Harriman, TN was incorporated in 1891, and is the hometown of your humble webmaster. A small town located in Roane County, TN, about thirty-five miles west of Knoxville, Harriman was proclaimed to be the ideal town when it was founded. The cornerstone of the new city rested on the absence of "demon rum."
Harriman was named for Union General Walter Harriman, a mayor of New Hampshire, who had mentioned that the area would be a great place for a city while camping there during the Civil War. The movement to incorporate Harriman was another Union General, named Clinton Fisk, who founded Fisk University. For the first several decades, Harriman relied on the steel industry for it's economy, and rivaled Pittsburgh in steel production. The flood of 1929, coupled with the Great Depression, put an end to this, and Harriman has been only a small, quaint town since then. Harriman remained a dry city, in keeping with the "high moral character" on which it was established.
In 1994, 103 years after Harriman was founded, the residents of Harriman narrowly voted to remove the ban on alcohol, and Harriman became a wet city. Some residents were enraged, pointing to the city's founding as being opposed to any sale of alcohol (actually, alcohol had been sold to Harriman residents for decades, either in other cities, or illegally by bootleggers).
Perhaps it was the reverse of the stance on alcohol that aroused spirits inside the Temperance Building, which serves as City Hall for Harriman, as well as a local museum. For years, there had been tales of ghosts haunting the historic building. These ghosts have generally been of a docile bunch, and have been heard walking around in the building after dark. Ghostly apparitions have also been seen peering out the windows as well. No identity has been definitely established for the ghosts, and they have been reported to be the ghosts of Fisk, Harriman, early councilmen, Civil War soldiers, and countless others.
If you visit downtown Harriman, stop at the Temperance Building. You will not regret it. Be sure to leave your brew behind, or you might annoy some other spirits.
©2002-2005 John Norris Brown. Part of John Norris Brown.com