Sometimes a hobby can dominate your life, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Ron Evans has two hobbies, actually. After a career in electronics, he retired in June 2015, and the next day he opened what he calls “Grandpa Daycare.” Grandson Hayden stays with Ron while Amy, Hayden’s mom and Ron’s daughter, works as a registered nurse at Parkwest Medical Center. “We’re pretty good buddies,” Ron says with a smile.
Hayden is a favorite at monthly meetings of Powell’s Station History Society where Ron is the president. Hayden helps stack chairs, collect cups and pass out information – he’s there for whatever needs doing. After all, he will be 5 in April.
Ron missed the January meeting. He was busy on Monday: “I got a brand-new grandson and Hayden got a little brother. Holden weighed nine pounds and seven ounces.” Looks like the Grandpa Daycare just doubled its enrollment.
Ron’s interest in the history of Powell’s Station is deeply rooted. His family operated a dry-cleaning business on Brickyard Road at Emory (site of today’s LifeHouse Coffee). The family lived upstairs. He rode his red tricycle in the shadow of the train depot in the heart of Powell.
“I heard stories about how President Andrew Jackson traveled on Emory Road,” Ron recalls. “That piqued my interest. The president of the United States having been right outside my bedroom window.” After a stint in the Air Force, Ron returned to Powell. He searched for pictures of Powell’s beginnings. With his background in electronics and computers, Ron was perfectly suited to scan and archive the materials he found.
He loves to talk about Powell – a town founded when Revolutionary War veteran John Menifee settled here and constructed a fort on Beaver Creek near what’s now the old Weigel’s at the corner of Emory Road and Clinton Highway. A historic marker has been set (it’s now wrapped in plastic) and will be unveiled at a ceremony sometime this month.
Ron learned about the railroad and Groner’s store. He read about the brickyard and the Weigel family farm and Broadacres Dairy. Everything he learned whetted his curiosity to learn more. Frequently, the Powell’s Station History Society will invite representatives from an old Powell family to bring photos and tell their story.
“Come with us,” he says, “as we look at where we’ve been and go into the future.”
The history society meets on the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Community Center on Emory Road in Powell. Everyone is invited. Usually there’s a speaker.
Sandra Clark, editor/CEO of KnoxTNToday.com, writes this Wednesday feature to promote community volunteers. Nominate someone by calling her at 865-661-8777.