PRINCESS THEATRE - Raising the Curtain: 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010


1:25 PM – A CHRISTMAS SNOW (starring Muse Watson)
3:15 PM – YULE LOG (Christmas Carols all through the night)
11 AM - A CHRISTMAS SNOW (starring Muse Watson)
9:30 PM - A CHRISTMAS SNOW (starring Muse Watson)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Members of the community, a group between 100 and 200, came to the Channel 15 studio Tuesday evening to meet Muse Watson, Bill Landry, and Harriman Mayor Chris Mason.  The three told the group that the City of Harriman and Roane State's Channel 15 will mean entertainment and education for them.  

Not only will there be movies, weather, and news, there will be live broadcast of locally produced programming and whatever entertainment is being presented on the Princess stage.  These productions, the camera work, the editing, the sound, the lighting, the props, the writing, and directing will come from our high school and college students.

These lucky students will have the opportunity to train in the media (TV and radio*) and theatre with "state-of-the-art" communications equipment.  They will receive classroom instruction and then "hands-on" experience right here on Roane Street in Harriman.

It's a win, win, folks...they learn and we get entertained!

YOU can get involved with programming too...have an idea for a show?!  Let the students help you prepare it for airing!  It's your station folks...get involved!

I learned myself that the building to the left of The Spot cafe will be the *radio station!  I had always assumed the radio equipment and training would in the same facility as Channel 15, but this separate building will become a student operated radio station and part of the Princess Complex.

As Muse put it, "Channel 15 is like the eyes of the Princess Dream and the radio station will be its ears!"  

Unless you have been present in one of these public information sessions, you haven't witnessed the excitement in the eyes of Muse, Bill, and Chris.  They are so thrilled that "the dream" is coming true!  We should all be so excited!

Channel 15 is now presenting movies, music, documentaries, and other interesting programming.  There are even cartoons for the kids!

Many folks brought by or bought a copy of "A Christmas Snow", Muse's latest movie, and enjoyed one-on-one interaction with the actor.  This show has been airing on Channel 15 for several days now, giving me the opportunity to watch it 3 times.  I choked up every time!

Muse, Bill, and Chris were "filmed" by Doug Mills last evening making short promotional pieces for Channel 15.  Those are about all the commercial type clips you'll see on this's a non-profit station expressly for the community.

There was even one "taped" that included everyone present at the gathering at the time (see top photo).  I can't wait to see and hear them shout, "It's your TV station!"  That was so much fun!

Remember, it's your station folks...get involved!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Tomorrow (Tuesday 12/21/10) afternoon at 5 PM, Muse Watson, Bill Landry, and Mayor Chris Mason will be at the Channel 15 studio on Roane Street in Harriman (next to the Princess).  The City of Harriman and Roane State Community College would love for you to drop by and see the new facility (still be arranged inside) and meet Muse, Bill, and Chris.

I'm sure Muse will have some copies of his latest movie, "A Christmas Snow", or you can bring your copy if you already have one and get it autographed!

Channel 15 is already airing movies, documentaries, karaoke Christmas carols, and Tuesday morning there will be cartoons and cooking!

I will have a more definitive schedule posted here tomorrow, but the schedule will also be added to the Comcast system this week.  You can then scroll through the show list and set your DVR to record as any other show offered by Comcast.

The station is awaiting a T-1 line from AT&T so that the Channel 15 programming can be viewed over the Internet.  That line is not expected until sometime early January.

I've personally watched "It's A Wonderful Life", "A Christmas Story", and "A Christmas Snow" twice each and teared up every, it's your turn!

Come on down Tuesday afternoon!  You may even get to be in a commercial!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


The equipment for the Channel 15 TV station is being moved in this weekend.  It's finally official...we're open for business, although "normal scheduled" programming is yet to start.
However, programming has already been preset starting Dec 22nd but you will see other things now like Christmas programs, for example: "It’s a Wonderful Life", "Miracle on 34th Street", Muse Watson's new "A Christmas Snow", etc., and even the Harriman Christmas parade sporadically until everything is all set up.

If you have Comcast in Roane County, then manually punch in 15.  The channel is not yet officially programmed into Comcast's programming, so you have to input the channel manually.  That will change soon.  If you seem to be getting another channel, like Channel 15 in Oak Ridge, you may need to call Comcast to have your cable box remotely tuned.

The program is running during the day and you never know what you may see.  However, sometime next week I should be able to post a channel lineup for you.  Keep checking this blog and keep watching Channel 15.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Work inside the Princess has begun in earnest after the receipt of the approval of the state fire marshal.  Scaffolding reaches the ceiling of the auditorium and workmen are busy plastering the walls.  The skeletal like framework allows workers to reach every lofting region of the huge building.
A rented construction heater system (right in the top photo) is now keeping the Princess a constant 70 degrees and aids the further removal of moisture.  From the holes in the old roof, rain poured inside for years, so there  was/is quite a lot of drying needed.

It won't be long before sealing paint is added and then the brilliant colors of yesteryear will adorn the walls of the Princess.  She's coming back to life folks!

The other exciting event in the story of the "Princess Complex" completion is the opening of Channel 15 next door.  It is hoped the station equipment will be moved by the first of this week and operation will begin there.  The facility has just been waiting on heat and air and the security fire alarm system.  The security system is functional and the heat and air are just days away from completion.

First up will be Muse Watson's "A Christmas Snow" movie!  Just in time for the holidays.  Stay in touch to get the latest on Channel 15...right here!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Keep a close eye on the newspaper, the Princess Blog, the Princess Facebook page, or whatever media you use to find the date/s and time/s of the airing of "A Christmas Snow".  Our new TV station should be on the air very soon...any day now, and we're blessed to have the privilege of showing this wonderful film.  It will always be remembered as the first film we aired after coming on line.

Watch this trailer and you will not want to miss it!


New community station, Channel 15, is on the air

Television viewers flipping through channels, or directed there by the long-running Princess Theater blog,  may have noticed Roane County’s new community station, Channel 15.

Operated by Roane State Community College and based at the Princess Theater complex in downtown Harriman, Channel 15 gives the area a media outlet devoted to community news, information and events.

Here are a few questions and answers about the new channel.

What is Channel 15?
Channel 15 is a government and education channel created by Roane State and the City of Harriman. It is located in a state-of-the-art facility featuring all digital equipment. Roane State purchased equipment for the station and will operate it.

What is the connection to the Princess Theater?
The TV station is a separate entity from the theater but is part of the planned “Princess Performing Arts, Education and Conference Center.” The station is located adjacent to the Princess Theater and will be used to promote and televise some Princess events.

What will it televise?
When fully operational, Channel 15 programming may include local announcements; weather; traffic; sports scores; historical facts; entertainment news; public service videos; educational and documentary programs; college and community events; local sports games; school closings; government meetings; pre-recorded Princess Theater events; and classic movies. Just recently, the awards ceremony for the Roane County Student Writing Contest, sponsored by the Roane County Writers Group and the Kingston Public Library Foundation, was filmed for broadcast on the TV channel in 2011. The awards ceremony is a good example of how the channel will be used to recognize the good work happening right here in Roane County. Channel 15 also carried live coverage of the Harriman Christmas parade.

When will shows be on the air?
Programming such as taped events will likely start in spring 2011. While it will take time, eventually, the station will feature a diverse array of local programming. Channel 15 will be on 24 hours a day, and some programming will be repeated throughout the day.

What areas can see it?
Comcast cable customers in all of Roane County and parts of Morgan County can view Channel 15.

Can I buy a commercial on the new channel?
Under the guidelines for a channel designated as government and education, commercial advertising is not permitted. Sponsorship opportunities, however, are available, and individuals and businesses can donate to Channel 15.

Can anyone submit programs to be shown on the channel?
All programming is subject to an oversight committee, but requests will be considered. Most programming will be created by the college and its students. Part of the purpose of the new station is to serve as a classroom and laboratory for Roane State students who are studying communications.

Friday, December 3, 2010


From the feedback I’ve been getting, Thursday evening’s historic live Harriman Christmas parade presentation, by Channel 15, was terrific.  The television picture and sound were both far superior to what we’ve been accustom to seeing.  I would love to hear your comments either here or on the Princess Facebook page!

The amazing thing is that the presentation was done on equipment not equal to what will actually be installed in the Channel 15 studio on Roane Street!  Therefore, I can’t wait to see what the future brings our way!  Many thanks to Bill Radice who has engineered the studio and last evenings production.

Bill Landry, Ken Mynatt, and Chris Mason did a stellar job in providing a “blow by blow” account of the parade as it passed by the studio, which is just to the left of the Princess Theater.  The live feed was broadcast to the entire county and, as I said, the comments about the production have been positive.

Also on hand for the historic event (in the group photo - left to right) were Chris Mason, Buddy Holly, Lonnie Wright, Ken Mynatt, Bill Landry, and Chase Tedder.  Each of these civic leaders had a big hand in making this dream come true.  I congratulate and thank them for their efforts.

I also would like to give a special thanks to Doug Mills.  His professional camera work made the TV viewing a pleasure.  He focused on the content and held the camera true and steady.  Doug worked with Bill Landry during the filming of the noted Heartland Series we all followed for over 25 years!

So, this was another milestone in acquiring the Princess Complex.  Great things are on the horizon for Roane and surrounding counties!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's going to be a historic evening in Harriman! 
Mayor Chris Mason and Bill Landry will host this year's Harriman Christmas Parade “live” via the downtown facilities of the new Channel 15 RSCC/City of Harriman Television Station.  The live feed on Comcast’s Channel 15 should begin this evening (Thursday) around 6:45 PM and last until the parade is over.
The show will begin with the Mayor and Bill recognizing the City Council and all the people that made the new station possible.
This is just the beginning of things to come from our Channel 15.  In the future there will be live broadcast from local events and in-studio productions.  There will also be live shows from the stage of the newly refurbished Princess Theater.  Most importantly, our children will have a “real” TV studio in which to gain valuable “hands on” experience.
Watch your community coming back to life tonight on the very first “live” broadcast from our very own Channel 15.
In the photo above are Bill Radice (seated) and Doug Mills, as they discuss the techno plans for tonight's broadcast.  There is a lot of work that has to go on behind the scenes to make this all possible.  More and more hard work will have to be done in the future to bring an increasing professional appearance to the broadcast.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I visited the Princess today and she's pretty much stripped down to her skeleton, or as close to it as necessary to bring her back to life.  It's now time for the real restoration work to begin.

The plan is to put her back as she was in 1939, or as close to how she debuted after the second fire as possible.  However, everything will be modernized and brought up to today's codes.  It won't be an easy job, because all we have to go by are old handbill drawings.  No actual photos exist, or at least none have been found.

The auditorium will soon be filled with scaffolding so the lighting and ceiling can be restored, as well as the walls.  This will be a very exciting time, especially for me, because I can then begin the real documentation of the restoration.  These photos can be used years in the future at such a time another restoration begins.
I predict that the Princess, this time around, will get even more use than before.  She will be teaching our children the arts and entertaining us in more different ways than ever.

Click on the photos to enlarge!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The current “Leadership Roane County*” class, along with a group of long-time dedicated Princess supporters, came to the Princess Complex this past October to hear about “the dream” and tour the “under construction” Princess Theatre.

The large group was greeted by Bill Landry, who introduced Mayor Chris Mason, architect Frank Sparkman, and Channel 15 control room engineer Bill Radice.  The speakers laid out what the new TV station means to Roane County and its capabilities.  They further explained how the TV studio will be tied to the events taking place within the Princess auditorium and around Roane County.  It was easy to see just what the “hands on” experience, coupled with formal classwork, will mean to the interested college and high school students of Roane and surrounding counties. 
*The basic premise of Leadership Roane County was to be that the future of our County is not a vast unknown over which we have no control, but rather it is a product of how community leaders manage circumstances and choices. It was understood that responsible, well-informed leaders, armed with a broadened perspective, could influence the course of events. With these thoughts in mind, the first Leadership Class was started and completed in 1985.

Leadership Roane County will continue to provide a valuable service for years to come through its ability to develop a cadre of informed leaders who will be active in community life and who will support a volunteer program dedicated to the positive growth of Roane County.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Monday November 1st 2010, at 3:12 PM, is the day that Channel 15 RSCC/City of Harriman Television went on the air!
Preset your Comcast channel lineup to include this station. You will see some great programming on this channel in the future, but for right now you will only see color bars, a welcome or maybe even a "bouncing ball" to indicate that we are up and running. Coming soon,there will be sports, education, government, weather, music, festivals, theater events and concerts showing on this channel!
This has been a very long process that has taken longer than I thought but we did it on a"shoestring" budget with a lot of donated labor.
Thanks to everyone that helped and supported this milestone,
Chris Mason
City of Harriman
The City Of Harriman owns the new station and RSCC will operate it. Students throughout the county including high school, TTC, and RSCC will be operating the cameras, lights interviewing etc...all for school credit!
The new station's programing will also be available via the Internet once the station is up and producing programing.

Friday, October 15, 2010


I'm still struggling to get back my strength after my surgery, but I had my wife drive me down to the Princess this morning.  Things are really picking up speed, and I was afraid I was going to be left too far behind.

The old marquee is gone and a pedestrian safe walk for the construction has been added to the front of the Princess.  This makes me feel sure the facade will be some of the next work on the actual Princess building to be done.  At least your head will be safe!

The front of the old Margrave Drug store is still covered, but the front of the old Dr. Tappan office is open and you can see straight through to the rear alley.  Click to enlarge that particular photo and note the old "tin ceiling tiles", they're beautiful!

Both the front portions of the old Margrave and Tappen buildings will be incorporated into the new expanded Princess lobby and "Trail Head".  Man, it will be roomy in there guys!

The mid-portions of the two buildings will house the new restrooms, mechanical room, elevator, and "green room".  The back portions, plus what will be added, will house the male/female dressing rooms and prop construction and storage room.

I did not get inside today, probably gone to lunch, but I will be in there over the weekend, and next week for sure.  I can't wait to see what has been done to the actual Princess too.

If you have any questions, please make use of the Princess email or make comments to this post.  All you need to comment is a Google or Yahoo email account.

If you can't remember what the interior design looks like, please CLICK HERE and look for the blueprint shots again.  Click on them to enlarge them, or any photo posted here!

Friday, September 10, 2010


You probably have noticed it on your way past, but this week the front of the old Margrave Drug Store building was covered.  There will no longer be an access to Roane Street from that building.  The building now becomes part of the expanded lobby of the Princess Theater, containing another concessions area, elevator, and new, modern, and more spacious restrooms for the facility. 

Further back, the rear wall will be opened into a new section of the Princess complex that is being added onto the east exterior wall.  This area will also house a new prop building and storage area, along with a “green room”, and dressing rooms.  Upstairs there is room for future offices, green rooms, and practice rooms.
The exterior facing Roane Street will be covered to match the Princess façade.

I took the two photos in the alley behind the Princess to show the support beams that have been added to allow an entrance to be cut through the 18” wall.  The addition will open up behind stage.  (Please look at my previous post and enlarge the two photos [double click them] of the proposed floor plan.)  The second photo is just to illustrate the 18” thickness of the Princess walls.  This was one of the reasons it was billed as “fireproof” in 1939.

Yes folks, it’s happening!  The Princess is being restored and improved, and will soon be entertaining us again.  Our Princess was born to be an entertainer and she, like us, can hardly wait for that day to come again.  We’ll be proud of our regional performing arts and education center!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Muse Watson and Bill Landry Tell the Truth About the Princess Project

Thursday evening, a small group of Knox Heritage and Oliver Springs Historical Society folks met in the future “Channel 15” studio, which is the building to the left of the Princess on Roane Street.  The lighting and the air has yet to be installed, but it was pleasant enough with cold drinks, and fruit and cookies to eat.  The group came to hear more about “the dream” that Muse Watson and Gary Baker have held for over 10 years.

Muse and Bill Landry gave inspiring descriptions of how “the dream” came about, and what the TV studio and the Princess Theater would mean to our area.  I’ve been on board for a couple of years now, but I don’t think I have ever been as excited as those talks have made me! 

Other speakers were Ethiel Garlington, Director of Preservation Field Services for the Knox Heritage organization, and Frank Sparkman, of Sparkman & Associates.

Rather than trying to separate the main points by speaker, let me try and relate the jest of the inspiring speeches.

Muse and Gary had the idea of buying the Princess about the same time, however, in the beginning they were competitors.  Muse heard that a “Harriman Business Man” was also interested in buying the Princess.  Muse just knew that this “business man” was going to buy it first and “put in a parking lot”!  So Muse calls Gary and they realize they have the same dream, a dream to preserve the Princess and create a place that children could come and learn about “the arts”.  Not only could they learn about the arts, but come away with an educated experience that would serve them in careers in the arts.  After talking it over several times, they decided to join forces, and together they bought the Princess.  Later it was turned over to the City of Harriman, and is now awaiting to be turned over to Roane State Community College.

However, had it not been for Carmike Theaters allowing Cecil Johnson to lease the theater after they closed operations here, the Princess might have been lost to us today.  Some “business man” could have bought it long before Muse and Gary became interested and changed it into something that could never be restored to its movie house roots.

This is just one of the events that make some of us think that “the dream” was pre-destined.  That and things like certain volunteers coming to offer their expertise at just the right time, make us think a higher power is guiding the development of the dream.

The Princess Theater will be home to classic movies, reunions, gospel concerts, country and blue grass music shows and festivals, and stage productions.  Since Roane State will have two theatre stages, more plays will give more students experience in lighting, prop building, sound engineering, TV and video camera and editing equipment, and, of course, the art of acting.  Remember too, that whatever happens on the Princess stage can be broadcast out on Comcast’s broadband network to numerous counties in East Tennessee, or even picked up from the fiber and uplinked to satellites that could take productions nationwide! 

The Channel 15 studio itself will have the latest in sound engineering and recording, video/sound editing, switching, CGI set generation, and video cameras.  It is conceivable that locally produced television programs could be uplinked to buyers like National Geographic, Discovery, and others.  This is exactly how shows like “Dirtiest Jobs”, “Pickers”, “Pawn Shop”, etc. get produced and sold to cable channels.  They originate in small studios by someone locally who also has a dream!  So, if we have a dreamer here, maybe you, then the connectivity that Channel 15 has through Comcast is waiting for them/you!

Roane State Community College will come to perpetually preserve our dream.  Once the restoration and the television facility or complete, ownership will be transferred to RSCC.  Through their educational funding, they will be able to add the new facilities to there funding care.  This will mean that the floors will be swept, the lights will burn, the water will run, and the heat and air will run.  The benefit to our children is that can come to Roane State and prepare themselves for the future by taking “Mass Communications” courses.  These credits will be transferable to other four-year institutions.  However, our students will have the added experience of actual hands-on television and theater productions work.

If you will double-click on the floor plan drawing photos, you can get a good idea of what the Princess layout will be upon completion.  These plans are not the final floor plans, but you can see generally what will happen during the restoration.  Originally the Princess boasted seating for 900, but with the enlargement of the stage area (which can be rolled back for dancing), and the fact that modern seating is larger today to accommodate our American appetites!  There are also codes that have to be met that didn’t exist originally.

You will note a “green” area, generally the lobby areas.  This is what the TDOT “Trailhead” money, ($300K) is funding.  The TVA funding ($1.7M) will restore the areas in blue and orange (or yellow).  Half of the area on the right side of the first floor plan is to be built onto the side of the existing Princess building.  This area is to provide a prop building and storage area, and dressing rooms for stage productions.  The front half of the right side is the existing building on the right side of the Princess.  This area will be opened to make the lobby area larger, and to provide more restroom facilities.  Note…the elevator!  That’s good for old people like me!

By the way, you all need to put October 16th on your calendars and plan on attending the 2010 October Sky Fall Festival in Oliver Springs!  Check out their link HERE!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I visited our Princess today and was amazed at how much the restoration crew has cleaned up since my last visit.  Yes, it’s still quite dirty inside, but at least the floor is now dry and you can even see some color through the dust.  I remember how the Princess looked back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but if I understand the plans, the Princess will look even better than that period.

The roof, as I’ve posted, is on tight and there should be no more rain coming down inside.  The men were tapping chalk lines on the dry auditorium floor when I walked in today.  I don’t know what the line is for, but possibly it’s the line to which the stage will be extended.

I missed seeing them remove the old “silver screen” by a couple of hours, but now the old stage has been completely revealed.  I think the plans call for extending the old stage out quite a distance, so that there is adequate room for plays and stage shows.  I can hardly wait to see some theatrical or musical production on the new stage.  It’s almost too exciting for me to image…it’s like waiting for Christmas as a young boy!

Clearly, there is a lot of work yet to be done, but believe me, the first time I visited the interior of the Princess about 2 years ago, I would not have believed anything could be done to dress her up for company!  Now, seeing the floor dry, and some of the old color peeping through, it is more than promising!

Along the walls of the theater, either in the lobby, in the auditorium, or even up in the mezzanine level, you can see some of the many old colors the Princess wore in her day.  I don’t know which of these colors will be duplicated for the grand opening, but regardless she’s going to be beautiful!

Would it not be great to have a properly lighted digital photo of all the grand color schemes from all her eras?  I think that’s one reason I feel my documentation is so important.  You and I will take it all for granted, after a time, but someday someone will want to look back at the color scheme the Princess débuted in 2011!  The historical record we make over the course of this restoration will possibly be more important to future generations.  Such a record of the past would be invaluable to Frank Sparkman today.

So, we can see progress on our dream.  Every day is a day closer to our Princess’ 85th birthday party!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The new roof of the Princess is about another week from being completed. The recent rains have set the schedule back a few days, but the work done by Davis’ Brothers Roofing thus far is topnotch! The Princess should be “in the dry” in short order.

However, planning and discussions with other vendors continues, rain or shine. This week Frank Sparkman, Bill Milburn, and Bill Landry met with the proposed marquee manufacturer. Once the façade and marquee are completed, everyone driving by will able to see some tangible progress, and be reminded of the ongoing restoration work hidden inside the Princess.

While others meet to plan the future reconstruction outside, workmen inside were hard at stripping out “the old” to prepare the way for “the new”. In the attached photo, a workman works atop a ladder while Doug Mills, known for his “Heartland Series” work, films his efforts. Sparkman’s crews are used to being the center of attention wherever they are at work on bringing the past back to life! They know they are doing special work on a place very special to the local people. Once finished, we’ll owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Of course, I was hard at work shooting “stills” of Doug shooting digital video! Hey, someone has to do it…and, I’m so proud it’s me!

I walked up on Phil Gibbons, Sparkman’s “construction manager - field representative”, as he was pouring over the restoration blueprints by the light of his flashlight. However, the flashlight was resting in his lap by the time I snapped the photo!

Also on hand Wednesday, Bill Landry and Bill Radice discussed the Channel 15 studio. Radice recently moved to Oakdale, picking Oakdale by doing Google searches for “great places in which to retire”. Bill Radice is a retired sound engineer from New York, who is going to be an invaluable resource for speculating equipment for the TV studio.

Things are coming to gather folks and I think we’ll all be proud of the final result of the restoration efforts in Harriman. We have good people on board, but we need your continued support and ideas.

If you didn’t receive the recent “test” distribution email from us, please send your email address to us. Frank Sparkman, Chris Mason, and others will be sending out updates to keep you informed of progress, and of upcoming events and celebrations!

Just click HERE and say hello to us!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


This past Saturday was the last "Crusin' In Harriman" for the summer. The event occurs every second Saturday beginning in April through the second Saturday in August each year. The City of Harriman makes no money on this event, but it does keep the spirit of the city alive by bringing folks together downtown!

While standing in front of the Princess Saturday, looking over the "Crusin'" event on Roane Street, (click to see my Flickr photos) I looked up and saw the yellow “caution tape” flapping in the breeze on the roof of the theater and a single open window over the marquee. It was a reminder of the new roof currently being placed on top, and the symbolism of the open window. Our Princess is about to emerge from her chrysalis!
Over the past two decades, the city has declined. It started with Wal-Mart and K-Mart moving into town, drawing customers from downtown, and the loss of jobs from the closing of the Kraft Mills, Mead Corporation, and the various hosiery companies like Burlington. Finally, in 2000 the Princess closed her doors, and began a slow moldy decay.

Downtown Harriman lost all but a handful of stores, and in the years following, other buildings began to follow in decay.

However, there is something new on the horizon that gives us, those who still care and remember, hope. That hope comes from a dream that started with Gary Baker and Muse Watson. The dream was that children of Roane and surrounding counties would have a place to learn about "the arts". The facility is to be called the “Princess Performing Arts, Education, and Conference Center", and is to be perpetually operated and funded through Roane State Community College.

The dream begins with the restoration of the old Princess Theater (the building) and ends with the move toward a Princess Theatre (the art). The dream is not to routinely show movies there as a major function of the restoration project. However, if some local resident creates their own movie then there would be a special premiere showing. There will probably be special occasion movies, i.e. "Thunder Road" during Crusin', or holiday movies ("White Christmas, A Christmas Story, or It's A Wonderful Life") to highlight the seasons. But, the real dream purpose for the Princess is to showcase "live entertainment" while providing a learning experience for local students.

The dream is to provide a center where Roane State and high school students can come and learn "hands-on" about careers in the arts. Planned is a local TV station (Channel 15), a live entertainment facility, utilizing the 900 seat auditorium of the Princess and the newly designed stage, and later a conferencing center will come online.

But, the point to remember is that students will run the total operation of the TV station, and have hands on experience when live entertainment is presented on the Princess stage. It may be a theatre production of the Roane State, or area high school, drama department, or a music concert presented by local groups. All the productions will be beamed live or taped from the TV station to multiple counties!

The best part, is that students will gain experience that will serve them in future careers in the arts, radio, TV, or the theatre.

From this, downtown Harriman will reap the benefits of foot traffic on the sidewalks once again. Apartments will constructed within the old classic buildings, and store fronts of antique, boutique, specialty food shops will open, bringing jobs and further restoration and spirit back to "our hometown"!

While the dream was all about "some day", it has moved into the "coming true" column with the windfall, which came at the expense of other’s dreams, to the Princess Foundation after the Tennessee Valley Authority awarded $1.7M to the city of Harriman, specifically for the restoration of the Princess.

People who lost their property and homes, after the devastating "coal ash spill" for the Kingston Fossil Fuel Pant near Kingston in 2008, were rightly upset over this grant, and the other education and restoration awards to Roane County. However, this blessing cannot be overlooked or refused. We must carry on with the dream regardless of what God, or fate, sends our way.

The only dreams left now are those of limitless possibilities for the community! Whatever we can imagine now has a stage waiting for us to produce it, show it, and enjoy it!

This is our collective dream. Beyond this it is still our HOMETOWN. Please, PLEASE, get involved and continuing dreaming. It is all up to us may be our last opportunity to make it just like we remember it.

Let me also give you a heads-up. Property values Downtown Harriman will be going up once people begin to see investment opportunities gained from having more foot traffic downtown. Pat Mynatt told me Saturday, while I was cooling off from the heat, that she started her “Red Door Antiquities” shop now in order to get ahead of the rush! I think that was a wise decision...don’t you!?
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