Reviving our city’s birthplace, Taylor’s Spring
by OUR CITY: Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland
Aug 14, 2014 | 525 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city of Cleveland has a proud history. Much of it comes alive with just a short trip around our historic downtown district and surrounding neighborhoods.

The list of buildings and streets on the National Register of Historic Places is plentiful in the business and residential areas touching and bordering downtown.

Our railroad depot is a great example of combining preservation with a modern use. It serves as home and anchor for our citywide bus service, provided through the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency. Along with this structure, there are several other Five Points buildings over a century old that are currently being renovated for businesses, restaurants and living space.

From Five Points to central downtown, churches with stories that go back to the Civil War and the historic district's homes, are among the many places to revisit our past as well as enjoy our city's appearance now.

But one place, a very important place, is hidden from view. It is Taylor's Spring.

Local history books tell us how Andrew Taylor's log cabin was built near a spring, very close to where the Courthouse Annex stands now. Taylor's Place, and the spring near it, was an important stopping place for our earliest pioneers. It became the spot around which Cleveland began. It was our birthplace.

But now, the spring is hidden beneath a couple of structures.

Attorney Jim Webb graciously donated one of those structures, at 283 1st St. N.W., to the city because of its historic value.

With the City Council's endorsement, I have asked City Manager Janice Casteel, City Attorney John Kimball and Councilman Bill Estes to explore whether the city can acquire the adjacent structure.

That research should be completed shortly, and they will be reporting back in a couple of weeks.

It would be good to bring the spring back into view so visitors and residents could see where our story began. It could be yet another attraction for visitors and for people who live or work downtown.

Many cities promote their birthplaces. Often those spots include a water source, whether it be a river or a spring.

Some planning by city employees is already being directed toward a marketing plan that will promote our city's services to residents, plus focus on our cultural, commercial and historic places.

The University of Tennessee's Smart Communities Initiative selected Cleveland for a year of projects involving the university's students and faculty. They are currently working with our city staff and others to develop that list of projects.

Maybe, at some point, we could add Taylor's Spring to that list of the many historical treasures being preserved as we continue to live up to our motto as “The City With Spirit.”