there were two families here that were "rivals". Each named the part of this towns area that they lived in a different name. One part of McKenzie was named Marrieta and the other part Dundas. It was still like this during the Civil War even though the community had much more to worry about at that time than the "rivalry' between the Sneads and the Gilberts. At that time there was a rather big family of McKenzie's that lived here. (From Joe Stout’s notes on “War Leaflets”, a delightful and emotional chronicle by Annie Cole Hawkins. In it you can read about many more geographical and societal norms of the region).

The city of McKenzie was organized in 1867 when the Nashville and Northwestern Railroad completed its track and intersected with the Memphis and Ohio Railroad. Its name was derived from the family that previously owned the land where the railroads crossed. James Monroe McKenzie gave the property to the railroad company with the stipulation that his son George McKenzie be given the position of station agent for the Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis Railroad. First known as McKenzie Station, it was soon shortened to McKenzie. The town began to develop rapidly after the tracks were completed and was officially incorporated by the state of Tennessee on January 22, 1869.

The railroad drew many residents from the neighboring communities, among them Caladonia and McLemoresville. By 1870, the population of McKenzie had grown to over 500 residents. In the 1880's the size of the town doubled and business thrived. On October 15, 1887, the President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, visited the bustling town and stayed overnight at the McKenzie Hotel. By the turn of the century, a city park was created, public schools were built and roads paved with gravel. The town continued to expand at a steady rate until the Great Depression struck in October of 1929. Banks and businesses closed their doors and the community's labor base evaporated overnight. It would be not until 1936 that conditions began to show economic growth and improvement.

Just prior to the World War 2, the federal government began construction on a munitions plant and arsenal east of Milan. During the war, the plant would hire thousands of laborers and increase the population of McKenzie more than any time in its history. Between 1940 and 1950, the population of the city increased by over 1,300 people and was second to only Oak Ridge in population growth statewide. Following the war the city has kept a steady rate of growth and continues to be a productive and prosperous community (Adapted from