Sunday, December 11, 2011


The Princess welcomed hundreds of courteous visitors this past Saturday and Sunday, and created enough buzz to get herself on WBIR's 11PM newscast! Reporter John Henry himself seemed impressed by the positive outlook that beamed from the faces of everyone that came.

People barely looked down long enough to greet each other. The new Princess auditorium even brought tears to some, like long time supporter Freeda Breazeal (on the right below) of Atlanta, Georgia.  She's never given up hope and called frequently to keep up the spirits of those working hard to see the restoration to fruition.

The tour seemed to be what the people of the area wanted; an up close look at what all the talk and disruption on Roane Street has been all about.  Although, the restoration is only about 90% complete, the progress is at a point that you can see what the finished product will look like.  

The marquee was lit for a short time during the tours, but there is still more neon to be added to it and the front of the building.  However, the hopes are now for a January/February grand opening.

I almost came to tears myself when I saw Cecil (Johnson) and Dub (Harmon) coming down the aisle!  Wow, I was overwhelmed with the emotion of seeing them once again in the Princess.  All the days gone by passed again through my mind, and brought back to me the whole reason I agreed to take on the documentation of the restoration.  It was because of these men, who have been special to me since 1967!  They spent so much of their lives in the Princess and I shared a lot of those special moments and to see them, together, there once again was an emotional moment.

Cecil even said that he would still be there working had he had the $30,000 for a HVAC system in 1999, but the building wasn't his and he didn't have the cash to invest in a building he didn't own.  So, he closed shop.

So, there they were, three of the last managers of the Princess in the auditorium together.  James W. (Dub) Harmon, Cecil Johnson, and now Megan Anderson.  I especially loved this shot of Dub and Cecil standing by the old ticket stub box that they stood by for decades.  If given the opportunity, they would do it all over again.

Megan and the other volunteers did a wonderful job of leading visitors through the Princess and telling the Princess story.

Still documenting the history of Harriman and Roane County were Dr. Joe Williams, Gary Baker, Gerald Largen, and Lewis Spivey. 

Over in the old Dr. Zuckerman part of the lobby Megan had erected a collage of "before and after" photos.  Visitors were amazed at the condition of the Princess prior to restoration, and how much it had changed over the course of the project.  Many stood there a long time, ate Ruby Tuesday finger foods, and discussed their past lives at the Princess.  

Now a new chapter begins, and I have a feeling this one will be the best!

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