Post Top 10: Eagleville sounds off


Unique sounds swell from the county's smallest town with a population of 563 residents. Sounds emit from the county's only preK-12 school with its award-winning band and football team along with talent show winner Taylor Bennett, from country music entertainer Trace Adkins and from the groaning tractors during the annual Tennessee Pioneer Power Association Antique Tractor/Engine Show and Pull each September.

Eagleville reverberates with sounds. Unique sounds swell from the county's smallest town with a population of 563 residents. Sounds emit from the county's only preK-12 school with its award-winning band and football team along with talent show winner Taylor Bennett, from country music entertainer Trace Adkins and from the groaning tractors during the annual Tennessee Pioneer Power Association Antique Tractor/Engine Show and Pull each September. And sounds just outside the city include the melody from Milnar Organs and the sounds of whistling wind from the Puckett Gliderport just over the Bedford County line in Rover. The Murfreesboro Post lists the Top 10 Sounds of Eagleville (11 because we try harder). Town sounds Eagleville hosts the sounds of a rural farm atmosphere blended with the mix of traditional and international businesses. Mayor Nolan Barham Sr. said the four churches within the city limits provide the backbone of the town. "This is a conservative farm rural atmosphere that so many places in American don't have anymore," said Barham, a retired county educator. "It's one of the reasons I came to teach here. You don't jump on every fad, you don't get in on every new idea that comes along. Whatever is done in the community is integrated as part of the living style." Although it's a traditional town, the residents accept new ideas. Most of the businesses line the downtown business district along U.S. Highway 41A that intersects with state Route 99 (New Salem Highway). Businesses include a grocery, bank, farmers'co-op, medical clinic and eye clinic and drug store. A Hispanic family operates a Mexican restaurant while a Hindu family operates Sandy's Market just outside the city. The U.S. Postal Service borders one corner. "Take away the post office from a community and it dies," Barham said. Milnar Organ Co. Dennis and Connie Milnar moved their pipe organ company in 1976 from Green Hills to Hill Road on a 150-acre site just outside Eagleville. "I fell in love with the land," Milnar remembered. He still loves it. From his porch last week, he watched a bald eagle dive into a pond perhaps in search of a fish. Milnar Organ builds and rebuilds pipe organs primarily used in churches. "We make a lot of noise," Milnar explained. Picture First United Methodist Church on Thompson Lane in Murfreesboro with its pipe organ that can boom and shake the walls. "Sitting there in the pew you can feel some of the strong lower harmonics of the organ," Milnar said. Eagleville School The pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school with 710 students is the only public one with all grades in the county. It's common to see the older students guiding the younger ones. Much of the town's activities are centered with school activities ranging from clubs and academics to band, athletics and JROTC. Principal Rhonda Holton said student Chelsea Doss won a state contest and became state president of the Future Farmers of America. Many students compete on the state level in activities. "We think every child needs to be involved in extracurricular activities," Holton said, adding may participate in several activities. She hears the sounds of saws in the agriculture department, the chants of cheerleaders, speeches delivered by state winners and voices raised in song. Eagleville's football team and band Holton remains excited about the football team formed five years ago. "It's another opportunity for another large group of students to be involved," Holton said. Although it's one of the county's oldest schools, Eagleville lacked a high school football team until 2002. During its first season, the Eagles finished with a 9-2 record with its 42-player roster. The 2005 team placed second in the region and captured its first playoff berth, setting a standard for the future. When the football program was established five years ago, the Eagleville School band program was rejuvenated with the addition of its first-ever marching band, developed by current band director Kelly Medford. "With this renewed interest and outstanding support from the school and community, the Eagleville School band now offers a complete musical experience for its students including beginning band, middle school concert band, high school concert band, percussion ensemble, jazz band, pep band and marching band," Medford reported. This fall the marching band received first place in its competitive class for the percussion, drum major and color guard captions at the Forrest Marching Band Contest in Chapel Hill and is currently ranked 13th in the state for Division I schools. Last month, both the middle and high school bands received superior ratings in the sight reading caption for their performances in the MTSBOA Concert Band Festival and the middle school band earned an excellent rating for their prepared selection in the same event. Tennessee Valley Pioneer Power Association's Antique Tractor/Engine Show More than 138 tractors and 100 gas engines were displayed and 80 tractors competed during the first show Sept. 10, 1988 on the Eagleville School campus. Today, the show is one of the largest in the Southeast on its own 35-acre site on Chapel Hill Pike. According to its Web site, the association promotes the "collection, restoration and display of antique agricultural equipment and to provide a forum for its members to discuss topics of interest. This year's show is set Sept. 7-9. Puckett's Gliderport Manager Bill McFarlane said people fly 12 months a year regularly from 10 a.m. to sunset on Saturdays and Sundays and on weekdays by appointments from the Gliderport on U.S. Highway 41A. Eagleville Sail Planes teaches people to fly gliders in two-seat trainers. Seven private ships fly out of the airport. About one-half of the gliders fly because they enjoy the sport while the other half fly to learn the skill. Gliders travel to Eagleville from a 120-mile radius in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. The late Garland Pack of Murfreesboro started gliding in the state of Tennessee. Gliders fly without an engine. "We look for thermals, warm air that's rising," McFarlane explained, adding they fly with buzzards and eagles. "On a good soaring day we can stay up five to six hours a day." Gliders soar up to 5,000 to 6,000 feet. "It is very safe," McFarlane said. "It's like being a bird. There's no engine noise. We fly frequently with the birds. ... They think we're just a big white bird. We all go around and around together." Chitlin' suppers Eagleville residents Gordon and Mary Alice Lamb, their five children and many hands of the community provided the sounds of chitlin's cooking and people eating during the annual fund-raiser to build the Eagleville Community Center in 1986. Mrs. Lamb said she wanted the community center as a gathering place for people to enjoy so she organized and cooked for years. "It's been a lot of hard work for a lot of us," said Lamb who physically can't coordinate the dinners anymore. Daughter Joyce Jones said the annual chitlin' dinners started in 1984 and became twice a year events the third weekend in March and November. It took two weeks to clean, cook, freeze and recook chitlin's. They prepared 2,500 pounds for the final dinner a few years ago. What did Jones learn? "Not to do it," she laughed. Taylor Bennett When it comes to talent, Eagleville School's Assistant Principal Bill Tollett knows fifth-grader Taylor Bennett is tops. "She's the pride of our school," Tollett said. Principal Holton said Taylor captured the best vocal talent contest last year for the whole school. Taylor speaks softly so she surprised everyone when she sang country music entertainer Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel." Taylor, 11, daughter of Mike and Michelle Bennett, and big sister of Michael, 8, began signing in church at age 4. She now takes private voice lessons from music teacher Candace Williams. Sounds of the crowd cheering for her during the talent show were "awesome," she said with a smile covering her face. She's practicing for this year's talent show with the support of friends and teachers. "There's one song I really can't get the high notes," Taylor explained. "I've been practicing and practicing and practicing every day of my life. I can finally hit the high notes." The song is another Underwood song, "Some Hearts." Mother Michelle said Taylor's never had stage fright. She sings from morning until bedtime. (Did they see me do it?) Center Words uttered by a girl with cerebral palsy inspired Lysbeth Lancaster to form the Center in 2004 at her home on Floyd Road in Eagleville. After riding a pony, the girl asked, "Did they see me doing it?" in a reference to other workers and kids. Her words inspired Floyd to open the therapeutic riding center now used by six children. "Our goal at Did They See Me Do It? is to make a difference in the daily lives of physically, mentally or emotionally challenged children, encouraging confidence, self-esteem and independence through therapeutic and recreational riding," Lancaster said. The center operates with donations, volunteers, barn buddies who are children age 14 and older and 16 horses owned by Lancaster and her family. Lancaster imagines a child talking about the experience by wondering if other people saw how they rode, sat up straight, balanced and improved muscle strength. She imagines a child sharing secrets with the horse like a friend. Barn buddies are crucial to the program because they keep the horses in a better frame of mind, ride, groom and do barn chores. People who want to volunteer may contact her at 274-2038. "I think it's God-given that I do it," Lancaster said. Huckleberry's If you want to fill your belly and get the news, visit Huckleberry's Caf located in the center of downtown Eagleville at the former Dairy Bar. Barham said the Dairy Bar was a well-known place to enjoy a good ice cream cone. "At Huckleberry's, you can still get a good ice cream cone," Barham said. Meats and three vegetables are served up piping hot. And there's homemade cake topped with ice cream. Residents share the latest news in the dining room. Eagleville native Julia Smithson Taliaferro and her husband, Archie, dine at the restaurant frequently. They call out to friends. John and June Bias, who moved from New York state, explained their last name. "I'm the biased one," June said as she pointed to her husband, "He's the tape." Charles Ralston, who owns Ralston's Antiques, stops by for lunch. He reminds Taliaferro his shop open on weekends provides residents a place to "loaf" and visit. John Atnip, Sam Tune and his grown son, Jesse, ate Friday. The elder Tune said the conversation was "kind of dull with these two. But there's a lot of information passed back and forth in here." Atnip said the food was great while Jesse Tune said the caf served "great peach cobbler." Diners John Patillo, Betty Lowe, John Overton, Tom Rowland and Bill Crick said they ate at the restaurant regularly for the conversation and best country cooking. "They treat you right," Crick said. Country music entertainer Trace Adkins Adkins bought a farm and property off Cheatham Springs Road. The Louisiana native performed for a gospel group and earned a living as a pipefitter on an offshore drilling rig. According to his Web site biography, Adkins "made a name for himself in the honky-tonks of Texas and Louisiana." When he moved in 1992 to Nashville, he survived by working construction work and signing at night. His break came three years after his move when then-Capitol Records president Scott Hendricks spotted him playing in a working man's bar outside Nashville and signed him. Trace's one-of-a-kind voice and his knack for putting believability into songs dealing with love, loss, sex, and blue-collar realities did the rest." His new CD, "Dangerous Man," highlights a sound collection that proves Adkins is a master both of the rowdy-that place where fun, sexy and rocking come together-and of the searingly honest slice of life." Lisa Marchesoni may be reached at 869-0814 or at

© 2007 The Murfreesboro Post

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