Women’s League gets Norris Freeway historical marker, plans winter events

Shannon CareyHalls

A surprise sits by the side of the road as you head north on Norris Freeway. Right now, a historical marker commemorating the thoroughfare is covered with a black plastic cover, but at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, the Halls Crossroads Women’s League will unveil the marker.

Approved by the state of Tennessee and placed by TDOT, the marker will resemble the other historical plaques you see by Tennessee roadsides. Women’s League president Mary Carroll said the group’s preservation committee, led by Doris Smith, applied to TDOT after learning some of the history behind Norris Freeway. The Women’s League provided the $1,400 cost of the marker.

The marker’s text reads:

Built in 1934* by TVA as a component of a hydroelectric project, Norris Dam; Norris Freeway provided a connection from the railroad in Coal Creek in Anderson County to Halls Crossroads in North Knox County. Built to transfer materials to the dam and provide access to administrative offices in Knoxville;  “…considered the world’s first limited-access road…built for utilitarian or construction project-purposes;”** it runs 21 miles and cost $1.5 million. TVA limited billboards and commercial use providing a scenic drive to Norris Dam and Norris.

*Carver, Martha, “Norris Freeway,” Tennessee Department of Transportation,  Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture Version 2.0.

**Van West, Carroll, Tennessee’s New Deal Landscape/A Guide Book, 2001, The University of Tennessee Press/Knoxville, pg 223.

While Carroll did not grow up in Halls, she said many of the Women’s League members did.

“Most of the women just don’t want Halls to be lost in the shuffle. They want to preserve this community and its history,” she said.

After the unveiling of the marker, the Women’s League will have its annual membership meeting and luncheon at Beaver Brook Country Club, starting at 11:30 a.m.

Another much-anticipated event, the Halls Crossroads Women’s League’s Chili Chowdown, will be held 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, at the Halls Senior Center on Crippen Road. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children. Attendees will feast on homemade chili, hot dogs and beverages, and desserts will be available for an extra charge. Entertainment will be provided by a live bluegrass band. All are welcome at the event.

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