WEST: Follow Cannon's heritage


Back in the day, my kinfolk used the cold winter months to plan the garden and whatever crops they might grow when spring rolled around.

A goodly number of Cannon County residents still do that when they aren't busy working with their livestock and other farm business.

There's no reason we can't use that same philosophy in dealing with some long-term issues facing our community.


For example, it appears that the new four-lane version of state Route 70S could be going south of Woodbury.

That means the traffic that currently navigates its way across town and past the Historic Square might be diverted in the future.

Wow, that could be devastating to business in downtown Woodbury. It could dry up and blow away like other little towns.

Or with proper planning and execution of those plans, it could mean Woodbury might blossom into a bonafide tourist attraction.

We already have a good start toward that goal. Our heritage is strong and unique to the Southeast. We have good reason to be proud of our past and to look forward to the future.

For example, consider the Arts Center of Cannon County. Its set-up matches our blue-collar community and focuses on self-sufficiency and fiscal responsibility. It is based on local traditions like that of families making white oak baskets and chairs.

Back during the Depression, many survived because of those unique products. They traded them for lamp oil, coffee, cloth and other stuff they couldn't grow. And those white oak baskets and chairs spread across the country to places like Detroit and New York City, increasing the demand and ultimately attracting artisans to our community.

The Arts Center also promotes Cannon County's strong musical heritage on stage and in the various recorded forms through its Spring Fed Records like "Billy Womack in Retrospect."

Womack, a lifelong Cannon County resident, was best known locally as the "fiddlin' barber." He loved his home here and preferred working as a barber who fiddled on the side instead of playing on the long, lonely road.

Even more people attend the Arts Center's plays … thousands of them each year.

The center and the philosophy behind it could serve as a guidepost for Cannon County's conomic growth, but it's going to take a community effort to keep things going in the right direction.

Just think about it. That's the first step toward ensuring Cannon County's future. The next step is up to you so let us get it together.