Should Historic Woodbury Be Renamed Hysteric ‘Danville’?
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Did founding fathers make a mistake when they changed the name from Danville to Woodbury? You be the judge.

Modestly speaking, I wouldn’t mind having a nice friendly town named after me.

It’s just one Dan’s opinion, but Danville has a nice ring … as in a nice peaceful Southern town with a spectacular historic Cannon County Courthouse Square with Stone’s River meandering through the heart of the county seat town.

Plus, Danville could be fitting for a town that has a landmark eatery named Joe’s Place after the late great hard-working Joe Parker.

“Diner’s Delight in Danville at Joe’s Place,” could be the legendary restaurant’s new promotional logo. This coupled with Ovie Hollis’ already-famous homemade biscuits could help put Danville on your better roadmaps and satellite-in-the-sky GPS destinations.

Whittle on this for a moment. Although wood and whittle sometimes go together, I don’t think “Whittlebury” would be appropriate.

Whittlebury sounds too much like Hucklebury, as in a redneck Southern whistle stop town with no railroad?

Some outsiders from over at Liberty might resent having to buy gas in Gassaway to get to a place called Whittlebury, especially since there’s no longer any gas in Gassaway, if you catch my drift.

Citizen/chamber of commerce promoters of a town named Danville could call themselves something modest, like “Dano-mites Promoting Dynamic Danville.” It reeks with promotional potential, don’t you agree? OK, I jest, but it’s no worse than the “Woodies Of Woodbury.”

“Visit Dynamic Danville” on modest billboards along John Bragg Highway could potentially attract new industry, or at least trigger increased tourism to the Upper Cumberland region.

You may think the following has some “stretch marks,” but ponder this as a new potential tourist attraction: “Come Join The Spit And Whittle Club On Danville Public Square.” Just imagine, sitting a spell in downtown Danville to gain inspiration, not to mention the wisdom, without charge, from spiffy-dressed spitten’ whittlers loafing around the Square.

We might even talk forward thinking Cannon County Executive Mike Gannon and Danville Mayor Harold Patrick into scattering some cushy “Danville Chairs for Deep Thinkers” on our always beautiful and well-manicured Courthouse lawn and Public Square. And city fathers would need to plant more trees to give the whittlers a consistent source of whittlin’ timber, plus provide comforting shade in the heat of the day. Sweaty whittlers and accompanying flies would not be a pretty sight for tourists to see.

Everyone who is anyone has always called the Courthouse “historic.” This would make some new history for the Danville Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Department to promote. Plus, Mona at the neighboring Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce could broaden Danville’s appeal.

And diagnose this: Regionally-famous physician Leon Ruehland could come out of retirement, and market his new office: “Doc’s Place: Be Healed in Danville.”

That might even draw some out-of-town high-connected spiritual charismystics to hold tent revivals at the tiny spring that eventually explodes into Stone’s River?!! This could be under the supervision of retired Church of Christ Preacher Herb Alsup.

Plus, Danville church leaders could advertise and bottle the town’s “healing waters.”

There’s unlimited promotional potential, especially if TV preachers with big hair feel led to come here. Danville city leaders would have to take a cut of the proceeds, however, when the preachers started marketing the “healing waters” out of Stone’s River.

Speaking of spiritual matters, since we now have legalized bonded liquor, formerly called “’shine” up on majestic Short Mountain, the Danville Chamber of Commerce might promote special Saturday nights: “Let Your Spirit ‘Shine’ In Danville.”

Where is best pal C.L. Vickers’ when I need him. May the good Lord rest his generous good ol’ soul and heart, if C.L. was still here, I think I could count on him to lead the “Danville Petition Campaign,” since like myself, ol’ C.L. was also a forward thinker, especially when it came to weather forecasting.

C.L. and his mule could lead the annual Danville Heritage Day parade.

And I can envision a historical marker headed by Danville Historical Society President Joe D. Davenport reading modestly: “Danville, birth place of famed weather prognosticator C.L. Vickers.”

Don’t you know that’d make ol’ C.L.’s Liberty brand overall galluses swell with heavenly joy.

This brings us to law enforcement: Chief of Police Tony Burnett and Sheriff Darrell Young could have officers and deputies boldly pronounce a bold “Book ‘em, Dano” proclamation when they make arrests within Danville city limits.

Or how about this: “Danville, seat of mercy as opposed to hard time.”

Nix that last one, since that might draw some lawless elements to our law-abiding town that would over-burden the courts of Her Honor Judge Melton and assistant DA Puckett.

And our world-renowned Arts Center could stage a musical, featuring banjo picker “Leroy Troy and the high-stepping Dancing Danettes of Danville” choreographed by Mary Wilson for future cultural and social enrichment entertainment.

OK, here’s some grist for those inevitable Doubting Thomas’ folks who may not “catch the vision” of our brave new/old “Danville” world.

There’s historical precedence for “Danville,” I discovered while having a hamburger slathered with mayo at Joe’s Place, over the old livery stable below the first floor.

“Cannon County’s first settlers moved to present-day western Cannon County, around the Readyville and Bradyville areas, during the late 1790s. The first village of any size, however, was Danville, which became the initial county seat.”

You can’t get any more official historical documentation than on the back of a Joe’s Place menu.

That ought to seal this Danville deal.

And I ask, honestly, can anyone name the man, without looking it up, for whom Woodbury was named?

I rest my case. Humble Dan Whittle.

(Writer’s Note: Didja know that Auburntown was once called Poplar Bluff? And Woodbury namesake, Levi Woodbury, served in Tennessee native son, President Andrew Jackson’s Cabinet in Washington. In case we do re-adopt Danville as the town name, out of respect, we might hang a brand new store-bought pair of “Levi” jeans each Saturday night on one of the trees giving shade to the loafing whittlers of Danville.)



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March 20, 2011 at 8:47am
I don't think I've ever seen as much name-dropping in one article in my entire life! In paragraph 9, I believe you mean "jest," not "gist."
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March 20, 2011 at 3:12pm
P.S. Herb Alsup is not retired yet. He still has a couple of great years to go with us before he is bound for retirement!

And I don't think he will ever retire completely anyway! At least I hope he doesn't!
March 20, 2011 at 9:05pm
Wasn't impressed with Danville Kentucky so I'd hate to live in Danville TN. John Michael Montgomery was from Danville KY. He kinda made a mess of life after his singing career stalled. I wouldn't want to think of that either so.... I guess i'll just live in Woodbury. :)
March 21, 2011 at 2:37am
history is history and problem makers are problems this town don't need. back at that time in history, problem... shoot it. the problem, not the person... thank on that one for a bit.... go where u come from and run ur mouth.....
March 21, 2011 at 6:44am
Just for historical accuracy.... Andrew Jackson was not a native son of Tennessee although he did live here most of his life. He was a native of North Carolina, being born in an area near the NC/SC border. And Poplar Bluff was not a former name of Auburntown. It was Poplar Stand. You make no reference to another name associated with Woodbury; that being Woodville.
You might enjoy speaking with another person living in Rutherford County who at an earlier date also recommended a name change for one of Cannon County's communities. Ask around and you will soon turn up his name. I'm sure you already know him. He can advise you from wisdom about suggesting such, even if in jest.
March 21, 2011 at 6:54am
Reading Dan Whittle reads a little like listening to Andy Rooney. I never met Dan Whittle but I have met a bunch of whittlers who use to whittle their cedar sticks on the Old Historic Square in Woodbury. The New Historic Square seems to have lost the quaint benches placed in the shade of the trees for the whittlers to pass the time away creating cedar shavings. Like Andy Rooney might say, I miss that.

When I came to Woodbury, there was no Historic Chamber of Commerce, but I didn’t need it to motivate me to move here anyway. I left behind a neighboring town called Danville in California which is an upper class bedroom community in the San Francisco Bay area sounded by the Diablo County Club, Round Hill Country Club and a protected wilderness area. Danville California is no doubt beautiful, but not quaint. There were people everywhere and like Andy Rooney might say, I don’t miss that.

The name Woodbury really has a ring to it that smacks of Southern charm. The Square, old or new has been -- and still is the centerfold for this very special place. I’m just an outsider, and I understand that – but – I’m going to give you my opinion anyway. Ever since I laid eyes on the Square I have been mesmerized by it. It is still beautiful. I think you ought to put the benches back, bring back the whittlers and bring the store fronts up to the grander of the Ole Historic Courthouse Square and sell it --- not literally, but make the Square the focal point of a tourism marketing plan. -- Like Andy Rooney might say, I would like that
March 21, 2011 at 10:02am
Well said jimgibbs. I too, choose to move to Cannon County for many of the same reasons. I too, think the square in Woodbury is a beautiful and special place. And yes, I also think the square in Woodbury would be a great focal point for tourism. A little "vision" and a good marketing plan could be a bonanza for the entire area. And, as an outsider that choose this place to live, I too, would like that!
March 21, 2011 at 11:08am
There is always somebody trying to rock the boat, Leave Woodbury name the way it is, can you just think of all the confusion that would be going on, "oh, I live in Danville, but, it used to be called Woodbury blah, blah, blah.That would be like renaming The Statue Of Liberty.
March 21, 2011 at 1:37pm
Here is an idea to help revitalize the town square. During the warm months plan a street fair. Bring in the little carnival games, have music on the square, etc. I know we have Good-Ole-Days, but it is not attracting people like Smithville's Jamboree is. Might think of doing what Smithville does and have a committee that puts it together and bring some fresh ideas into the event.

Needless to say though need some type of attraction to bring people into town to shop on the weekends or even the week. There is a lot of empty shops on the square, and something needs to be done to bring back the tourist dollars to our county.
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March 21, 2011 at 5:20pm
efisk I invite you to come to the forum on April 7th, 2011 at the Courthouse beginning at 6 pm to discuss ideas just like that with all of the county officials who show up and Mae Beavers and Mark Pody.

At this point, any idea to bring industry and business to Cannon County is welcome in my opinion!
March 21, 2011 at 7:18pm
Good thing he has the camera over his face. Otherwise, we could clearly see the "tongue in cheek" look that he clearly had as he was writing that article. Actually, I found it somewhat humerous. Cold reality Dan, I don't think you can get one vote from either the council members or the county commission.
As I traveled extensively, over many years, all over Tennessee, I found out that Cannon County and Woodbury are far better known that most would suspect. Several reasons; crafts, moonshine,basketball, the
"southern hospitality" of the people exhibited to visitors, Joe's place, and the Auburntown fish fry are just a few that I recall mentioned when I proudly told Tennessee citizens, literally from the mountains to the river that I am from Cannon County-Woodbury. Leave the names alone. They have a proud place in history.
March 22, 2011 at 8:26am
Amen. And with regard to a recently published story in the Courier regarding Stone's River,it is not the only "stream" that originates in Cannon County. Most streams in our county do originate within the bounds of the county and flow outward to other counties.
People do pay attention to what is written in the Cannon Courier.
March 23, 2011 at 1:14am
Cannon County is indeed known. I was at Daytona in 2007 for the Daytona bike week and met some bikers,when I told them where I was from, they said OH, lot of deer and coon hunting up there; been there many times. These people were from LA I mean Lower Alabama.
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March 23, 2011 at 6:25am
Corey, Blue could be referring to the story about the Stone's River by Dan Whittle in the Feb. 15 edition of the Courier.

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