Rugby Things to Do
Christ Church, Rugby, has been continuously used for public worship since it was constructed in 1887, as an Episcopal Church. It was built in the Carpenter Gothic style and made of virgin pine, walnut and poplar from the surrounding forest. Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee at the time, celebrated the first Holy Communion at the church and also gave the stained-glass window in the apse. The window panels are dedicated to Margaret Hughes and Mary Blacklock, mother of the first rector of the church, Joseph Blacklock. There is a small rosewood reed organ which was made in London in 1849, and one of only a couple like it still in use today. The original kerosene lamps, brought from England, still hang in the sanctuary, although they are now connected to electricity. Electrical service did not reach this remote part of Tennessee until the 1950s.
Our guide through Christ Church was a local lay leader for the congregation, and also a handyman who had done much work in maintaining the old building. He pointed out details and shared stories about the building and the congregation that only someone who knew the place intimately could have done. It was a fascinating tour.
This beautiful wooden printshop, painted in its original colors, was built in the nearby village of Deer Lodge more than a century ago. The printshop was established as a direct result of Rugby. The building was moved to its present location in the 1970s, and restored to authentic detail and furnishings. Unfortunately, this building was closed on the day of our visit, but we still enjoyed peeking in the windows.
The Thomas Hughes Public Library is perhaps the most intriguing building in Rugby, both for its architecture as well as its contents. The 7,000-volumne library was opened to the public in 1882, and continued to operate until the 1950s. It still looks today much as it did 125 years ago. English and American publishers donated most of the books to the colony as a tribute to Hughes. The building was specially designed to preserve the collection of books, with the shelves situated so that the sun can never shine through the windows directly on the them, causing deterioration of the covers. Ceiling vents help to control the temperature and humidity. The oldest book in the library was published in 1687, and the newest in 1899. For a bibliophile like myself, the library was a treasure to explore, but access today is only allowed with a guided tour.Related to:
- Historical Travel
5517 Rugby Hwy, Rugby, Tennessee, 37733, United States
Good for: Families
"A cafe has been started in Harrow Road by a couple of enterprising young Englishmen and meals can be obtained there any time between the hours of 8 am and 10 pm. They have a long and varied list of comestibles and are likely to drive a roaring trade."
From THE RUGBEIAN Newspaper, 1882
More than 120 years after it was established, The Harrow Road Cafe is still the only place to eat in Rugby - and an excellent one at that. The site is original, although the building has been reconstructed. The restaurant now is owned and operated by Historic Rugby.
Favorite Dish: When we lunched recently at the Harrow Road Cafe I enjoyed the Shepherd's Pie. It's a British tradition - a casserole of roast beef & vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes & cheddar cheese, served with garden salad and spoon rolls. It was so satisfying and filling that I didn't really have room for dessert. But strawberry-rhubarb crisp was in season so Karen and I shared a serving. Although fresh Tennessee strawberries were growing in nearby fields, the server told us the strawberries they served were from California. Except for that sacrilege, everything was excellent.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
This is one of a couple of privately owned gift and craft shops in historic Rugby, in reconstructed 1800s buildings, fronted by a wooden sidewalk.
What to buy: Traditional crafts of the Cumberlands plus British wares, books, local jams, molasses and much more. I bought a book, The Historic Cumberland Plateau, An Explorer's Guide, by Russ Manning, from which I gathered some of the information on this page.
What to pay: Fair and reasonable prices.
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