(L-R) Nelson Smotherman presents Bart Walker with a rare "WGNS miniature cedar bucket" that was used for promotional purposes by the radio station over a half-century ago.
Rare Miniature WGNS' Cedar Bucket
Murfreesboro historian Nelson Smotherman has collected local memorabilia for many years. One of his treasures is a miniature cedar bucket with "Your Good Neighbor Station, WGNS" printed across the front. He presented the rare treasure to the radio station on Tuesday morning (10/30/2012).
Smotherman said, "I felt this is where it needed to be, and wanted you to keep it for listeners to enjoy as they visit the radio station."
Cedar Capital of the World
Many newcomers to the area don't realize it, but this area was once known as the "Cedar Capital of the World". Murfreesboro had several cedar bucket factories, and the area was also home to cedar pencil factories as well as the famous Lane Cedar Chest Company.
World's Largest Cedar Bucket
In fact, this fame grew more in 1867 when Murfreesboro's Tennessee Red Cedar Woodenworks Company built "The World's Largest Cedar Bucket". This 1,556 gallon cedar bucket was displayed in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and then to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.
Sadly, the cedar bucket factory burned in 1952. The 6-foot tall bucket was purchased by local grocer Crigger's Market. In 1965 it was sold at auction to an amusement park in Rossville, Georgia.
The giant piece of memorabilia came home to Murfreesboro in 1975 where it was placed on permanent exhibit in Cannonsburgh. It's not known whether arson or natural causes ignited the fire, but in 2005 the structure sheltering the bucket caught fire. Quick work by the Murfreesboro Fire Department saved most of the piece of history, but it could not be restored.
In 2011, during the 35th Annual Harvest Days at Cannonsburgh, the Rutherford County Blacksmith's Association created a twin. Now both are on display at this full-size village of the 1800's.
Special Thank You Nelson
A special thank you to Nelson Smotherman for all that he continues to do to preserve our local history. Thanks to his concern, dedication and love for the people in this community, future generations will be able to learn what made this really the Heart of Tennessee.